Rashomon opens at the edge of a destroyed city and the story that unfolds is a study in the subjective experience of reality that revolves around an unsolved set of mysteries: Was the woman raped? Who killed the husband? As its director, Akira Kurosawa noted, the action takes place in the forest where the human heart goes astray; the trope of becoming morally lost in the wilderness is one that he used frequently. What happens when the ‘Rashomon technique’ is transferred to an urban setting as in the television series Boomtown, set in modern Los Angeles?
The Big Clocks skyscraper is a mechanical, entrapping grid controlled by a huge timepiece. It is presided over by the homosexual Janoth who tries to frame Stroud for a murder that he committed. This article traces Stroud‘s journey within the International Style skyscrapers temporarily ‘queered spaces.’ The Cold War film seeks the removal of undesirable ‘aliens’ to liberate capitalist space and reassert hegemonic heterosexuality. The married Stroud outsmarts his adversaries, leading to Janoth‘s death by his own building. After Janoth is symbolically ‘outed,’ he kills his partner before plummeting down a hellish elevator shaft, punishment for his ‘perverse’ deeds.
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.
In recent decades, scholars in a variety of humanities fields have thoroughly interrogated the ways in which established critical practices and theoretical frameworks have reproduced paradigms of coloniality. Yet cinema studies lags in this initiative. This article examines how presentist tendencies in particular have contributed to the ongoing Eurocentrism of academic work on film, by focusing on the acute challenges of film preservation and access, and the persistent sway of French theory.
This article examines fictional film narratives from the perspectives of a chrono-urbanism, concerned with the ways in which cinema maps the unfolding of time in cities. It examines how films treat the urban night – as territory, as one side of a boundary, as a substance which falls upon the city. These treatments are explored by examining a limited corpus of single-night narratives, films whose narratives unfold over a single night. Drawing on a variety of recent texts that trace the history of the night in cities, this article distinguishes between different narrative patterns within which the urban night unfolds and becomes meaningful.
This article deals with the issues of censorship, adaptation and representation at stake in the 1931 and 1940 versions of Waterloo Bridge, both of which were based on a 1929 stage play. In doing so it examines the representation of female prostitution and the extent to which the trope of the fallen woman is evoked. Contesting the notion of Pre-Code films, it also examines the impact of the 1930 Production Code, the modifications to its implementation in 1934, the ways in which censorable words and actions were handled in the 1931 and 1940 versions, and the extent to which class became a major factor.