This book interrogates the interplay of cultural and political aspects of contemporary Hollywood movies. Using ‘security’ films dealing with public order and disorder (Part I), romantic comedies and other movies presenting intimate relationalities (Part II), socially engaged films offering overtly critical messages (Part III), and analysis of Hollywood’s global reach and impact (Part IV), it articulates and illustrates an original cultural politics approach to film. The book employs an expanded conception of ‘the political’ to enquire into power relations in public, private, and policy arenas in order to advance a new framework and methodology for cultural politics. It demonstrates how movies both reflect and produce political myths that largely uphold the status quo as they shape our dreams, identities, and selves.
Power, culture, and society
Chris Beasley and Heather Brook
Moving beyond boundaries
Dance has always been a method of self- expression for human beings. This book examines the political power of dance and especially its transgressive potential. Focusing on readings of dance pioneers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, Gumboots dancers in the gold mines of South Africa, the One Billion Rising movement using dance to protest against gendered violence, dabkeh in Palestine and dance as protest against human rights abuse in Israel, the Sun Dance within the Native American Crow tribe, the book focuses on the political power of dance and moments in which dance transgresses politics articulated in words. Thus the book seeks ways in which reading political dance as interruption unsettles conceptions of politics and dance.
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson
2 Politics Introduction The problem in America is that we don’t apologise, and we don’t learn. The protests against the Iraq War worldwide were enormous. I don’t think Americans got a sense of the protest or the damage in Iraq at all. The protests were not that big a story in the USA. The American press report on every story from an American viewpoint. It is what comes naturally to them. It’s not done out of malice; they don’t know any better.1 In his introduction to an episode of the PBS programme Open Mind, recorded in January 1992, host Richard Heffner
A discussion with China Miéville
An interview with China Miéville about the aesthetics and politics of Gothic, fantasy and weird fiction.
Examining Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rebecca in terms of the Gothic convention of non-realist doubled and split characters, this essay argues that the slippage of desire between characters, male as well as female, complicates the containment of the dead Rebecca and whatever she represents. Although the splitting of the female protagonist into the unnamed heroine, the ghostly Rebecca and her surrogate Mrs Danvers has been extensively discussed, the use of this strategy as it concerns the male characters has been less often noticed. The replication of the male protagonist, Maxim, by two other male characters at once deepens him psychologically and contaminates him with ghostliness. These two conflicting manoeuvres strengthen his connection with both his wives, the dead as much as the living. But even while the treatment of Maxim empowers Rebecca and her successor, the movie‘s depiction of male bonding invites a questioning of the extent of female agency.
8 Documenting the political: some issues PRELIMINARY NOTE Here, I attempt to explore some of the more important dimensions of documentary as a range of forms for, among other things, political investigation and political portrayal, forms which generate a variety of ways of knowing and feeling. Although I examine the manner in which documentary necessarily grounds itself in images of the physical world (the subject of the previous chapter), my primary concern is with the kinds of propositional discourses about politics (implied or explicit) that specific
1 Beyond political modernism 2 The key political modernist auteur: Jean-Luc Godard with Eddie Constantine and Anna Karina on the set of Alphaville (1965) I n an important article written in 1972, Peter Wollen set forth the stakes of a counter-cinema that could be opposed to what he referred to as orthodox cinema (Wollen 1985). He proceeded to map the ‘seven deadly sins’ of orthodox cinema in order to oppose them directly to the ‘seven cardinal virtues’ of counter-cinema. The opposition declared here was one that, in time, became known as the discourse of
This article provides a reading of gender politics in cyberpunk, drawing upon the Gothic, the cyborg and the (post)feminist subject. This reading is effected through an account of the ass-kicking techno-babe, a crucial component of the masculine strand of cyberpunk which valorises a masculinity and technology dialectic and draws upon film noir, with its hardboiled detectives and monstrous femmes fatales. From Molly Million‘s in Neuromancer to Y.T. in Neal Stephenson‘s Snow Crash (1992) and Trinity in Andy and Larry Wachowski‘s Matrix trilogy (1999–2003), this figure of the femme fatale demonstrates that the (post)feminist project of the ass-kicking techno-babe has found a home in the Gothic aesthetics of the noir-inf(l)ected genre of cyberpunk. The account of how hyper-sexualised cyborgic female bodies are positioned in contrast with the repressed bodies of male hackers reveals the destabilising conundrum of supposed agency contained by the determinacy of the (post)feminist body.
Working within the 1970s French avant-garde, Duras set out to dismantle the mechanisms of mainstream cinema, progressively undermining conventional representation and narrative and replacing them with her own innovative technique. However, the experimental impetus of her cinema was not motivated solely by artistic or aesthetic considerations, but also had important political implications. As Prédal has
emptying its people and places of their individual identities, enabling readers and spectators alike to project their own stories, thoughts and fantasies on to the bare outlines offered. If Duras’s creative enterprise was shaped to a large extent by memories of her childhood and adolescence, her involvement in the political history of France since the Second World War played an equally important role, particularly in her cinema. Indeed, a