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Cinema at the Periphery

Edited by Dina Iordanova, David Martin-Jones, and Belén Vidal

Publication Year: 2010

From Iceland to Iran, from Singapore to Scotland, a growing intellectual and cultural wave of production is taking cinema beyond the borders of its place of origin—exploring faraway places, interacting with barely known peoples, and making new localities imaginable. In these films, previously entrenched spatial divisions no longer function as firmly fixed grid coordinates, the hierarchical position of place as “center” is subverted, and new forms of representation become possible. In Cinema at the Periphery, editors Dina Iordanova, David Martin-Jones, and Belén Vidal assemble criticism that explores issues of the periphery, including questions of transnationality, place, space, passage, and migration. Cinema at the Periphery examines the periphery in terms of locations, practices, methods, and themes. It includes geographic case studies of small national cinemas located at the global margins, like New Zealand and Scotland, but also of filmmaking that comes from peripheral cultures, like Palestinian “stateless” cinema, Australian Aboriginal films, and cinema from Quebec. Therefore, the volume is divided into two key areas: industries and markets on the one hand, and identities and histories on the other. Yet as a whole, the contributors illustrate that the concept of “periphery” is not fixed but is always changing according to patterns of industry, ideology, and taste. Cinema at the Periphery highlights the inextricable interrelationship that exists between production modes and circulation channels and the emerging narratives of histories and identities they enable. In the present era of globalization, this timely examination of the periphery will interest teachers and students of film and media studies.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series

Series Page

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Title Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

It all started on a beautiful sunny day in June 2006, when an international group of film studies academics gathered together in St. Andrews for what was to become an enduring discussion on matters of peripheral cinema. Later on, when we decided to pursue this intellectual project even further and publish a book, more scholars came on board. ...

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Introduction: A Peripheral View of World Cinema

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pp. 1-20

The revision and questioning of established canons has been the driving force behind some of the most innovative theory and practice in film history. Released to coincide with the celebrations of cinema’s centenary, Peter Jackson and Costa Botes’s mockumentary Forgotten Silver (New Zealand, 1995) illustrates this point with a disarming flair. ...

Part 1. Peripheral Positions: (Re-)drawing Industries and Markets

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Rise of the Fringe: Global Cinema’s Long Tail

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pp. 23-45

In 2007 and 2008 I visited a variety of countries. Quite naturally for a film buff like me, I wanted to know what was at the cinemas wherever I went. The film theaters in my native city of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, seemed to be playing mostly Hollywood films. ...

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Affinitive and Milieu-Building Transnationalism: The Advance Party Initiative

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pp. 46-66

The field of transnational cinema studies is a burgeoning one, and I would like to contribute to some of the lively ongoing debates by looking at the ways in which film professionals belonging to small, relatively privileged nations and/or states have responded to the challenges and opportunities of transnational filmmaking. ...

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Cinema in a Settler Society: Brand New Zealand

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pp. 67-83

Despite the apparently bleak outlook for a pluralistic and diverse world film culture, globalization cannot simply be reduced to a new manifestation of hegemonic domination and control. Peripheral cinemas face a constant struggle to secure a visible share of their own domestic markets. ...

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Peripheral Visions: Blak Screens and Cultural Citizenship

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pp. 84-103

The questions framed by Sally Riley1—filmmaker, dramaturge, and advocate for the development of filmmaking by Indigenous Australians—are precisely the ones I want to address. What has enabled the emergence of such vibrant filmmaking across many genres—and in particular the development of feature films ...

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Emerging from Underground and the Periphery: Chinese Independent Cinema at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 104-118

The concept of cinema at the periphery seems to designate film practices remotely located from the centers of power. For instance, we can talk about the situation of small national cinemas such as Scottish cinema and Danish cinema in such a framework. ...

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New Spaces of Empire: Quebec Cinema’s Centers and Peripheries

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pp. 119-134

In Denys Arcand’s Le Déclin de l’empire américain/The Decline of the American Empire (Canada, 1986), a group of Québécois academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country house. Amid the sexual chat and intrigue, they discuss the arguments of one of their number, Dominique Saint-Arnaud (Dominique Michel), ...

Part 2. Peripheral Visions: (Re-)conceiving Identities and Histories

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The Palestinian Road (Block) Movie: Everyday Geographies of Second Intifada Cinema

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pp. 137-155

It is a cliché to begin writing about modern Palestine by quoting Mahmoud Darwish,1 one of the country’s most renowned poets. Yet it is also a cliché for any of us to drift from literal to metaphorical allusions to the road, and a cliché like “the Palestinian on the road” perforce grabs us by way of its familiarity, ...

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Islands at the Edge of History: Landscape and the Past in Recent Scottish-Gaelic Films

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pp. 156-174

This chapter examines the Scottish-Gaelic-language films An Iobairt/The Sacrifice (Gerda Stevenson, UK, 1996), and Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (Simon Miller, UK, 2007). Produced on the periphery of Scotland, Gaelic films have been all but ignored in academic debates until now. ...

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Filming the Times of Tangier: Nostalgia, Postcolonial Agency, and Preposterous History

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pp. 175-189

Tangier, peripheral city par excellence at the border between Europe and Africa, is nowadays mostly known for its illegal immigrants who want to cross the ocean to Spain. Leila Kilani’s documentary Tanger, le rêve des brûleurs/Tangier, the Burner’s Dream (Leila Kilani, France, 2002) powerfully presents the sociopolitical dreams of people wanting to leave North Africa and “burn” their IDs. ..

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Back to the Margins in Search of the Core: Foreign Land’s Geography of Exclusion

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pp. 190-210

The crisis of the national project in the early 1990s, caused by a short-lived but disastrous government, led Brazilian art cinema, for the first time, to look at itself as periphery and reapproach the old colonial center, Portugal. Terra estrangeira/Foreign Land (Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Brazil/Portugal, 1995), ...

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Memories of Underdevelopment: Torremolinos 73, Cinephilia, and Filiation at the Margins of Europe

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pp. 211-231

Spanish cinema today can hardly be called a minor or peripheral cinema. Recognized as one of the major Western European industries with global ambitions,1 contemporary Spanish cinema has made a mark in the art house circuits with a more or less healthy production of quality, character-driven genre films with potential for multiplex crossover ...

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Experience—Information—Image: A Historiography of Unfolding in Arab Cinema

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pp. 232-254

Why do certain images of history reach us, while others remain seemingly forgotten, in the infinite breadth of the past? Why do only certain events seem to matter? I suggest those experiences are not forgotten but enfolded. Looking at the cinemas of the periphery, it is most compelling to understand the way they conceive of history in terms of enfoldment. ...

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List of Contributors

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pp. 255-258

Kay Dickinson lectures in the Media and Communications Department of Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is the author of Off Key: When Film and Music Won’t Work Together (Oxford University Press, 2008). ...


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pp. 259-268

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814336946
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814333884

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 27
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a
Series Title: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Motion pictures and transnationalism.
  • Motion pictures and globalization.
  • Culture in motion pictures.
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