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Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Celestino Deleyto and Maria del Mar Azcona

This in-depth study of Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu explores his role in moving Mexican filmmaking from a traditional nationalist agenda toward a more global focus. Working in the United States and in Mexico, Inarritu crosses national borders while his movies break the barriers of distribution, production, narration, and style. His features also experiment with transnational identity as characters emigrate and settings change. In studying the international scope of Inarritu's influential films Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, Celestino Deleyto and Maria del Mar Azcona trace common themes such as human suffering and redemption, chance, and accidental encounters. The authors also analyze the director's powerful visual style and his consistent use of multiple characters and a fragmented narrative structure. The book concludes with a new interview of Inarritu that touches on the themes and subject matter of his chief works.

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Alexander Payne

Interviews

edited by Julie Levinson

Since 1996, Alexander Payne has made six feature films and a short segment of an omnibus movie. Although his body of work is quantitatively small, it is qualitatively impressive. His movies have garnered numerous accolades and awards, including two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay. As more than one interviewer in this volume points out, he maintains an impressive and unbroken winning streak. Payne’s stories of human strivings and follies, alongside his mastery of the craft of filmmaking, mark him as a contemporary auteur of uncommon accomplishment.

In this first compilation of his interviews, Payne reveals himself as a captivating conversationalist as well. The discussions collected here range from 1996, shortly after the release of his first film, Citizen Ruth, to the debut of Nebraska at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Over his career, he muses on many subjects including his own creative processes, his commitment to telling character-centered stories, and his abiding admiration for movies and directors from across decades of film history.

Critics describe Payne as one of the few contemporary filmmakers who consistently manages to buck the current trend toward bombastic blockbusters. Like the 1970s director-driven cinema that he cherishes, his films are small-scale character studies that manage to maintain a delicate balance between sharp satire and genuine poignancy.

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Alfred Hitchcock

The Legacy of Victorianism

Paula Marantz Cohen

This provocative study traces Alfred Hitchcock's long directorial career from Victorianism to postmodernism. Paula Cohen considers a sampling of Hitchcock's best films -- Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho -- as well as some of his more uneven ones -- Rope, The Wrong Man, Topaz -- and makes connections between his evolution as a filmmaker and trends in the larger society.

Drawing on a number of methodologies including feminism, psychoanalysis, and family systems, the author provides an insightful look at the paradox of a Victorian-style gentleman who evolved into one of the leading masters of the modern medium of film. Cohen sees Hitchcock's films as developing, in part, as a masculine response to the domestic, psychological novels that had appealed primarily to women during the Victorian era. His career, she argues, can be seen as an attempt to balance "the two faces of Victorianism": the masculine legacy of law and hierarchy and the feminine legacy of feeling and imagination.

Also central to her thesis is the Victorian model of the nuclear family and its permutations, especially the father-daughter dyad. She postulates a fundamental dynamic in Hitchcock's films, what she calls a "daughter's effect," and relates it to the social role of the family as an institution and to Hitchcock's own relationship with his daughter, Patricia, who appeared in three of his films.

Cohen argues that Hitchcock's films reflect his Victorian legacy and serve as a map for ideological trends. She charts his development from his British period through his classic Hollywood years into his later phase, tracing a conceptual evolution that corresponds to an evolution in cultural identity -- one that builds on a Victorian inheritance and ultimately discards it.

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All about Almodóvar

A Passion for Cinema

Brad Epps

One of world cinema’s most exciting filmmakers, Pedro Almodóvar has been delighting, provoking, arousing, shocking, and—above all—entertaining audiences around the globe since he first burst on the international film scene in the early 1980s.

All about Almodóvar
offers new perspectives on the filmmaker’s artistic vision and cinematic preoccupations, influences, and techniques. Through overviews of his oeuvre and in-depth analyses of specific films, the essays here explore a diverse range of subjects: Almodóvar’s nuanced use of television and music in his films; his reworkings of traditional film genres such as comedy, horror, and film noir; his penchant for melodrama and its relationship to melancholy, violence, and coincidence; his intricate questioning of sexual and national identities; and his increasingly sophisticated inquiries into visuality and its limits. 

Closing with Almodóvar’s own diary account of the making of Volver and featuring never-before-seen photographs from El Deseo production studio, All about Almodóvar both reflects and illuminates its subject’s dazzling eclecticism.

Contributors: Mark Allinson, U of Leicester; Pedro Almodóvar; Isolina Ballesteros, Baruch College; Leo Bersani, UC Berkeley; Marvin D’Lugo, Clark U; Ulysse Dutoit, UC Berkeley; Peter William Evans, Queen Mary U of London; Víctor Fuentes, UC Santa Barbara; Marsha Kinder, USC; Steven Marsh, U of Illinois, Chicago; Andy Medhurst, U of Sussex; Ignacio Olivia, Universidad Castilla–La Mancha, Cuenca; Paul Julian Smith, U of Cambridge; Kathleen M. Vernon, SUNY Stony Brook; Linda Williams, UC Berkeley; Francisco A. Zurián, U Carlos III, Madrid.

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All and Nothing

A Digital Apocalypse

Martin Burckhardt

In the beginning was the Zero, and the Zero was with God, and God was the One. -- All and Nothing

In 1854, the British mathematician George Boole presented the idea of a universe the elements of which could be understood in terms of the logic of absence and presence: 0 and 1, all and nothing -- the foundation of binary code. The Boolean digits 0 and 1 do not designate a quantity. In the Boolean world, x times x always equals x; all and nothing meet in the formula x = xn. As everything becomes digitized, God the clockmaker is replaced by God the programmer. This book--described by its authors as "a theology for the digital world" -- explores meaning in a digital age of infinite replication, in a world that has dissolved into information and achieved immortality by turning into a pure sign.

All and Nothing compares information that spreads without restraint to a hydra -- the mythological monster that grew two heads for every one that was cut off. Information is thousand-headed and thousand-eyed because Hydra's tracks cannot be deleted. It shows that when we sit in front of a screen, we are actually on the other side, looking at the world as an uncanny reminder of the nondigitized. It compares our personal data to our shadows and our souls, envisioning the subconscious laid out on a digital bier like a corpse.

The digital world, the authors explain, summons forth fantasies of a chiliastic or apocalyptic nature. The goal of removing the representative from mathematics has now been achieved on a greater scale than Boole could have imagined.

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All Ears

The Aesthetics of Espionage

Peter Szendy, Translated by Roland Végső

The world of international politics has been recently rocked by a seemingly endless series of scandals involving auditory surveillance: the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping is merely the most sensational example of what appears to be a universal practice today. What is the source of this generalized principle of eavesdropping? All Ears: The Aesthetics of Espionage traces the long history of moles from the Bible, through Jeremy Bentham’s “panacoustic” project, all the way to the intelligence gathering network called “Echelon.” Together with this archeology of auditory surveillance, Szendy offers an engaging account of spycraft’s representations in literature (Sophocles, Shakespeare, Joyce, Kafka, Borges), opera (Monteverdi, Mozart, Berg), and film (Lang, Hitchcock, Coppola, De Palma). Following in the footsteps of Orpheus, the book proposes a new concept of “overhearing” that connects the act of spying to an excessive intensification of listening. At the heart of listening Szendy locates the ear of the Other that manifests itself as the originary division of a “split-hearing” that turns the drive for mastery and surveillance into the death drive.

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All-Stars and Movie Stars

Sports in Film and History

edited by Ron Briley, Michael K. Schoenecke, and Deborah A. Carmichael

Sports films are popular forms of entertainment around the world, but beyond simply amusing audiences, they also reveal much about class, race, gender, sexuality, and national identity. In All-Stars and Movie Stars, Ron Briley, Michael K. Schoenecke, and Deborah A. Carmichael explore the interplay between sports films and critical aspects of our culture, examining them as both historical artifacts and building blocks of ideologies, values, and stereotypes.

The book covers not only Hollywood hits such as Field of Dreams and Miracle but also documentaries such as The Journey of the African American Athlete and international cinema, such as the German film The Miracle of Bern. The book also explores television coverage of sports, commenting on the relationship of media to golf and offering a new perspective on the culture and politics behind the depictions of the world's most popular pastimes.

The first part of the book addresses how sports films represent the cultural events, patterns, and movements of the times in which they were set, as well as the effect of the media and athletic industry on the athletes themselves. Latham Hunter examines how the baseball classic The Natural reflects traditional ideas about gender, heroism, and nation, and Harper Cossar addresses how the production methods used in televised golf affect viewers. The second section deals with issues such as the growth of women's involvement in athletics, sexual preference in the sports world, and the ever-present question of race by looking at sports classics such as Rocky, Hoosiers, and A League of Their Own.

Finally, the authors address the historical and present-day role sports play in the international and political arena by examining such films as Visions of Eight and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. This important and unique collection illuminates the prominent role that sports play in society and how that role is reflected in film. Analysis of the depiction of sports in film and television provides a deeper understanding of the appeal that sports hold for people worldwide and of the forces behind the historic and cultural traditions linked to sports.

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All the News That's Fit to Sell

How the Market Transforms Information into News

James T. Hamilton

That market forces drive the news is not news. Whether a story appears in print, on television, or on the Internet depends on who is interested, its value to advertisers, the costs of assembling the details, and competitors' products. But in All the News That's Fit to Sell, economist James Hamilton shows just how this happens. Furthermore, many complaints about journalism--media bias, soft news, and pundits as celebrities--arise from the impact of this economic logic on news judgments.

This is the first book to develop an economic theory of news, analyze evidence across a wide range of media markets on how incentives affect news content, and offer policy conclusions. Media bias, for instance, was long a staple of the news. Hamilton's analysis of newspapers from 1870 to 1900 reveals how nonpartisan reporting became the norm. A hundred years later, some partisan elements reemerged as, for example, evening news broadcasts tried to retain young female viewers with stories aimed at their (Democratic) political interests. Examination of story selection on the network evening news programs from 1969 to 1998 shows how cable competition, deregulation, and ownership changes encouraged a shift from hard news about politics toward more soft news about entertainers.

Hamilton concludes by calling for lower costs of access to government information, a greater role for nonprofits in funding journalism, the development of norms that stress hard news reporting, and the defining of digital and Internet property rights to encourage the flow of news. Ultimately, this book shows that by more fully understanding the economics behind the news, we will be better positioned to ensure that the news serves the public good.

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All Thoughts Are Equal

Laruelle and Nonhuman Philosophy

John Ó Maoilearca

All Thoughts Are Equal is both an introduction to the work of French philosopher François Laruelle and an exercise in nonhuman thinking. For Laruelle, standard forms of philosophy continue to dominate our models of what counts as exemplary thought and knowledge. By contrast, what Laruelle calls his “non-standard” approach attempts to bring democracy into thought, because all forms of thinking—including the nonhuman—are equal.

John Ó Maoilearca examines how philosophy might appear when viewed with non-philosophical and nonhuman eyes. He does so by refusing to explain Laruelle through orthodox philosophy, opting instead to follow the structure of a film (Lars von Trier’s documentary The Five Obstructions) as an example of the non-standard method. Von Trier’s film is a meditation on the creative limits set by film, both technologically and aesthetically, and how these limits can push our experience of film—and of ourselves—beyond what is normally deemed “the perfect human.”

All Thoughts Are Equal adopts film’s constraints in its own experiment by showing how Laruelle’s radically new style of philosophy is best presented through our most nonhuman form of thought—that found in cinema.


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