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Auteurism, politics, landscape and memory

This book is a collection of essays that offers a new lens through which to examine Spain's cinematic production following the decades of isolation imposed by the Franco regime. The films analysed span a period of some 40 years that have been crucial in the development of Spain, Spanish democracy and Spanish cinema. The book offers a new lens to examine Spain's cinematic production following the decades of isolation imposed by the Franco regime. The figure of the auteur jostles for attention alongside other features of film, ranging from genre, intertexuality and ethics, to filmic language and aesthetics. At the heart of this project lies an examination of the ways in which established auteurs and younger generations of filmmakers have harnessed cinematic language towards a commentary on the nation-state and the politics of historical and cultural memory. The films discussed in the book encompass different genres, both popular and more select arthouse fare, and are made in different languages: English, Basque, Castilian, Catalan, and French. Regarded universally as a classic of Spanish arthouse cinema, El espíritu de la colmena/The Spirit of the Beehive has attracted a wealth of critical attention which has focused on political, historical, psychological and formal aspects of Víctor Erice's co-authored film-text. Luis Bunuel's Cet obscur objet du désir/That Obscure Object of Desire, Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons' Ocana. Retrat Intermitent/Ocana. An Intermittent Portrait, Francisco Franco's El Dorado, Víctor Erice's El sol del membrillo/The Quince Tree Sun, and Julio Medem's Vacas/Cows are some films that are discussed.

Open Access (free)
Robert J. Corber

The author reviews Barry Jenkins’s 2018 film adaptation of Baldwin’s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, finding that Jenkins’s lush, painterly, and dreamlike visual style successfully translates Baldwin’s cadenced prose into cinematic language. But in interpreting the novel as the “perfect fusion” of the anger of Baldwin’s essays and the sensuality of his fiction, Jenkins overlooks the novel’s most significant aspect, its gender politics. Baldwin began working on If Beale Street Could Talk shortly after being interviewed by Black Arts poet Nikki Giovanni for the PBS television show, Soul!. Giovanni’s rejection of Baldwin’s claims that for black men to overcome the injuries of white supremacy they needed to fulfill the breadwinner role prompted him to rethink his understanding of African American manhood and deeply influenced his representation of the novel’s black male characters. The novel aims to disarticulate black masculinity from patriarchy. Jenkins’s misunderstanding of this aspect of the novel surfaces in his treatment of the character of Frank, who in the novel serves as an example of the destructiveness of patriarchal masculinity, and in his rewriting of the novel’s ending.

James Baldwin Review
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Joseph Losey and the crisis of historical rupture
Colin Gardner

dystopia) through the construction of a new kind of filmic form. The very structure of Losey’s cinematic language, as well as his narrative style and content, are thus directly related to the artist’s attempt to create a new, post-Cold War vision for radicalism and social change, as well as a personal atonement for the mistakes and misjudgements produced by the Old Left’s dogmatic loyalty to an inhuman Stalinism. How do we theorize and

in Joseph Losey
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Keith Beattie

Introduction ‘It might reasonably be contended that Humphrey Jennings is the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced’, wrote Lindsay Anderson in the early 1950s.1 Jennings’ friend and colleague, the poet and socio­ logist Charles Madge, said that Jennings’ work had a ­‘meteoric quality’.2 The cultural and media theorist Stuart Hall, who became professor of sociology at the University of Birmingham, a position earlier filled by Madge, called Jennings a ‘film-maker of extraordinary talent – one of the very few authentic exponents of cinematic language

in Humphrey Jennings
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Hable con ella
Ana María Sánchez-Arce

metonymy that hides an ellipsis, something Almodóvar is incredibly fond of. Just as Nabokov demonstrated the persuasive power of language, Almodóvar shows the ability of cinematic language to build alternative worlds and conceal as well as show. His films are full of secrets and teasing prompts to viewers to go beyond their surface content. These correspond to what has been described in literature as poetic diction, comprising of, for example, circumlocution, elision, personification, and the use of images and intertextuality. The poetic is the main mode of Hable con

in The cinema of Pedro Almodóvar
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Maria M. Delgado

selected come from the opening decade of the twenty-first century, lies an examination of the ways in which established auteurs (Almodóvar, Garci, Saura) and younger generations of filmmakers (Cesc Gay, Alejandro Amenábar, Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo) have harnessed cinematic language towards a commentary on the nation-state and the politics of historical and cultural memory. In the age of globalisation, it is perhaps not surprising

in Spanish cinema 1973–2010
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An American independent film made by Mexicans
Deborah Shaw

context, even if European films rely on independent industrial and aesthetic practices, and North American films adopt art cinema aesthetics. To attempt to summarise this section and all the complexities inherent in applying definitions to such a broad category, the concept of independence and the meaning of the label for critics, spectators, and marketing purposes rest predominantly on three areas: the relation­ship between the filmmakers, the film text, and the studios; the status of the director/auteur; and the cinematic languages used. In what follows, I explore all

in The three amigos
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Performance, parody, identity
Marion Schmid

’Amérique (1988), a film on Jewish immigrants in New York, which boldly mixes comic and tragic registers. The fictional work of the 1980s, whilst signalling an important change of mood, also marks a crucial shift in Akerman’s cinematic language: as critics have noted, it constitutes a bold departure from the cinema of anti-seduction of the preceding decade towards an exploration of a more narrative-led cinema of attraction (Fowler 2000

in Chantal Akerman

Since the release of her debut feature, La ciénaga, in 2001, Argentine director Lucrecia Martel has gained worldwide recognition for her richly allusive, elliptical and sensorial film-making. The first monograph on her work, The Cinema of Lucrecia Martel analyses her three feature films, which also include La niña santa (2004) and La mujer sin cabeza (2008), alongside the unstudied short films Nueva Argirópolis (2010), Pescados (2010) and Muta (2011). It examines the place of Martel’s work within the experimental turn taken by Argentine cinema in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a trend of which Martel is often described as a major player, yet also explores correspondences between her work and other national and global filmmaking trends, including the horror genre, and classic Hollywood. It brings together the rich and diverse critical approaches which have been taken in the analysis of Martel’s work – including feminist and queer approaches, political readings and phenomenology – and proposes new ways of understanding her films, in particular through their figuring of desire as revolutionary, their use of the child’s perspective, and their address to the senses and perception, which it argues serve to renew cinematic language and thought.

Ménilmontant, Le Sang des bêtes, Colloque de chiens
Erik Bullot

The author addresses singularity, figural expression and transgression in three experimental shorts that picture the margins of Paris the better to interrogate the limits of cinematic language itself. To what extent might filmmakers who refuse the codes of an audience-ready cinema of the juste milieu stake a claim to an art of the periphery? Linking the working-class neighbourhood of its title to crime, Dimitri Kirsanoff’s silent Ménilmontant (1926) gestures towards melodrama even as it proposes an introduction to avant-garde film poetics. Georges Franju’s Le Sang des bêtes (1949), on Paris’s slaughterhouses, strikes a formal balance between poetic décor on the one hand and, on the other, the drama of livestock being steamed, stunned and decapitated. Deep generic instability and distanced humour characterise Raúl Ruiz’s off-kilter parody of surrealism Colloque de chiens (1977). Throughout these works, the internal and external borders of Paris work as zones of latent or overt violence to dissolve genre; scenes of fragmentation and dismemberment upend any pretention to a balanced and harmonious cinema of the juste milieu. The suburb becomes an ideal projective screen.

in Screening the Paris suburbs