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Meaning and practice, 1927–77

Amateur film: Meaning and practice 1927–77 traces the development of non-professional interests in making and showing film. It explores how amateur cinematography gained a following among the wealthy, following the launch of lightweight portable cine equipment by Kodak and Pathé in Britain during the early 1920s. As social access to the new hobby widened, enthusiasts began to use cine equipment at home, work, on holiday and elsewhere. Some amateurs made films only for themselves while others became cine club members, contributors to the hobby literature and participated in film competitions from local to international level.

The stories of individual filmmakers, clubs and the emergence of an independent hobby press, as well as the non-fiction films made by groups and individuals, provide a unique lens through which contemporary responses to daily experience may be understood over fifty years of profound social, cultural and economic change. Using regional film archive collections, oral testimony and textual sources, this book explores aspects of family life, working experience, locality and social issues, leisure time and overseas travel as captured by filmmakers from northern and northwest England. This study of visual memory, identity and status sets cine camera use within a wider trajectory of personal record making, and discusses the implications of footage moving from private to public spaces as digitisation widens access and transforms contemporary archive practice.

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Ian Aitken

When dealing in this chapter with certain principal questions of film art, we are primarily doing so because it is also here that a strange case of double reflection exists. This – abstract – fact of the matter links it with the other problem-complexes already dealt with. This abstract commonality would, however, prove misleading, if we do not, at the

in Lukácsian film theory and cinema
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Constantine Verevis

What is film remaking? Which films are remakes of other films? How does remaking differ from other types of repetition, such as quotation, allusion, adaptation? How is remaking different from the cinemas ability to repeat and replay the same film through reissue, redistribution and re-viewing? These are questions which have seldom been asked, let alone satisfactorily answered. This article refers to books and essays dealing directly with ‘film remakes’ and the concept of ‘remaking film’, from Michael B. Druxman‘s Make It Again, Sam (1975) to Horton and McDougal‘s Play It Again, Sam (1998) and Forrest and Koo‘s’ Dead Ringers: The Remake in Theory and Practice (2002). In addition, this article draws upon Rick Altman‘s Film/Genre, developing from that book the idea that, although film remakes (like film genres) are often ‘located’ in either authors or texts or audiences, they are in fact not located in any single place but depend upon a network of historically variable relationships. Accordingly this discussion falls into three sections: the first, remaking as industrial category, deals with issues of production, including industry (commerce) and authors (intention); the second, remaking as textual category, considers texts (plots and structures) and taxonomies; and the third, remaking as critical category, deals with issues of reception, including audiences (recognition) and institutions (discourse).

Film Studies
Critics and Critical Practice at the Monthly Film Bulletin
Richard Lowell MacDonald

This article focuses on the Monthly Film Bulletin, a magazine devoted to what is often regarded as the lowliest and most ephemeral form of film criticism: the film review. Studying the Bulletins publication history, with a particular emphasis on the 1970s, the article challenges the dismissal of journalistically motivated film criticism in academic discourse. It argues that the historical interest of the Bulletins late period lies in its hybrid identity, a journal of record in which both accurate information and personal evaluation coexisted as values, and in which a polyphony of individual critical voices creatively worked through a routinised reviewing practice and a generic discursive format.

Film Studies
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Editor: Andrew Spicer

This book aims to provide an overview of the history and development of film noir and neo-noir in five major European cinemas, France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, written by leading authorities in their respective fields. It contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. The book describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. It commences with a reflection on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. The problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form are discussed. Because British film noir had never received critical recognition, Andrew Spicer argues that British neo-noir had to reinvent itself anew, with little, if any, explicit continuity with its predecessors. The book also explores the changes in the French polar after 1968: the paranoia of the political thriller and the violence of the postmodern and naturalistic thriller. That new noir sensibility is different enough, and dark enough, from what preceded it, for us to call it 'hyper-noir'. British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. The book also discusses German neo-noir, Spanish film noir and neo-noir, and the Italian film noir.

An Analysis of Cinenovas Management Committee Meeting Minutes, 1991–97
Julia Knight

Cinenova was relaunched in 1991 from the pre-existing womens distributor, Circles, which had operated throughout the 1980s. In keeping with their founders feminist politics, both Circles and Cinenova were run via a non-hierarchical management structure and focused on the distribution, promotion and exhibition of films and videos made by, for and about women. As the funding and economic climate became harsher during the 1990s this organisational model was severely tested, as Cinenova‘s workers were forced to try and survive on a more commercially viable basis. This article uses Cinenova‘s management committee meeting minutes of 1991–97 to explore how its management practices impacted on its operation and effectiveness.

Film Studies
Julius Caesar
Maria Wyke

In studio publicity, trade papers, reviews, articles, and educational materials, Joseph L. Mankiewiczs Julius Caesar (1953) was described and accepted as a faithful and mostly pleasing adaptation of Shakespearean drama to the Hollywood screen. As Variety accurately predicted, it achieved four Oscar nominations, one award for art direction and set decoration, high grosses, a hit soundtrack album, and several subsequent revivals. With the content more or less given, contemporary discussion focussed closely on how the verbal had been visualised, on how theatre had been turned into cinema – in short, on the film‘s style. It is with contemporary and subsequent readings of the film‘s style that this article is concerned, where, following David Bordwell, style is taken to mean ‘a films systematic and significant use of techniques of the medium’. But whereas Bordwell analyses film style directly in terms of an aesthetic history he considers to be distinct from the history of the film industry, its technology, or a films relation to society, I explore interpretations of one film‘s style that are heavily invested with socio-political meaning. If, in Bordwell‘s organic metaphor, style is the flesh of film, these readings of style explicitly dress that flesh in socio-political clothing. This analysis of Julius Caesar, then, is not another contribution to debates about adaptation, theatre on film, or Shakespeare on screen, but about the politics of film style.

Film Studies

While several critical works on Spanish cinema have centred on the cultural, social and industrial significance of stars, there has been relatively little critical scholarship on what stars are paid to do: act. Bringing together a range of scholars that attend carefully to the performances, acting styles, and historical influences of Spanish film, Performance and Spanish Film is the first book to place the process of Spanish acting centre stage. Comprising fifteen original essays, the book casts light on the manifold meanings, methods and influences of Spanish screen performance, from the silent era to the present day. It situates the development of Spanish screen acting in both its national and global contexts, tracing acting techniques that are largely indigenous to Spain, as well as unpicking the ways in which Spanish performance has frequently been shaped by international influences and forces. As the volume ultimately demonstrates, acting can serve as a powerful site of meaning through which broader questions around Spanish film practices, culture and society can be explored.

Author: Andrew Klevan

This book provides an in-depth, holistic examination of evaluative aesthetics and criticism as they apply to film. Organised around the explanation of key concepts, it illuminates connections between the work of philosophers, theorists and critics, and demonstrates the evaluation of form through the close analysis of film sequences. The book advocates that aesthetic evaluation should be flexibly informed by a cluster of concerns including medium, convention, prominence, pattern and relation; and rather than privileging a particular theory or film style, it models a type of approach, attention, process and discourse. Suitable for students of film studies and philosophical aesthetics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Aesthetic evaluation and film also provides a framework for academics researching or teaching in the area. At the same time, the crisp and lucid style will make the book accessible to a wider readership.

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Medieval film' forces us into a double-take on chronology. This book argues that such a playful confusion of temporalities is a fundamental characteristic not just of the term but also of medieval films themselves. Medieval films reflect on the fact that they make present a past that was never filmable and offer alternatives to chronological conceptions of time. The book examines the contrasting uses, or non-uses, of medieval art objects in two medieval films and assesses how they contribute to the films' overall authenticity-effects. It makes tentative contribution to a list of such characteristics: that the fragmented visual profile of the medieval makes medieval authenticity-effects particularly troublesome to produce. The reliance of film theory on medievalism has never been acknowledged by film scholars. The book shows the ways in which preconceived notions of the Middle Ages filtered into and were influenced by film theory throughout the twentieth century; and to what extent film theory relies on knowledge about the Middle Ages for its basic principles. It explores to what extent medieval film engages with questions of language, and to what extent these engagements may be distinctive. Cinematic medievalism participated in and drew on a wider cultural and political preoccupation with the Middle Ages. Romanticism posited the Middle Ages as an alternative, utopian realm promising creative and political possibility. The book argues that certain films with medieval themes and settings, mostly dating from the 1940s to the 1960s, demonstrate a surprising affinity with the themes and techniques associated with film noir.