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Throughout Elsaesser continues to pursue such cracks along which we can split Hollywood, which only had this reader wondering if, in fact, we could take what he hails as its openness 91 to be its emptiness, amplified along the same old myth-making model. We often wonder what is essentially American about American cinema; it is sad that Elsaesser is so caught up in his auteuristic clustering of films that he does not pursue any of the thematic myths that Hollywood has come to be associated with, nor, by the same token, does he account for that myth-making impulse as a potentially substantial strength of Hollywood.
But this boundary, even if threatened by its frequent blurring within the industry, is held onto with immense affective investment, as the other two titles here inform us.
Systems as large and powerful as Hollywood, and even Bollywood, grow by mere association because they wield power across the network of production, distribution and consumption.
It hardly needs to be asserted that the persistence of Hollywood is tied to the persistence of capital and its mysterious ability to stay the same even as it changes. While, for themselves, The Persistence of Hollywood and Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves On-line are worthy contributions to the conceptualization of the contemporary moment in cinema, a tendency that is evident across all three of these titles is to side with the march of technological or economic capital.
While each can be appreciated as useful documentations of the present, they serve us very little beyond that. It must be suggested then, that even as these titles are read for what they offer, the readers must not surrender their capacity to wonder about — and present resistance to — the elementary appeal of the cinematic and the technological enterprise, and how they may be getting subsumed under discussions of flows, networks and new media.
These books are useful, then, at least in highlighting the need for attention to be turned to such aspects of cinema in the twenty-first century. While the formal concept of genre is not explicitly examined with any thoroughness in any of the books under review here, all three succeed in making a specific genre a working category in their wider analyses of social and cultural transformations and landscapes.
While a straightforward interest in genre itself might not be satisfied, therefore, taken together the three works serve to present the intriguing fact that genres have not undergone any radical change in recent decades, despite the hybridization and complication of some categories, so that they are still found to be perseverant in terms of iconographic, narrative and ideological constituents.
Moreover, they are each convincing in the methodological strategy of tracing the formations of genres across decades and cultures stands as an effective means by which to speak about broader context.
Two of the books in question belong to series, and that certainly influences their position. One of the chief preoccupations of the book is linking the thematic and formal changes in the Japanese horror film through the second half of the twentieth century to the dissolution of the ie system of social and familial loyalty.
Molloy presents clearly the industrial causes for the American indie film becoming a mass phenomenon noting the Slamdance Film Festival, founded for projects rejected at the prestigious Sundance, receiving submissions in Among these causes is a heavy dependence on non- American markets, but also the fact that all Hollywood majors gradually created indie divisions either for production or distribution during the s But this is not to propose that a discourse of independence is produced from an overarching oppositional mainstream- independent binary; this would require fixed authorities of delimitation and stable lines of difference.
Instead, there is always a multiplicity of discourses in circulation which serve many different interests […]. This allowed for the appropriation of art cinema devices which fragment the unity of the film discourse, creating dissonance between what is seen and what is heard in such a way that Memento pushes against but does not exceed the norms of classical narrative.
Chapter four considers the film in its function as noir. With Japanese originals and Hollywood remakes becoming equally popular among global audiences, this book seems to offer a timely and justified account of the industrial workings of this transnational phenomenon. However, the opening chapter of the book proper is much more specific and illuminating concerning the development of the Japanese horror genre itself.
A main reason for this is the fact that sexuality often in its most extreme forms is central to the Japanese horror genre and is apparently rendered puritanical by comparison in American remakes.
The sadomasochistic brutality and countless violations performed on the female body in Japanese horror films are linked to the proliferation of Japanese pornography and its multiplying subgenres.
This is shown to foreshadow more well-known titles — among them films that went on the produce high profile remakes, like Ring Hideo Nakata, and Ju-On Takashi Shimizu, — as it contains key themes, characters and intertextual relations: These include the vengeful female ghost with long black hair; the haunted house; themes of abandonment and alienation; doomed love […].
Both films emerge from the kabuki and no traditions […], the special effects and spectacle influencing Godzilla, and the stories of ghosts, demons and other supernatural beings forming the basis of Tales of Ugetsu.
They would rather be useful as in-depth handbooks, which must be on the shelves of anyone interested in the texts and genres involved. They all offer usefully full filmographies, as well as a vast array of off- and online resources that should be helpful for anyone who wants to pursue the topics in their contemporary specifically globalized and digital contexts. If the recent passing of Andrew Sarris managed to stir some echoes of the old auteurist debates, the fire of the critical controversy of yesteryear has cooled into wistful recollection.
Film criticism has long since absorbed auteurism and moved on, and although Sarris' brand of auteurism continues to inform the language of mainstream criticism, the forces of postmodernism and poststructuralism have diluted and redirected much of its influence on contemporary critical writing on cinema. Nevertheless, the names of some directors will always be more dominant than others, and it is hard to imagine two Hollywood figures who better embody Sarris' definition of the auteur than Orson Welles and Terrence Malick: each director is found to have honed a singular visual style through their careful control over production practices, and weaved a complex, inter-related web of themes across their body of films.
Of equal importance is the way each director's persona has contributed to their legacy and enduring mythology. In the case of Welles, his larger-than-life personality, fiery clashes with Hollywood studios, and long periods of exile in Europe contributed to his legendary status as something of a suppressed genius, whose works were severely compromised by factors beyond his control.
In Malick's case, it is the very unavailability of the director, who took his own extended sojourn to Europe, and returned to work just as mysteriously after a twenty-year absence, that has contributed to his standing as one of Hollywood's great recluses - a contradiction in terms if ever there was one. The books under review here by Steven Rybin and Marguerite H. Rippy demonstrate two means by which we might approach a single director's body of work without resorting to standard auteurist tropes.
Rybin considers Malick's films not as enactments of philosophy and history, but as explorations of the process by which philosophy and history are written. Meanwhile, Rippy examines Welles' unfinished RKO films from a postmodern perspective, inserting the projects back into their historical moments and investigating the ramifications of Welles' working methods.
The careers of both directors point to the slippery interaction between idiosyncratic creative practice — authoring highly personalised works within an essentially collaborative, commodified medium — and commercial and critical failure. With this broad concern in common these books employ distinct sets of critical tools to fashion new vantage points from which we may consider their subjects' films.
Steven Rybin is unapologetic for approaching Malick's films from a philosophical perspective, and endeavours from the outset to distinguish his own methodology from existing philosophical readings of Malick's films. Given Malick's own background as a student of philosophy under Stanley Cavell and Gilbert Ryle, and his early translation of Heidegger's Vom Wesen des Grundes ; translated by Malick as The Essence of Reasons in , it is easy to see why many have chosen to read Malick's films as filmic explorations of Heidegger's philosophical concepts of Dasein, dwelling, and Being.
Rybin cautions against such an approach, arguing that to reduce Malick's films to superficial illustrations of schools of philosophical thought is to overlook the significance of his films as complex philosophical works in their own right. Rybin rejects this illustrative reading of Malick's films, casting it in opposition to the phenomenological approach to cinema as championed by Vivian Sobchack.
This is not to say that Rybin completely rejects a Heideggerian reading of Malick's films, but instead suggests that, "Malick's films teach us how to use Heidegger as another valuable tool to understand film experience as a site in which philosophy may happen" 2. Rybin argues that Malick's characters are in a constant process of becoming, constantly attempting to articulate their identities as "voicing meaning becomes [ Stylistically, this sensibility is articulated through Malick's use of voiceover, which became increasingly complex and detached from causal narrative as his career progressed, from Holly's attempts to romantically re-envision her killing- spree in Badlands , to Linda's use of voiceover to make sense of the actions of the adults in Days of Heaven , arriving at the polyphonic interrogation of the nature of war and the essence of nature in The Thin Red Line In this sense, Malick's films should be taken less as traditional causality- based narratives than the representation of an ongoing probing by his characters, who are attempting to fashion their own narratives from their investigations into and impressions of the world around them.
Rybin links this open-ended search for identity with Malick's heavily fragmented use of montage, as one of the striking qualities of Malick's films, in contrast to both non- narrative experimental cinema and the classical Hollywood cinema, is their frequent predilection for generating disjunctive visual pairings of obliquely related narrative spaces while nevertheless implying the possible causal, emotional, and intellectual relationships that might yet be found between them.
Where the "earth" of a painting may be observed in its visible brush-strokes, Rybin locates the "earth" of cinematic experience in "its grounding in the sensuous luminosity of the unfolding projection of the celluloid strip" Rybin makes an interesting distinction here between classical cinema narrative, which in its aspiration towards invisibility of style and immersion in narrative denies experience of its "earth", and poetic cinema, of which Malick is unarguably a practitioner.
Having established his central thesis, Rybin moves through each of Malick's films. In Badlands, Rybin notes an overriding obsession with artefacts of decay and detritus, as the characters of the film are stricken with malaise and physical unease.
Kit's "disharmonious relationship with the world" 58 prompts his entropic assumption of the role of killer almost by default, as he attempts to connect with his surroundings by awkwardly lashing out with violence towards them.
Rybin aligns Kit's fetishistic fascination with physical objects, and his frequent, often comically abortive attempts at "self-preservation through media and other artefacts" 58 such as the phonograph record he cuts before burning down Holly's home, or the rock monument he hastily constructs in the moments before his capture , with Andre Bazin's notion of the mummy complex. Rybin links Bazin's comments on the cinematic potential for immortality with the desire of Malick's characters to fix their identity within their surroundings: whereas Holly strives to articulate herself through her voiceover, Kit feebly interacts with physical objects, and attempts to leave his mark on the world through his uncertain acts of violence.
Additionally, Rybin has some interesting observations on the depiction of violence in Badlands, noting that despite the many killings in the film, Malick routinely elides the moment of death, which Rybin relates once again back to Bazin and his writings on cinema and the preservation of the historical moment.
Rybin labels Malick's next film, Days of Heaven, a "co-text", which invites the audience to piece their own narrative from the shards of experience depicted in the film. Malick's camera observes, but never penetrates the interior lives of his characters, and his within his impressionistic and gently fractured imagery […] images are wrested apart from continuity and woven back together so as to give a patchwork of perspectives and positions that all occupy the same space but nevertheless do not quite occupy it in shared ways or with shared meanings.
Many important story events in Days of Heaven are truncated or excised altogether, and Rybin stresses that Linda Manz's voiceover is not a source of exposition or clarification for the audience, but an insight into the character's attempt to make sense of the events that she glimpses but does not always understand.
The concept of the "co-text" continues to develop in The Thin Red Line, as Malick further abstracts his use of voiceover narration in a film that Rybin considers to be less a film about war than it is a film about the mythologies that war's participants forge through their interior monologues in an attempt to make philosophical sense of the experience.
Rybin reserves his most complex and rewarding interpretive work for the oft- overlooked The New World Rybin views the animated maps that feature in the title sequence of the film as emblematic of both the misguided project of colonialism and Malick's own creative methodology. Like the unfinished maps seen in the film, The New World is a design always in a process of becoming, confessing its artificial nature to its viewers frankly and inviting them to participate in its completion [ Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the conclusion of the film, where the character of Pocahontas, whispers something to her son, but the soundtrack's exclusion of this whisper, and the film's visual framing of the moment in a long shot, lets us know clearly that her words are not for our ears.
What we do hear is [John] Rolfe, who speaks to us in voice-over on the soundtrack as these final images of Pocahontas are shown to us; he reads the letter she has left for their son before her death and in doing so marks the first of many Anglo- Saxons who will act as her voice throughout history.
By denying the character interiority in her last appearance in the film, allowing her dialogue to pass unheard on the soundtrack, as her written words are verbalised by John Rolfe on the soundtrack, Malick acknowledges the futility of attempting to master the Pocahontas narrative, as he himself "refus[es] to master the fictional worlds [he] creates" Pocahontas remains unknowable, and, indeed, "we cannot know [her] because years of genocide and unethical myth-making separate us from this figure who is animated but not explained in the final frames of The New World" Rybin's book ends with a short post-script on The Tree of Life , which is mostly limited to describing the content of the film, although Rybin makes some interesting links between the distended web of recollections that constitute the film, and the relationship between memory and architecture.
Overall, Rybin views Tree of Life as consistent with Malick's trajectory away from causal narrative and into a poetic and deeply philosophical aesthetic that is entirely his own. If the deeply divisive reception that greeted To the Wonder at the recent Venice and Toronto film festivals is any indication, Malick has departed even further from the classical conventions of narrative, and, with two further films presently in production, is currently engaged in by far the most prolific phase of his career.
Doubtless this will not be the last major book to consider Malick's works, regardless of whether audiences and critics are prepared to follow him further down the rabbit hole to tremble wondrously on the threshold of his cinematic worlds. Unlike Malick, who seems more resolutely untroubled by commercial considerations with each successive film, Orson Welles' career predicates a far greater ambivalence towards the film as artwork versus the film as commodity. Marguerite Rippy innovatively characterises this tension in the form of Orson Welles as brand.
The branding of Welles was central to his radio work, with his presence immediately identifiable due to his distinctive voice in his radio work. RKO wished to continue to exploit the Welles brand, highlighting his authorship as both director and star. Rippy explores Welles' unfinished projects during his time at RKO in an exploration of the intersecting nexus between production practice, the political dimensions of the filmic text both intended and unintended , and the commodification of film and director.
Unlike Rybin's book, which rarely considers the interplay between Malick's production practices and realised aesthetics, Rippy's book is diligently historical, working through screenplay drafts and correspondences, as well as drawing upon the cultural and historical backgrounds against which Welles' unfinished films were conceived.
Her ambition not to privilege Welles' completed films over his unfinished works is a fascinating one. In the postmodern age, in which the unified, whole text is dismantled, dispersed, and recombined, Rippy sees a new opportunity to examine Welles' unfinished films as postmodern objects.
The very fact of their failure to reach completion should not prevent us from reading them as texts, and their incomplete state indicates to Rippy that Hollywood was not ready to accept Welles' distinctive production practices and political concerns. In her final chapter, she suggests that as new media technologies such as the internet allow us to experience and interact with Welles' unfinished works as never before, the director's true influence is being felt in films and television of the early twenty- first century.
Unlike Rybin, for whom Malick's authorship or, more accurately, co-authorship is paramount, Rippy consciously deconstructs Welles as auteur, stressing the studio imperative to sell Welles as sole creative author of his films, despite his highly collaborative creative process - a fallacy which came to a head with Welles' dispute with Herman J.
Mankiewicz over the screenwriting credit of Citizen Kane Rippy's intent is "to reposition auteurism in order to analyse the radical potential within its fissures and to emphasise its creation as a commercial construct" 3. To this end, she frequently invokes the term "star director" instead of auteur, which recognises that the "star director, like a star actor, is a vehicle to market the work more than he or she is a representation of sole authorship" 4.
This is indeed a particularly pertinent distinction in the case of Welles given that his onscreen presence is often as distinctive a component of his brand as his directorial style. The first person singular is defined as "representing stream of consciousness, intersubjectivity, and deconstruction of reality" 61 through an essentially subjective progression through narrative. The first person singular would perhaps have been most fully realised in Welles' scrapped Heart of Darkness adaptation , which would have been shot from a subjective, point-of-view camera perspective.
Welles' adventurous early work within radio approached the medium as a space for narrative experimentation, drawing upon the sensory limitations of the medium to prompt the listener to construct entire imagined worlds. Rippy also links Welles' relationship with adaptations of classic texts to his prestige as a star director commodity.
Many of his radio works were literary adaptations, a trend which RKO were keen for him to continue for them, in an arrangement which would trade off both the literary pedigree of the adapted works, and consolidate Welles' own standing as a prestige director. His failure to complete a Charles Dickens adaptation for RKO points to his shifting of priorities, towards an interest in more formally adventurous, politically didactic works, and away from the constraints of a pre-existing literary source.
Welles' antifascist concerns, and interest in the "exotic" are most vividly expressed through Heart of Darkness, his Algiers radio show, and his final unfinished film for RKO, It's All True Echoing the conflicted reception of his Macbeth, Rippy attributes the hostile reception to the Algiers radio programme to Welles' "thematic and structural challenges to bourgeois individual American identity" Rippy's most detailed analytical work looks at It's All True, in which the intersections of differing agendas Welles' creative impulse, the marketing concerns of RKO, and the representative concerns of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, which had invested in the film , the tension between fact and fiction, documentary and free-form narrative clashed in a particularly incendiary manner that would culminate in Welles' departure from RKO.
Rippy's final chapter considers the contemporary resonance of Welles' influence, and she draws a particularly long bow by looking at Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ , Steven Spielberg's The War of the Worlds , and Stephen Colbert's concept of "truthiness" as contemporary manifestations of Wellesian style.
Rippy's book is not for the uninitiated - a fair degree of knowledge is expected of most of Welles' unfinished projects, and the scrambled chronology makes it difficult to chart the connections between projects, and their relationship to Welles' completed films, which go largely unremarked upon here.
In many ways it is a shame that Rippy restricts the scope of her work to Welles' RKO projects, given some of the equally notable works mounted in the subsequent stages of his career that never saw the light of day. Nevertheless, Rippy is to be commended for suggesting new ways that we might interact with and interpret Welles' work, and ensuring that Welles' unfinished projects do not fall away into invisibility as time catches up with them.
What comes most immediately to mind when regarding the intersection of film and ethics is documentary film subjects and their relationship with the film- makers. Significantly, bringing together film and ethics also always involves a third issue, that of violence—by extension, suffering and pain. By what ethical code of conduct do film-makers need to abide to avoid impinging on — indeed, violating — the dignity and rights of film subjects?
The two works under review, however, each reframe the points of discussion on film and ethics. Both examine how filmic representations elaborate an ethical film criticism beyond the exclusive context of documentary film and the filmmaker-film subject relationship. The first taking a wide view of films across genres and the other focused on those of Michael Haneke, at a fundamental level, together they pose key questions like how filmic representation can elaborate ethical film criticism; how films can function in ethical, critical dialogue with philosophy and film theory; and how films negotiate an ethically informed relationship between the actual world — the world in which we watch films — and the represented world s in films?
Both Film and Ethics and Ethic of the Image engage explicitly with ethics as the basis of their respective film analyses, and not the other way around. But the encounter between film and ethics is not about how films fulfil a moral norm or define what it is. By stressing the encounter in ethics, Downing and Saxton frame ethics as a process and they explore instead the kind of spaces and actions in which ethics may reside.
For Downing and Saxton, then, film and ethics are less separate realms than co-constitutive of each other, as ways of being and representation. Though they do not aim to undercut the work done in documentary film studies with regards to ethics, with a few exceptions they devote their attention to fiction films.
French continental thought underpins all of their analyses, but for Downing, questions of the body and performance and representations of gender and sexuality dominate, while for Saxton, questions of memory and testimony and representations of the Holocaust characterise her essays. That is, she demonstrates how these two films together perform a dialogue on the politics and ethics of representations of the other.
She asks, what kind of power relations form between the spectator and those suffering in films? With this question, Saxton brings to the discussion the politics and ethics of witnessing. Aaron and Sontag have emphasised how spectatorship is always already ethical through media conflation of atrocity images and fictions of violence, suffering, and pain, resulting in one indistinguishable flow.
Saxton takes further the encounter of film and ethics from where Aaron and Sontag leave off and examines how films negotiate our ethical spectatorship on the one hand, and interrogate their own ethical positioning and responsibility on the other. Duncan Brodie. They highlight the low average speed of traffic on the key east-west route, particularly on the section between Braintree and Marks Tey, and set out the benefits of road improvements, including improved mobility in the local workforce.
Mr Harston said upgrades to the A and the A14 were key issues ahead of potential expasion of port facilities at both the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port. Log in Register. Toggle navigation. Paul, thank you so much for DJ'ing last night - absolutely brilliant!
Everyone kept saying to me "your DJ is great". I had a great night! Not feeling it today though ha! Thanks again, Sarah. Sarah, 30th Birthday, Reids Billericay, July Thank you so much for Saturday you did such an amazing job.
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