The 2013 Film & History Conference will take place in Madison, WI (USA), November 20-24, at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club. This stunning hotel, just one block from the Capitol , will be the venue for papers and presentations on the topic of "Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen." Take a look at our list of areas on the F&H website (filmandhistory.org). "Money" is a complex figure, sometimes insidious, sometimes inspiring, and always instrumental in filmmaking. No other artistic medium uses, displays, produces, and interprets money as systematically as film does.
Our keynote speaker will be the world-renowned historian and theorist David Bordwell, co-author (with Kristin Thompson) of Film History: An Inroduction (3rd edition) and Film Art: An Introduction (9th edition) and author of Poetics of Cinema, Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema, and The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies.
Of course, David has authored, co-authored, and edited numerous other books and essays, but we would need a special issue to document his full bibliography. More to the point, David is so deeply immersed in—so thoroughly a master of—the history, the aesthetics, and the economies of film that (were his subject matter poetry) he would resemble the paragon of historical creativity famously described by T. S. Eliot in "Tradition and the Individual Talent." David Bordwell is that good. Plan for the 2013 conference, and find out in person.
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We are pleased at Film & History to present a signature essay that Laura Mulvey has updated and adapted from her original keynote address to the nearly 500 attendees at the 2010 Film & History Conference ("The Representations of Love in Film and Television," November 10-14, Milwaukee, WI). To preserve the atmosphere of the event, Laura has kept the text in its presentational format, and I have included, with minor revisions, my original (and campy) introduction of her at the keynote banquet.
I hope you enjoy this extraordinary paper from one of our most distinguished colleagues.
Imagine this conversation between two very serious students in an alternative universe:
I need a big-time essay to help me talk about the avant-garde movement in film.
Oh, you've gotta read Laura Mulvey's essay. It explains how the improvements in technology, along with Kristeva's development of the psychoanalytic approach, opened up filmmaking to political activists working outside the "commercial" industry. But it's also good at placing the avant-garde movement in historical context because it explains how film practice needs to be more than just "counter-cinema."
Yeah, well, who hasn't read that essay? That's in the bag, buddy. All right, I also need a really strong essay to help me talk about the end of the avant-garde—you know, something that puts the historical movement in a larger theoretical perspective.
Got it. Yeah, read Mulvey's essay on narrative closure. It'll blow you away. You learn how the binary patterns of historical thinking artificially close the narratives of dissenting discourses or subcultures or genders. It's a big, fast, dense essay, but it'll put a lot of theoretical discussions into perspective.
Yes, yes, again, I've got the obvious readings down, bright boy. Let me clarify. I'm trying to write a history of counter-cinema in general, so I need to be sure I'm covering all the major bases.
Sure, sure. OK, I have just the thing: Mulvey's essay on the proto-feminist movement just before the classical Hollywood style took over in the Thirties. Sweet! You get a brilliant analysis of the flapper heyday in American culture and film. [End Page 5]
Why am I talking to you? Yes: I have read that essay! Why do you keep talking about Mulvey? We've all read these key essays. Everyone knows the game-changers. I need something off the beaten path—something new.
Hmm. Well, I know she...