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.
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 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 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.
This article describes the rise of MA programmes in audio-visual archiving,
preservation and presentation. It distinguishes between two key developments that are
transforming the contemporary graduation education in AV heritage: digital
developments that significantly impact the professional field, and new governance
structures that comprise a (forced) move away from film studies as disciplinary home.
It is the latter, this article argues, that poses the real threat for the future of
professional education in preservation and presentation of moving images.
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.
This article investigates the emotive potency of horror soundtracks. The account
illuminates the potency of aural elements in horror cinema to engage spectators body
in the light of a philosophical framework of emotion, namely, the embodied appraisal
theories of emotion. The significance of aural elements in horror cinema has been
gaining recognition in film studies. Yet it still receives relatively scarce
attention in the philosophical accounts of film music and cinematic horror, which
tend to underappreciate the power of horror film sound and music in inducing
emotions. My investigation aims both to address the lacuna, and facilitate dialogue
between the two disciplines.
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.