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Armed Forces Cover

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Armed Forces

Masculinity and Sexuality in the American War Film

Robert Eberwein

In war films, the portrayal of deep friendships between men is commonplace. Given the sexually anxious nature of the American imagination, such bonds are often interpreted as carrying a homoerotic subtext. In Armed Forces , Robert Eberwein argues that an expanded conception of masculinity and sexuality is necessary in order to understand more fully the intricacy of these intense and emotional human relationships. Drawing on a range of examples from silent films such as What Price Glory and Wings to sound era works like The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Three Kings, and Pearl Harbor , he shows how close readings of war films, particularly in relation to their cultural contexts, demonstrate that depictions of heterosexual love, including those in romantic triangles, actually help to define and clarify the nonsexual nature of male love. The book also explores the problematic aspects of masculinity and sexuality when threatened by wounds, as in The Best Years of Our Lives, and considers the complex and persistent analogy between weapons and the male body, as in Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan .

Army Film and the Avant Garde Cover

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Army Film and the Avant Garde

Cinema and Experiment in the Czechoslovak Military

Alice Lovejoy

During the 1968 Prague Spring and the Soviet-led invasion and occupation that followed, Czechoslovakia's Army Film studio was responsible for some of the most politically subversive and aesthetically innovative films of the period. Although the studio is remembered primarily as a producer of propaganda and training films, some notable New Wave directors began their careers there, making films that considerably enrich the history of that movement. Alice Lovejoy examines the institutional and governmental roots of postwar Czechoslovak cinema and provides evidence that links the Army Film studio to Czechoslovakia’s art cinema. By tracing the studio's unique institutional dimensions and production culture, Lovejoy explores the ways in which the "military avant-garde" engaged in dialogue with a range of global film practices and cultures. (The print version of the book includes a DVD featuring 16 short films produced by the Czechoslovak Ministry of Defense. The additional media files are not available on the eBook.)

The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson Cover

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The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson

Secret Agents, Private I

Meredith Tromble

Lynn Hershman Leeson's groundbreaking installation, performance, photography, video, digital, and film works have earned her an international reputation as a prodigious and innovative artist. This first historical and critical analysis of her work by prominent scholars and the artist herself brings nearly forty years of creative output into focus by tracking the development of her constant themes through each medium. The provocative essays in this volume, ranging from formal to theoretical to psychological to poetical analyses, establish her place at the forefront of contemporary art.

Hershman Leeson's work explores vision, spectatorship, and the construction of sexed subjectivity, touching on key feminist concerns relating to the lived experience of the physical body and the body as a medium on which social law and values are inscribed. Her projects of self-analysis and self mythification explode stable notions of identity. The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson demonstrates how Hershman Leeson's work uniquely mirrors fragmented human subjectivity at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Especially useful are the artist's updated chronology and a DVD with excerpts from several of her works.

Copub: Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington

Art in Cinema: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society Cover

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Art in Cinema: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society

From 1946 until 1954, the San Francisco-based film society Art in Cinema presented programs of independent film to audiences at the San Francisco Museum of Art and the University of California, Berkeley. Led by filmmaker Frank Stauffacher, Art in Cinema's programs pioneered the promotion of avant-garde cinema in America.

Scott MacDonald's Art in Cinema presents complete programs presented by the legendary society; dozens of previously unavailable letters between Stauffacher, his collaborators, and filmmakers including Maya Deren, Hans Richter, Vincent Minelli, and Man Ray; a reprint of the society's original catalog, which features essays by Henry Miller and others; and a wide range of other remarkable historical documents.

A companion to Cinema 16 (Temple), a documentary history of the first west coast film society, Art in Cinema provides cineastes, students, teachers, and scholars with extensive and fascinating documentation of one of the most important film societies in American history. Together or separately, the books provide an indispensable reference source for the beginning of this country's love affair with independent film.

Art in the Cinematic Imagination Cover

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Art in the Cinematic Imagination

By Susan Felleman

Bringing an art historical perspective to the realm of American and European film, Art in the Cinematic Imagination examines the ways in which films have used works of art and artists themselves as cinematic and narrative motifs. From the use of portraits in Vertigo to the cinematic depiction of women artists in Artemisia and Camille Claudel, Susan Felleman incorporates feminist and psychoanalytic criticism to reveal individual and collective perspectives on sex, gender, identity, commerce, and class. Probing more than twenty films from the postwar era through contemporary times, Art in the Cinematic Imagination considers a range of structurally significant art objects, artist characters, and art-world settings to explore how the medium of film can amplify, reinvent, or recontextualize the other visual arts. Fluently speaking across disciplines, Felleman's study brings a broad array of methodologies to bear on questions such as the evolution of the “Hollywood Love Goddess” and the pairing of the feminine with death on screen. A persuasive approach to an engaging body of films, Art in the Cinematic Imagination illuminates a compelling and significant facet of the cinematic experience.

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Arthur Penn

New Edition

Robin Wood with Richard Lippe Edited by Barry Keith Grant

Arthur Penn—director of The Miracle Worker, Bonnie and Clyde, Alice’s Restaurant, and Little Big Man—was at the height of his career when Robin Wood’s analysis of the American director was originally published in 1969. Although Wood then considered Penn’s career only through Little Big Man, Arthur Penn remains the most insightful discussion of the director yet published. In this new edition, editor Barry Keith Grant presents the full text of the original monograph along with additional material, showcasing Wood’s groundbreaking and engaging analysis of the director. Of all the directors that Wood profiled, Penn is the only one with whom he developed a personal relationship. In fact, Penn welcomed Wood on the set of Little Big Man (1969), where he interviewed the director during production of the film and again years later when Penn visited Wood at home. Both interviews are included in this expanded edition of Arthur Penn, as are five other pieces written over a period of sixteen years, including the extended discussion of The Chase that was the second chapter of Wood’s later important book Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan. The volume also includes a complete filmography and a foreword by Barry Keith Grant. The fourth classic monograph by Wood to be republished by Wayne State University Press, this volume will be welcomed by film scholars and readers interested in American cinematic and cultural history.

At Full Speed Cover

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At Full Speed

Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World

Esther Yau

Breathtaking swordplay and nostalgic love, Peking opera and Chow Yun-Fat’s cult followers-these are some of the elements of the vivid and diverse urban imagination that find form and expression in the thriving Hong Kong cinema. All receive their due in At Full Speed, a volume that captures the remarkable range and energy of a cinema that borrows, invents, and reinvents across the boundaries of time, culture, and conventions.

At Full Speed gathers film scholars and critics from around the globe to convey the transnational, multilayered character that Hong Kong films acquire and impart as they circulate worldwide. These writers scrutinize the films they find captivating: from the lesser known works of Law Man and Yuen Wo-ping to such film festival notables as Stanley Kwan and Wong Kar-wai, and from the commercial action, romance, and comedy genres of Jackie Chan, Peter Chan, Stephen Chiau, Tsui Hark, John Woo, and Derek Yee to the attempted departures of Evans Chan, Ann Hui, and Clara Law.

In this cinema the contributors identify an aesthetics of action, gender-flexible melodramatic excesses, objects of nostalgia, and globally projected local history and identities, as well as an active critical film community. Their work, the most incisive account ever given of one of the world’s largest film industries, brings the pleasures and idiosyncrasies of Hong Kong cinema into clear close-up focus even as it enlarges on the relationships between art and the market, cultural theory and the movies.

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Atomic Light (Shadow Optics)

Akira Mizuta Lippit

Dreams, x-rays, atomic radiation, and “invisible men” are phenomena that are visual in nature but unseen. Atomic Light (Shadow Optics) reveals these hidden interiors of cultural life, the “avisual” as it has emerged in the writings of Jorge Luis Borges and Jacques Derrida, Tanizaki Jun’ichirô and Sigmund Freud, and H. G. Wells and Ralph Ellison, and in the early cinema and the postwar Japanese films of Kobayashi Masaki, Teshigahara Hiroshi, Kore-eda Hirokazu, and Kurosawa Kiyoshi, all under the shadow cast by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Akira Mizuta Lippit focuses on historical moments in which such modes of avisuality came into being—the arrival of cinema, which brought imagination to life; psychoanalysis, which exposed the psyche; the discovery of x-rays, which disclosed the inside of the body; and the “catastrophic light” of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which instituted an era of atomic discourses. 

With a taut, poetic style, Lippit produces speculative readings of secret and shadow archives and visual structures or phenomenologies of the inside, charting the materiality of what both can and cannot be seen in the radioactive light of the twentieth century. 

Akira Mizuta Lippit is professor of cinema, comparative literature, and Japanese culture at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife (Minnesota, 2000).

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The Attractive Empire

Transnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan

Michael Baskett

Japanese film crews were shooting feature-length movies in China nearly three decades before Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950) reputedly put Japan on the international film map. Although few would readily associate Japan’s film industry with either imperialism or the domination of world markets, the country’s film culture developed in lock step with its empire, which, at its peak in 1943, included territories from the Aleutians to Australia and from Midway Island to India. With each military victory, Japanese film culture’s sphere of influence expanded deeper into Asia, first clashing with and ultimately replacing Hollywood as the main source of news, education, and entertainment for millions. The Attractive Empire is the first comprehensive examination of the attitudes, ideals, and myths of Japanese imperialism as represented in its film culture. In this stimulating new study, Michael Baskett traces the development of Japanese film culture from its unapologetically colonial roots in Taiwan and Korea to less obvious manifestations of empire such as the semicolonial markets of Manchuria and Shanghai and occupied territories in Southeast Asia. Drawing on a wide range of previously untapped primary sources from public and private archives across Asia, Europe, and the United States, Baskett provides close readings of individual films and trenchant analyses of Japanese assumptions about Asian ethnic and cultural differences. Finally, he highlights the place of empire in the struggle at legislative, distribution, and exhibition levels to wrest the "hearts and minds" of Asian film audiences from Hollywood in the 1930s as well as in Japan’s attempts to maintain that hegemony during its alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

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Authentic™

The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture

Sarah Banet-Weiser

Brands are everywhere. Branding is central to political campaigns and political protest movements; the alchemy of social media and self-branding creates overnight celebrities; the self-proclaimed “greening” of institutions and merchant goods is nearly universal. But while the practice of branding is typically understood as a tool of marketing, a method of attaching social meaning to a commodity as a way to make it more personally resonant with consumers, Sarah Banet-Weiser argues that in the contemporary era, brands are about culture as much as they are about economics. That, in fact, we live in a brand culture.
 
Authentic™ maintains that branding has extended beyond a business model to become both reliant on, and reflective of, our most basic social and cultural relations. Further, these types of brand relationships have become cultural contexts for everyday living, individual identity, and personal relationships—what Banet-Weiser refers to as “brand cultures.” Distinct brand cultures, that at times overlap and compete with each other, are taken up in each chapter: the normalization of a feminized “self-brand” in social media, the brand culture of street art in urban spaces, religious brand cultures such as “New Age Spirituality” and “Prosperity Christianity,”and the culture of green branding and “shopping for change.”
 
In a culture where graffiti artists loan their visions to both subway walls and department stores, buying a cup of “fair-trade” coffee is a political statement, and religion is mass-marketed on t-shirts, Banet-Weiser questions the distinction between what we understand as the “authentic” and branding practices. But brand cultures are also contradictory and potentially rife with unexpected possibilities, leading Authentic™ to articulate a politics of ambivalence, creating a lens through which we can see potential political possibilities within the new consumerism.

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