Editor’s Picks

Fall 2021

Jørgen Bruhn & Anne Gjelsvik,  David Simon’s novel cop show

Excerpt: The question, however, is which theoretical or historical tools are most pertinent for understanding The Wire and how does it differ from traditional cop shows? From a media-sociological perspective, the series could be analysed as an expression of HBO’s economic interests as a cable network corporation. From the point of view of television culture and history, the series is, as described above, both a continuation and a break with central aspects of what is normally considered typical of TV as a medium.

Jennifer Hyland Wang, Complicating the recent past: activism in the collection and the writing of early media history

Excerpt: Despite our best efforts to address the inevitable erasures and gaps when we write historical narratives, we, as academics, are only human. If the well-used National Broadcasting Company (NBC) papers at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin are any evidence, we write about what has been saved. So, in this new era of soundwork, the question remains, how do we, as media scholars and archivists, add to history by collecting, what Lisa Gitelman has called, ‘the data of culture’ (2006, 12)?

Nigel Morris, ‘Do you like taster menus?’ Beyond hybridity: The Trip & The Trip to Italy

Excerpt: Not least The Trip‘s observational mockumentary aspects stress performance, through impressions – impersonations – that persist to near tedium. If these actors can transform themselves so readily, how can viewers tell whether they ever stop acting? The appeal partly echoes ‘first wave … celebrity portrait films … [that] purported to move past a constructed public personality and reveal a more authentic, private self’ (Middleton 2014, 55). The Trip, however, exceeds Direct Cinema and vérité portraits, such as Primary (Drew 1960), Jane (Pennebaker 1962), Meet Marlon Brando (Maysles 1966), Don’t Look Back (Pennebaker 1967), or Mingus (Reichman 1968), all of which, Paul Arthur states, ‘purport to offer intimate views of personal identity that exceed in truth value those of competing agencies of reportage such as still photos and newspaper and magazine profiles’ (2003, 102).

Nick Davis, A history of sexual violence: on rape and assault as Cronenberg tropes

Excerpt: The recurring vestibularity of sexual violence in Cronenberg’s movies is precisely what interests me, the way its direct or refracted image inaugurates crucial chains of meaning even as his films ostensibly move on to different questions. This pattern teaches us important lessons both about Cronenberg and about sexual violence in its legal, corporal, and cinematic contours.

Summer 2021

Summer 2021

Polona Petek, “Highways, byways and dead ends: towards a non-Eurocentric cosmopolitanism through yugonostalgia and Slovenian cinema

Grandma Goes South (Anžlovar 1991, Slovenia)

Excerpt: “Indeed, yugonostalgia disregards the boundaries of the European Union; yet, it does not seek an ‘exit from Europe’ and a ‘return to the Balkans’. Rather, it functions as a powerful counterpublic resource for Slovenian people within the European Union. As such, Balkan culture constitutes an important, creative and popular critique of contemporary Eurocentrism and one of the most original, critical and transformative interventions into the current processes of European identity formation. It flourishes within the European Union, but, as such interventions should be, it is fuelled by the cultures excluded from Fortress Europe.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Saige Walton, “Cruising the unknown: film as rhythm and embodied apprehension in L’Inconnu du lac/Stranger by the Lake”

Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013)

Excerpt: “A non-verbal focus on the body is also consistent with what I have detailed as the film’s choreographic sensibility, achieved through the re-working of nature, the blocking out of movement in relation to different spaces and a spatialisation of different affective energies (parking, swimming, sunning, cruising, sex, murder and death). In the second register, Guiraudie attends to the expressivity of the lake’s environment. He does this through his repetition of views of nature, seen entirely independent of the human. Lastly, he brings the human and the environmental together by foregrounding the sensuality of bodies’ being-in-the-world.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Eva Novrup Redvall, “Midsomer Murders in Copenhagen: the transnational production of Nordic Noir-influenced UK television drama

Midsomer Murders (ITV 1997-)

Excerpt: “Episode 100 was Midsomer Murders’ first ever foreign shoot and was part-funded by DR with additional funding from The Copenhagen Film Fund. According to executive producer Jo Wright from Bentley Productions, ‘The Killings of Copenhagen’ started with the intention of doing something slightly different for episode 100. At the MIPCOM TV market, a Dutch buyer suggested to shoot an episode in the Netherlands. This established the idea of possibly taking the show to another country, but the question was where to shoot. According to Wright, several countries were considered, but when a news article made her aware of the scale of Midsomer Murders’ following in Denmark this seemed like a good place to go. Moreover, Wright found Denmark to be a smart choice because of popular shows such as The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen, which she liked. She thus thought that it would be ‘great’ to combine something like Midsomer Murders with ‘those cool Danish noir shows’ (Wright 2014).” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Mark Minett, “Beyond the badass: Electronic Dance Music meets film music practice”

Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2014)

Excerpt: “If Revell’s work on Tomb Raider can be seen as typical of the bombastic Hollywood blockbuster approach to EDM, then Clint Mansell might be seen as Revell’s opposite number. Mansell, who began his musical career with the indie rock group Pop Will Eat Itself, a band known for employing vocal samples from Hollywood films in their songs, has also found steady employment in film music, although his scoring has tended to be for mid- to low-budget, frequently independent, films. Since his debut on π, Mansell has scored close to 30 feature films. Mansell’s work on π demonstrates a much sparer, more stripped-down approach to EDM scoring than Revell’s, while at the same time arguably serving a more prominent role in the film’s design.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Spring 2021

Yannis Tzioumakis, “Major Status, Independent Spirit: The History of Orion Pictures (1978–1992)

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Arthur, 1981

Excerpt: “Between 1978 and 1982 Orion Pictures produced 23 films for Warner. From the first in-house production of A Little Romance to the extremely successful Arthur (1981), Orion delivered only two hits, 10 (1981) and Arthur (both vehicles for Dudley Moore with rentals of $37 and $42 million, respectively), whereas it recorded six moderate hits (including John Boorman’s Excalibur) and saw 15 films lose money at the American box office (Hanson 1985, p. 25). With the above results hardly demonstrating a high-fly start for Orion or substantial profit for Warner, both partners in the venture felt that the arrangement was not working out. In fact, shortly after Orion had passed on Raiders of the Lost Ark, Krim sent a memo to his partners explaining that the risks in the filmmaking business had become considerably more substantial for companies that were not in the distribution business, so much so that only if a film company possessed an extensive library of titles, could it then aspire to remain competitive in the long run.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Stuart Richards, “Reawakening in Yoorana: Glitch and the Australian Gothic film

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Excerpt:Glitch differs from Les Revenants by linking these characters’ secrets and regrets directly to Australia’s history. The narratives of the returned characters in Les Revenants relate to individual traumas and not key historical events in France. In Glitch, Australia’s history plays a significant role in the secrets that are uncovered. This is similar to how the Southern Gothic employs narrative devices to examine social issues embedded in the cultural identity of the American South. Each returned character in Glitch has significant ties to the town and, more importantly, Australia’s history.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Anikó Imre, “Eastern Westerns: enlightened edutainment and national transvestism

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Excerpt: “At the same time, the Western has also become available for a more radical subcultural deconstruction of the racist and heterosexist infrastructure of nationalism than what the all-male art world of the socialist period could conceive of. One of the most incisive examples of such an appropriation is the short film Puszta Cowboy (2004), made by the Budapest-based Lesbian Filmmaking Collective, an international group of semi-professional lesbian filmmakers. On the DVD cover, the Collective describes this parodic film as ‘the first Hungarian Lesbian-Transgender-Paprika Western, complete with horses, gunfight, goulash, and traditional Hungarian csárdás-dancing’.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Svea Becker & Bruce Williams, “What ever happened to West Side Story? Gene Kelly, jazz dance, and not so real men in Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort

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Excerpt: “Despite the powerful intertext with West Side Story that emerges through the presence of George Chakiris, who was a part of both the Broadway and film casts, the participation of Grover Dale, who was not in the film, is every bit as evocative, and moreover carries greater weight in the creation of a gay celebrity intertext. At the time of the release of The Young Girls of Rochefort, discussions of Chakiris’ homosexuality were doubtless less common than they are today, although his gayness was most likely well recognized by sophisticated, dance‐oriented, urban audiences. Dale’s sexuality, on the other hand, was even then the stuff in which tabloids revel. Dale, who today is publicly known as a bisexual or at least as a gay man who later married, was then well recognized a friend and colleague of (bisexual) choreographer Jerome Robbins.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Winter 2021

Barbara Klinger, Pre-cult: Casablanca, radio adaptation, and transmedia in the 1940s

Excerpt: “For decades during Hollywood’s classic era, the film industry and the emergent rival medium of radio used licensing arrangements for film content – a type of inter-industry cooperation that produced the textual migration and altered narrative elements characteristic of transmedia storytelling. Radio versions of films offer only one instance of intertextuality in an older context of convergence and transmedia. However, by studying them as something more than deficient copies of an original or simple transfers of content between media, they help us to explore the role new media played in circulation and hence in a text’s continued vitality. Radio gave Casablanca a second life as an audio entity prior to its cult apotheosis – a divine status to which I now briefly turn.” Read the full article here

Antonio Lázaro-Reboll, Daring cycles: the Towers–Franco collaboration, 1968–70

Excerpt: “The commercial and cultural specificities of the series and related cycles go beyond histories of British, Spanish, European, or American cinema – as mass culture products, the Fu Manchu collaborations were distributed globally and reached international audiences. When Fu Manchu addresses his band of female assassins in the opening moments of The Blood of Fu Manchu, the film self-reflexively signals the cosmopolitan reach of this particular film and the series as a whole: ‘Each of you has a destination: Rome, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, to the ends of the Earth.’ The alliance of Towers and Franco opens up complex questions about the history and the geography of low-genre productions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The film and cultural historian is confronted with the often confused history of their output – as individual films, series, and cycles overlap, and as patterns of distribution respond to the particular indigenous requirements of national film industries.” Read the full article here

David Stevens, Redford and Streisand: The Shifting Star Persona in 1970s Hollywood

Excerpt: “The breakdown of the Production Code could also explain the change in taste in female stars. Though some actresses would seem to belong to a bygone studio era, figures like Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde and The Thomas Crown Affair [1968] or Katharine Ross in The Graduate and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [1969] represent a more modern woman, retaining a sense of classical beauty but exuding a more liberated sexuality and sometimes, a propensity for violence. Streisand appears to possess both the traditional appeal of a star (in her singing voice) and a modern appeal in her ordinariness, vulgarity, self-deprecation and zany humour.” Read the full article here

Emily D. Ferrigno, The Dark Side: representing science fiction in drum ‘n’ bass

Excerpt: “[T]he sheer ‘new’ feeling that dark drum & bass experienced in the 90s, as ragga styles took a backseat to raw sounds and terrifying synth patches and effects, almost begged the pairing of sci-fi samples … the chilling and eerie soundscapes used in intros sound even more ominous when paired with the right vocal sample, especially from a horror or sci-fi movie. Borgs from Star Trek, stormtroopers from Star Wars, laser gun blasts, explosions … they all fit drum ’n’ bass more than any other genre.” Read the full article here