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Amir Har-Gil and Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler

Architecture and landscape constitute key aspects of fictional realistic drama in film and television. In fictional films whose plots take place on Israeli kibbutzim, on-site cinematography is a central means of achieving a realistic and dramatic portrayal of the communal settlement and its social space. In this article, we investigate five productions filmed on location at Kibbutz Yakum. We argue that these filmic representations of architecture and landscape reify the image of the kibbutz as an introverted society that denies individuals their privacy and upholds the centrality and presence of community. By comparing the actual sites with their presentation in films, we show that the physical space of the kibbutz was filmed selectively in a manner that immortalizes its communal, 'classical' image, which in reality no longer exists. The kibbutz's transformation from a communal to a privatized society is purposely veiled in these films, preserving the kibbutz's established image.

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James E. Cutting, Catalina Iricinschi and Kaitlin L. Brunick

This article presents a new method to create maps that chart changes across a cinematic narrative. These are unlike narrative spaces previously discussed in the literature—they are abstract, holistic, dynamic representations based on objective criteria. The analysis considers three films (All About Eve, Inception, and MASH) by counting the co-occurrences of main characters within scenes, and 12 Angry Men by counting their co-occurrences within shots. The technique used combines the statistical methods of correlation, multidimensional scaling, and Procrustes analysis. It then plots the trajectories of characters across these spaces in All About Eve and Inception, regions for characters in Inception and MASH, and compares the physical arrangement of jurors with their dramatic roles in 12 Angry Men. These maps depict the changing structures in the visual narrative. Finally, through consideration of statistical learning, the article explores the plausibility that these maps mimic relations in the minds of film viewers.

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Ron Tamborini, René Weber, Nicholas David Bowman, Allison Eden and Paul Skalski

Historically, debates over media violence have been a central focus of media research. Yet lacking from these debates is a meaningful discussion about the conceptualization of media violence. We argue that violence is not a monolithic construct, and is based on viewer perceptions of specific types of images and framing in media content. This idea has scholarly precedence: In 2002 and 2003, Potter and his colleagues proposed that perceptions of violence are formed as audience members make assessments about the relative levels of (in order) graphicness, realism, and justification for witnessed, on-screen violent actions. This article furthers this tri-partite conceptualization by using a binary-choice conjoint analysis to determine the role of each attribute in guiding audience perceptions of and preference for violent media in film and video games. For both media types, justification was the most central factor in shaping perceptions of violence, but realism was the most important predictor for the preference of violence.

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Margit Sinka

Launched in 1998 on the eve of the eighth Day of German Unity, the Denk ich an Deutschland television film series was intended to reframe discourses on national identity formation in a positive light through documentaries focused on the present rather than on the dark German past. While Andreas Kleinert's Niemandsland (No Man's Land, 1998) and Andreas Dresen's Herr Wichmann von der CDU (Vote for Henryk!, 2003), the first and last films televised, do center on the present, they highlight dissonances between personal and national concerns. Still, Kleinert deconstructs the dissonances and artificial syntheses he himself invents in order to reveal them as constructs to be reconfigured by viewers. By showing the inability of politicians to bridge the gap between personal and national concerns due to the erosion of their private identities, Dresen also appeals to viewers to initiate needed societal changes themselves.

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Black and White on the Silver Screen

Views of Interracial Romance in French Films and Reviews since the 1980s

Jon Cowans

This article explores French attitudes about race during and after the years of the National Front's breakthrough by looking at French films and film reviews on the topic of interracial couples. In a country in which antiracists have been reluctant to legitimize the concept of race by talking about it, but in which the far Right has made gains by proclaiming its own views on race, French film-makers in the 1980s and after broached the topic in numerous films, but they often did so in ways that avoided controversy or serious reflection on current French racism. French critics of both French and American films featuring interracial couples also sidestepped the most explosive issues, revealing a disinclination to discuss a troubling and divisive concept, but also a persistent belief that racism remained an American problem and obsession.

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A War of Words over an Image of War

The Fox Movietone Scandal and the Portrayal of French Violence in Algeria, 1955-1956

Emma Kuby

During the Algerian War, films and published photographs documenting brutalities committed by French forces were exceedingly rare, due to censorship and strict controls on journalistic access to the military. However, a dramatic exception to this state of affairs came at an early moment in the war, after a Fox Movietone cameraman captured footage of a French gendarme as he summarily executed an Algerian with a bullet in the back. When the journal L'Express printed frames from the film in December 1955, a scandal ensued that implicated the sitting government in Paris and stoked French anti-Americanism. This article explores the reasons for the scandal, its anatomy, and its longer-term implications for French representations of the violence of the Algerian conflict. It argues that widespread French assumptions about the appropriateness of France's role in Algeria ultimately served to neutralize the story told by the images, even as they were recognized as incontrovertible evidence of atrocity.

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Postwar Facial Reconstruction

Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face

Stefanos Geroulanos

This essay proposes a reading of Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face that focuses on the cultural and philosophical contexts of the face, its destruction, and imagined reconstruction in postwar France. The film foregrounds the protagonist's lack of a face and the effort to restore it into a cinematic argument heralding the ruin of natural beauty and genuine face-to-face relations, an approach that in turn theorizes the postwar world as premised on ethical and aesthetic opacity. By considering contemporary treatments of the face, as well as the representations of injury and violence, the essay argues that at stake in the political and aesthetic judgments proposed by the failed face transplants in the film was a concern with the technological reconstruction of a natural and pure state, a reconstruction that was now seen as impossible and could have devastating consequences at the ethical and aesthetic levels.

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Rosemary Wakeman

This article examines independent cinematic images of the Paris banlieue from the late 1990s to the present. Independent commercial and television films, documentaries, and amateur movies provide evidence of the changing representation of the Paris suburbs, and the shift from a spectacularized landscape of brutality to a more nuanced rendering of suburban life. It treats independent cinematic readings of the banlieue as related to the romanticized and touristic portrayal of central Paris.

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Urban Railways in Buenos Aires

Spatial and Social Alienation in the Documentary Film El tren blanco

Benjamin Fraser

Mixing transportation studies, film analysis, and urban geography, this article looks at El tren blanco (The white train), a documentary film from 2003 by directors Nahuel García, Sheila Pérez Giménez, and Ramiro García. In light of work by train theorist Wolfgang Schivelbusch and urban geographer Henri Lefebvre, the documentary's interviews with cartoneros—cardboard workers who ride daily into central Buenos Aires to pick up recyclable goods—speak to the alienation and spatialization of class that characterize the contemporary urban experience. Following an urban cultural studies approach, attention is balanced between the social context of Buenos Aires itself and the film as an item of aesthetic value. In the end, it is important to pay attention both to the train car as a space in itself and to the historical and contemporary positioning of the train in larger-scale urban shifts.

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Will Gartside

Torture porn's crowning achievements, as identified by Gregory A. Burris (2010), are the Saw and Hostel series. He argues that the Saw series represents a puritanical mind-set running amok, while the Hostel movies reflect a culture struggling to come to terms with the horrors of Abu Ghraib. This article challenges this position. It identifies thematic patterns within the Saw and Hostel films to demonstrate how the images of violence on display throughout both series tend to reinforce, rather than subvert, the popularly held belief that the Abu Ghraib scandal represented mere abuse, as opposed to torture. The article shows how these films trivialize and rationalize torture and the roles that sex and gender play in this process.