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Des O‘Rawe

This essay interweaves an analysis of Raymond Depardons short documentary film, 10 minutes de silence pour John Lennon (1980), with some broader reflections on time, cultural history, and silence. Shot in a single take, the film records the expressions, movements, and reactions of some of 200,000 mourners who gathered in Central Park to commemorate Lennons life six days after his death in December, 1980. Despite its observational form and aesthetic reticence, 10 minutes de silence renders unexpected coincidences of colour, perspective, gesture, and noise, spontaneous formations and patterns that resonate beyond the films actual moment and journalistic raison dêtre.

Film Studies
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Urban Spaces, Sexual Encounters and Erotic Spectacle in Tsukamoto Shinya‘s Rokugatsu no Hebi - A Snake of June (2003)
Greg Tuck

Shot in a blue washed monochrome, the city of Tsukamoto Shinya‘s A Snake of June, stages a number of highly mediated sadomasochistic sexual encounters within its public spaces. This article examines how the forms of mediation offered within the narrative by both architecture and technology as well as the mediation offered by the film‘s extraordinary blueness articulates the intimate relationship between sexuality and modernity. Following on from the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, it combines a phenomenological and dialectical approach to develop an analysis of sexual pleasure and sexual politics which can account for the embodied interaction of urban subjects and urban spaces.

Film Studies
Critics and Critical Practice at the Monthly Film Bulletin
Richard Lowell MacDonald

This article focuses on the Monthly Film Bulletin, a magazine devoted to what is often regarded as the lowliest and most ephemeral form of film criticism: the film review. Studying the Bulletins publication history, with a particular emphasis on the 1970s, the article challenges the dismissal of journalistically motivated film criticism in academic discourse. It argues that the historical interest of the Bulletins late period lies in its hybrid identity, a journal of record in which both accurate information and personal evaluation coexisted as values, and in which a polyphony of individual critical voices creatively worked through a routinised reviewing practice and a generic discursive format.

Film Studies
Mattias Frey and Sara Janssen

This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies – (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.

Film Studies
Pornography: The Musical (2003)
Catalin Brylla

Brian Hill’s musical documentaries embody the essence of Judith Butler’s notion of ‘performativity’ as the discourse used in identity formation. By asking his characters to sing their stories in addition to traditional interviews, Hill creates multiple screen identities, which elicits an embodied intimacy that is as much about freeing marginalised people to enact themselves in front of the camera as it is about revealing the director’s own performance. This article uses a cognitive framework to explore how Hill’s documentary, Pornography: The Musical (2003), leads the spectator to challenge existing social stereotypes of sex workers, as well as schematic ideas about traditional documentary form and function.

Film Studies
Miscellaneous Remarks on Godards Conceptual Processes Apropos of Sauve qui peut (la vie)
Richard Morris

Jean-Luc Godard‘s Sauve qui peut (la vie) holds a uniquely pivotal position in the directors oeuvre and provides the occasion for a case study in how he conceives and develops his works. Amongst the salient features of this process are Godard‘s invention of the ‘video-scenario’ format, enabling him to couch his ideas in visual rather than verbal form from the very moment of their inception; his desire to “look at things a bit scientifically”; and a use of commissioned and pre-existing music which lies at the very heart of his creative method.

Film Studies
21 Grams in Focus
Geoff King

An analysis of 21 Grams (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2003) that uses the film to illustrate a number of trends in the contemporary American independent sector, including both its situation in the industrial landscape and its most distinctive formal qualities. Industrially, the film, distributed by Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, is identified as a product of the zone of overlap that exists between all-out independence and attachment to the major Hollywood studio-distributors. A hybrid identity is also suggested,at the level of form, in a mixture of fragmented narrative and hyper-realistic visual textures with more conventionally melodramatic content.

Film Studies
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A General Model of Visual Aesthetics
Torben Grodal

This article argues that the central dimensions of film aesthetics may be explained by a general theory of viewer psychology, the PECMA flow model. The PECMA flow model explains how the film experience is shaped by the brain‘s architecture and the operation of different cognitive systems; the model describes how the experience is based on a mental flow from perception, through emotional activation and cognitive processing, to motor action. The article uses the flow model to account for a variety of aesthetic phenomena, including the reality-status of films, the difference between narrative and lyrical-associative film forms, and the notion of ‘excess’.

Film Studies
Jens Eder

Film viewers responses to characters are of a great variety; global notions of ‘identification’, ‘empathy’, or ‘parasocial interaction’ are too reductive to capture their rich nuances. This paper contributes to current theoretical accounts by clarifying the intuitive notion of ‘being close’ to characters, drawing on social and cognitive psychology. Several kinds of closeness are distinguished: spatiotemporal proximity, understanding and perspective-taking, familiarity and similarity, PSI, and affective closeness. These ways of being close to characters interact in probabilistic ways, forming a system. Understanding its patterns might help us to more precisely analyze the varieties of character engagement, which is demonstrated by an analysis of David Fincher‘s Fight Club (1999).

Film Studies
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Conspiracy and Narrative Masquerade in Schiller, Zschokke, Lewis and Hoffmann
Victor Sage

This essay brings together the popularity of Venice in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century as a setting for horror, terror and fantasy, and the narrative conventions of the Gothic. Focusing on Schiller, Zschokke, Lewis and Hoffmann, the article studies the representation of Venice as a Gothic labyrinth, in the context of the city‘s changing reputation as a political structure. ‘Venice’ is treated as a common set of signs which overlap between the literary field and the field of cultural politics: ‘plots’ are both political conspiracies and (carnivalised: doubled and disguised) narrative forms. All is given over to the dynamics of masquerade. The topography of the Venetian Republic is itself a political text, which carnivalises the ‘separation of powers’, while the texts of the Gothic writers are narrative masquerades which choose popular hybrid forms of comedy, folktale and horror, rather than Tragedy or Realism, to respond to Venice‘s tension between law and anarchy and the conflicting pressures of Enlightenment, Republicanism and Empire.

Gothic Studies