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Framing the World

Explorations in Ecocriticism and Film

Paula Willoquet-Maricondi

Publication Year: 2010

This collection of interdisciplinary essays on green cinema expands the parameters of ecocriticism, an unusually circumscribed field. The contributors look at both narrative and documentary film--and both popular and relatively obscure works--on topics such as global warming, biopiracy, and the impoverishment and or displacement of native peoples.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

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pp. xi-xv

Over the last twenty years, the growing number of films and film festivals devoted to environmental concerns points to environmentally engaged cinema as a powerful tool for knowledge dissemination, consciousness-raising, public debate, and, many hope, political action. ...


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pp. xvii

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Introduction: From Literary to Cinematic Ecocriticism

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pp. 1-22

Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticism and Film owes its greatest debt and inspiration to the field of literary ecological criticism, or ecocriticism; to the seminal texts that helped shape this field since the mid-1990s; to the journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in...


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The Rhetoric of Ascent in An Inconvenient Truth and Everything’s Cool

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pp. 25-42

Given that the explicit purpose of both An Inconvenient Truth and Everything’s Cool is to convince viewers to help fight global warming, the title of my essay might equally well be ‘‘the rhetoric of assent.’’ Both documentaries call for an end to nearly two decades of dilatory, unproductive debates about whether the planet’s climate really...

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Shifting Paradigms: From Environmentalist Films to Ecocinema

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pp. 43-61

The proliferation of international and domestic film festivals dedicated to environmentally oriented films attests to the crucial function of the emerging genre of ecocinema to ‘‘challenge and broaden audiences’ perception and understanding of the complex world that surrounds us.’’1 ...

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Ecocinema, Ecojustice, and Indigenous Worldviews: Native and First Nations Media as Cultural Recovery

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pp. 62-80

Human beings are storytellers. Whether oral, written, or visual, narratives assist us in navigating our place in the world, guiding us on how to act and how to evaluate what goes on in the world (Hall 75). The stories of different people, therefore, are reflections of their worldview, that is, the complex web of interrelated beliefs, values, and practices. ...


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Testimonial Structures in Environmental Justice Films

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pp. 83-100

One of the most chilling scenes of Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich (2000) involves a young mother who learns that her legal dispute with a corporate energy utility has inadvertently brought to light a correlation between her family’s illnesses and environmental contamination. ...

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Disposable Bodies: Biocolonialism in The Constant Gardener and Dirty Pretty Things

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pp. 101-115

The grassroots environmental justice (EJ) movement that arose in the 1980s addressed the disproportionate environmental hazards and deprivations suffered by poor and people of color communities in the United States and around the world. While mainstream environmental groups had defined the environment as a pristine wilder-...

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Engaging the Land/Positioning the Spectator: Environmental Justice Documentaries and Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer and A River Runs Through It

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pp. 116-132

This essay brings together feminist theory, environmental justice scholarship, and feminist cultural geography to analyze the implications of particular portrayals of our relationship to the land. Specifically, I juxtapose two Hollywood films touted as revering the western landscape with two environmental justice documentaries that...


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The Landscape’s Lie: Class, Economy, and Ecology in Hotel Rwanda

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pp. 135-153

In 1988 Western cinema audiences were treated to a small spectacle of primatologist Dian Fossey (played by Sigourney Weaver) hectoring a Rwandan government official in Gorillas in the Mist. After being told that protecting the gorilla sanctuaries and other park lands is expensive, she retorts, ‘‘That’s your problem: make new laws,...

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Fast, Furious, and Out of Control: The Erasure of Natural Landscapes in Car Culture Films

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pp. 154-169

Rob Cohen’s The Fast and the Furious (2001), John Singleton’s 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Justin Lin’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) and Fast and Furious (2009), like the 1955 John Ireland and Edward Sampson film, The Fast and the Furious, which inspired them, illustrate the devotion to souped-up high-speed cars and the stylish culture they represent. ...

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The Screaming Silence: Constructions of Nature in Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man

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pp. 170-186

In New German Cinema, Thomas Elsaesser tells us that German filmmaker Werner Herzog comes to America to explore the possibility of creating a new ‘‘cinema of experience.’’ Herzog seeks to generate in the New World, with film, an experience of ‘‘pure being and pure seeing’’ (5). ...

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Bambi and Finding Nemo: A Sense of Wonder in the Wonderful World of Disney?

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pp. 187-205

Writing in the 1950s, Rachel Carson noted that ‘‘if a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder . . . he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in’’ (45). ...


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The Rules of the World: Japanese Ecocinema and Kiyoshi Kurosawa

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pp. 209-224

Crucial to Japanese cinema’s global identity is how it represents the Japanese environment, the physical entity of Japan itself. To take a representative recent example, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Charisma (1999) provides a poignant set of ecological anxieties. ...

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Beyond the Frame: The Spirit of Place in Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract

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pp. 225-244

Peter Greenaway’s films are informed by an impulse to investigate the politics of linguistic and visual representation. A painter by training, a writer and self-taught filmmaker, the British director has devoted particular attention to exploring the power of words and images to reflect and shape our perceptions of reality. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 245-246

Index [Includes list of other works in series]

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pp. 247-256

E-ISBN-13: 9780813930664
E-ISBN-10: 0813930669
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813930053
Print-ISBN-10: 0813930057

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2010