This article examines the role of automobility in the Greek cinema of the 1960s. It focuses on the representations of the automobile’s domestication in selected films. Particular attention is paid to the technical and symbolic reconstruction of space and the redefinition of socioeconomic and gender stereotypes. The article’s conclusions concern the role of the automobile in a specific period within Greek film history, as well as its place within cinema in general and in the theoretical and material construction of what is perceived as ‘modernity’.
Affect, the Gas Pump and US Horror Films (1956–73)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (dir. Don Siegel, 1956), The Birds (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1963), and Night of the Living Dead (dir. George Romero, 1968) imbue scenes that take place at a gas pump with a horror so intense, it petrifies. As three of the earliest American horror films to feature a monstrous exchange at the pump, they transform the genre by reimagining automotive affect. This article examines the cinematic mood created when petrification meets petroleum, providing an alternative look at American oil culture after 1956, but before the oil crisis of 1973.
The Motif of the Automobile in Helmut Käutner’s In Those Days
By focusing on Helmut Käutner’s In Those Days/Stories of a Car (In jenen Tagen, 1947) this article analyses the role of the car as a cinematic object. The automobile is the narrator of Käutner’s film: by giving voice to an object to discuss the Third Reich, Käutner raises – as it is often the case in the ‘rubble films’ – the question of objectivity when dealing with the recent past. At the same time, through the motif of the automobile, which Käutner uses a reflection of and on cinema, the director questions the role that the filmic medium can or should play in postwar Germany.
The open road is popularly imagined as both cinematic and male, a space suited to the scope afforded by the cinema and the breadth demanded by the male psyche. However, while these connotations are ingrained within the aesthetics of driving, its kinaesthetics – the articulations between bodies, movement and space – have more in common with television and with stories of women’s desire. Drawing from Iris Marion Young’s theories of gendered embodiment, this article argues that driving, television and female desire are all marked by the same contradictions between movement and stability, and between public and private. It analyses two recent television programmes concerned with women behind the wheel – Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ (Netflix, 2016) and the first two seasons of Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017–present) – to argue that driving on television affords a space through which to negotiate feminine embodiment, agency and desire.
Self-driving cars have long been depicted in cinematic narratives, across genres from science fiction films to fantasy films. In some cases, a self-driving car is personified as one of the main characters. This article examines cinematic representations and imaginaries in order to understand the development of the self-driving technology and its integration in contemporary societies, drawing on examples such as The Love Bug, Knight Rider, Minority Report and I, Robot. Conceptually and methodologically, the article combines close readings of films with technological concerns and theoretical considerations, in an attempt to grasp the entanglement of cinematographic imaginaries, audiovisual technologies, artificial intelligence and human interactions that characterise the introduction of self-driving cars in contemporary societies. The human–AI machine interaction is considered both on technological and theoretical levels. Issues of automation, agency and disengagement are traced in cinematic representations and tackled, calling into question the concepts of socio-technical assemblage.
Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than
300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before
the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were
intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked
Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential
neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak
grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter
them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem
treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and
their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of
the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay
systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition,
collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that
impacted on the victims.
On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in
Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French
fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth
centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is
undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim
of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting
deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the
incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances
that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.
The construction of an underground car park beneath the main square of Turin,
Italy in 2004 led to the unearthing of the skeletonised remains of twenty-two
individuals attributable to the early eighteenth century. At this time the city
was besieged during the War of the Spanish Succession in a hard-fought battle
that resulted in unexpected triumph for the Piedmontese, a victory that marked a
fundamental turning point in Italian history. The current study assesses the
strength of evidence linking the excavated individuals to the siege and assesses
their possible role in the battle through consideration of their biological
profiles, patterns of pathology and the presence of traumatic injuries. This
article presents the first analysis of evidence for the siege of Turin from an
anthropological point of view, providing new and unbiased information from the
most direct source of evidence available: the remains of those who actually took