Film studies is currently undergoing a needed and healthy expansion of methodologies and critical approaches, including media, cultural and technology studies. This is crucial not just for examining cinemas present but also its past. Using format theory, this article opens up our understanding of what cinema has been, rather than what it should have been. It does this by documenting the minor technological footprint of movie theatres when compared to the expansive one consisting of 8mm and 16mm small-gauge projectors. In the United States by 1980, these portable devices,outnumbered commercial theatres by an estimated factor of 1000:1.
Film Studies is a refereed journal that approaches cinema and the moving image from within the fields of critical, conceptual and historical scholarship. The aim is to provide a forum for the interdisciplinary, intercultural and intermedial study of film by publishing innovative research of the highest quality. Contributions from diverse perspectives that are formed by the crossing of institutional and national boundaries are encouraged.
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.
This article addresses the current state of film studies as a discipline, profession and institution, arguing that the hunt for cultural authority has been the defining feature, motivating force and tragic flaw of film studies. The current self-reflexive soul- searching reveals that the field – no longer a radical upstart – still lacks the gravitas of more established subjects. Departments have responded to identity crises and changing enrolment patterns by mummifying, killing off or burying foundational emphases. The nostalgia for film studies origins and the jeremiads about an unmanageable, unruly and recalcitrant discipline yield rose-tinted fantasies about community and mutual intelligibility that must be ultimately resisted.