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Berlin‘s Public Space in the 1910s and 1920s
Brigitte Flickinger

In the early years of the cinema and into the 1910s and 1920s, it was less the film than cinema-going itself that attracted urban publics. In this era, people were enthusiastic about technology and the achievements of modernity; while at the same time they felt anxious about the rapid and radical changes in their social and economic life. In Germany, this contradictory experience was especially harsh and perceptible in the urban metropolis of Berlin. The article demonstrates how within city life, Berlin cinemas – offering the excitement of innovation as well as optimal distraction and entertainment – provided an urban space where, by cinema-going, appeal and uncertainty could be positively reconciled.

Film Studies
Baldwin, Racial Melancholy, and the Black Middle Ground
Peter Lurie

This article uses Baldwin’s 1949 essay “Everybody’s Protest Novel” to consider that literary mode’s corollary in the 1990s New Black Cinema. It argues that recent African American movies posit an alternative to the politics and aesthetics of films by a director such as Spike Lee, one that evinces a set of qualities Baldwin calls for in his essay about Black literature. Among these are what recent scholars such as Ann Anlin Cheng have called racial melancholy or what Kevin Quashie describes as Black “quiet,” as well as variations on Yogita Goyal’s diaspora romance. Films such as Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) and Joe Talbot and Jimmy Fails’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) offer a cinematic version of racial narrative at odds with the protest tradition I associate with earlier Black directors, a newly resonant cinema that we might see as both a direct and an indirect legacy of Baldwin’s views on African American culture and politics.

James Baldwin Review
A Case Study of the Irish Film Board 1993–2013
Roddy Flynn and Tony Tracy

This article sets out to reinvigorate national cinema studies in an Irish context through a quantitative analysis of films financed by the Irish Film Board between 1993 and 2013. In constructing and coding a database of titles produced with the aid of state finance during this period, the authors argue for a methodology that broadens the inductive approaches of textual analysis that have dominated discussions of Irish cinema to date. By establishing recurring genres, narrative patterns, themes and character types present in IFB-funded films during this period, this article demonstrates how the professional objectives of IFB personnel have shaped institutional funding outcomes.

Film Studies
An Introductory Text and Translation (Halit Refiğ, 1971)
Murat Akser and Didem Durak-Akser

Halit Refiğ had impact on debates around Turkish national cinema both as a thinker and as a practitioner. Instrumental in establishing the Turkish Film Institute under MSU along with his director colleagues like Metin Erksan and Lutfi Akad, Refiğ lectured for many years at the first cinema training department. This translation is from his 1971 collection of articles titled Ulusal Sinema Kavgasi (Fight For National Cinema). Here Refiğ elaborates on the concept of national cinema from cultural perspectives framing Turkey as a continuation of Ottoman Empire and its culture distinct and different from western ideas of capitalism, bourgeoisie art and Marxism. For Refiğ, Turkish cinema should be reflected as an extension of traditional Turkish arts. Refiğ explores the potential to form a national cinema through dialogue,and dialectic within Turkish traditional arts and against western cinematic traditions of representation.

Film Studies
Daniel Biltereyst

Arguing that limit transgression is a key feature for understanding the cinematic performance of, and the controversy around, sexuality in the public sphere, this contribution focuses on various aspects of limit transgression in relation to sex cinemas. Following a new cinema history approach and concentrating on the case of an emerging sex cinema in postwar Belgium (Cinema Leopold in Ghent, 1945–54), this article looks at various dimensions of limit transgression in terms of concrete physical and spatial relations; programming strategies; audience experiences; and a range of disciplining societal practices and institutional discourses.

Film Studies
Daisy Connon

Towards a Theory for African Cinema is an English translation of a talk given in French by the Tunisian filmmaker and critic Férid Boughedir (1944–) at a conference on international cinema, which took place in Montreal in 1974. In his presentation Boughedir discusses the vocation of the African filmmaker, who must avoid succumbing to the escapism and entertainment values of Western cinema and instead strive to reflect the contradictions and tensions of the colonised African identity, while promoting a revitalisation of African culture. Drawing on the example of the 1968 film Mandabi (The Money Order) by the Senegalese director Sembène Ousmane, Boughedir conceptualises a form of cinema which resists the influences of both Hollywood and auteur film and awakens viewers, instead of putting them to sleep. Boughedir‘s source text is preceded by a translator‘s introduction, which situates his talk within contemporary film studies.

Film Studies
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Film and Digital Media
Vinicius Navarro

This article looks at contemporary film scholarship in order to address one of the disciplines pressing questions: the place of cinema in a context of rapid technological change. Rather than simply focus on technology, however, the article calls for a broad set of criteria to define what counts as cinema today. In particular, it revisits the concept of expanded cinema and treats filmmaking as an event that combines the contexts of production and reception. Finally, the article insists on the relevance of film studies as a field that will continue to lead the debate on moving image media.

Film Studies
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin’s Search for a New Film Form
Hayley O’Malley

James Baldwin was a vocal critic of Hollywood, but he was also a cinephile, and his critique of film was not so much of the medium itself, but of the uses to which it was put. Baldwin saw in film the chance to transform both politics and art—if only film could be transformed itself. This essay blends readings of archival materials, literature, film, and print culture to examine three distinct modes in Baldwin’s ongoing quest to revolutionize film. First, I argue, literature served as a key site to practice being a filmmaker, as Baldwin adapted cinematic grammars in his fiction and frequently penned scenes of filmgoing in which he could, in effect, direct his own movies. Secondly, I show that starting in the 1960s, Baldwin took a more direct route to making movies, as he composed screenplays, formed several production companies, and attempted to work in both Hollywood and the independent film scene in Europe. Finally, I explore how Baldwin sought to change cinema as a performer himself, in particular during his collaboration on Dick Fontaine and Pat Hartley’s documentary I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1982). This little-known film follows Baldwin as he revisits key sites from the civil rights movement and reconnects with activist friends as he endeavors to construct a revisionist history of race in America and to develop a media practice capable of honoring Black communities.

James Baldwin Review
Beatriz Tadeo Fuica

Agustín Tosco Propaganda was published in the Argentine film journal El Amante Cine. It was written by Israel Adrián Caetano before his film Pizza, Beer and Cigarettes (Caetano and Stagnaro, 1998) triggered the concept of New Argentine Cinema. In this provocative text, Caetano criticised the way Argentine cinema had usually been made and, in a form of manifesto, he presented the principles that his own films – and those of many other young directors – have followed since then. Although New Argentine Cinema has been thoroughly studied in the English-speaking academia, only a few authors have made reference to this seminal text. Being aware of the principles set in this manifesto more than twenty years ago will help researchers and students understand some important features that tend to be overlooked when exploring not only Argentinean cinema, but also many other cinemas of the region.

Film Studies