Access your Project MUSE content using one of the login options below Close(X)
Browse Results For:
These interviews cover the career to date of Neil Jordan (b. 1950), easily the most renowned filmmaker working in contemporary Irish cinema. Jordan began as a fiction writer, winning the distinguished Guardian Fiction Prize for his very first book of short stories, Night in Tunisia, in 1976. His film debut was made during the peak of the Troubles in Ireland, and he addresses the sectarian violence head-on in his first outing, Angel (1982). This film also marked Jordan's long-time association with the actor Stephen Rea who has appeared in nine of the director's films and is often seen as Jordan's doppelgänger. Angel was awarded the London Evening Standard Most Promising Newcomer Award, the first of many accolades. These include the London Critics Circle Award for Best Film and Best Director for The Company of Wolves (1984), Best Film at the BAFTAs, as well as an Academy Award for Best Screenwriter for The Crying Game (1992), Best Film at the Venice Film Festival for Michael Collins (1996), Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival for The Butcher Boy (1997), and a BAFTA for Best Screenplay for The End of the Affair (1999).The director continued to publish works of fiction as well as writing the scripts for most of his feature films, and in 2011 he produced a highly regarded novel, Mistaken, set in Jordan's home turf of Dublin and featuring characters who are duplicates of one another as well as mysterious arrivals and departures at the home of the Irish author of Dracula, Bram Stoker. The filmmaker has most recently produced, written, and directed the television series The Borgias (starring Jeremy Irons) and completed his fourteenth feature film, Byzantium, the story of a mother and daughter vampire duo, recalling his earlier work on the Anne Rice novel Interview with the Vampire (1994).
Austrian director Michael Haneke is recognized for films that explore the most pressing social questions of our time while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of style with innovative visual and sonic practices. On Michael Haneke is one of the very first and most extensive considerations of Haneke’s work. Editors Brian Price and John David Rhodes have gathered contributors whose own work combines critical inquiry and close formal analysis to explore the philosophical, historical, and stylistic complexity of Haneke’s films. This volume is divided into three parts, beginning with “Violence and Play,” in which contributors explore the relation in Haneke’s films between violence and playfulness that complicates questions of media, representation, and morality. Essays in part 2, “Style and Medium,” investigate Haneke’s stylistic innovation and the ways in which he can be seen as indebted to previous traditions and filmmakers, including the Italian neorealists, Alfred Hitchcock, Antonioni, and Robert Bresson. Part 3 addresses questions of “Culture and Conflict” by looking at the cultural and historical problems suggested by Haneke’s films and exploring the relation between culture and film style. On Michael Haneke is both an introduction to the work of a major figure in world cinema and a model for modern media criticism. Scholars of film and television studies, cinephiles, and anyone interested in contemporary film culture will enjoy On Michael Haneke.
Her image is iconic: Oprah Winfrey has built an empire on her ability to connect with and inspire her audience. No longer just a name, “Oprah” has become a brand representing the talk show host’s unique style of self-actualizing individualism. The cultural and economic power wielded by Winfrey merits critical evaluation. The contributors to The Oprah Phenomenon examine the origins of her public image and its substantial influence on politics, entertainment, and popular opinion. Contributors address praise from her many supporters and weigh criticisms from her detractors. Winfrey’s ability to create a feeling of intimacy with her audience has long been cited as one of the foundations of her popularity. She has repeatedly made national headlines by engaging and informing her audience with respect to her personal relationships to race, gender, feminism, and New Age culture. The Oprah Phenomenon explores these relationships in detail. At the root of Winfrey’s message to her vast audience is her assertion that anyone can be a success regardless of background or upbringing. The contributors scrutinize this message: What does this success entail? Is the motivation behind self-actualization, in fact, merely the hope of replicating Winfrey’s purchasing power? Is it just a prescription to buy the products she recommends and heed the advice of people she admires, or is it a lifestyle change of meaningful spiritual benefit? The Oprah Phenomenon asks these and many other difficult questions to promote a greater understanding of Winfrey’s influence on the American consciousness. Elwood Watson, associate professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the editor of several books, including “There She Is, Miss America”: The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America’s Most Famous Pageant and Searching The Soul of Ally McBeal: Critical Essays.
Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution
Max Fleischer (1883–1972) was for years considered Walt Disney’s only real rival in the world of cartoon animation. The man behind the creation of such legendary characters as Betty Boop and the animation of Popeye the Sailor and Superman, Fleischer asserted himself as a major player in the development of Hollywood entertainment. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution is a vivid portrait of the life and world of a man who shaped the look of cartoon animation. Also interested in technical innovation, Fleischer invented the rotoscope—a device that helped track live action and allowed his cartoons to revolutionize the way animated characters appeared and moved on-screen. In the 1920s, Fleischer created a series of “Out of the Inkwell” films, which led to a deal with Paramount. Their character KoKo the Clown introduced new animation effects by growing out of Fleischer’s pen on-screen. As the sound revolution hit film, the studio produced shorts featuring the characters interacting with songs and with the now-famous bouncing ball that dances across lyrics projected on the screen. Max Fleischer’s story is also one of a creative genius struggling to fit in with the changing culture of golden age cinema. Out of the Inkwell captures the twists and turns, the triumphs and disappointments, and most of all the breathless energy of a life vibrantly lived in the world of animation magic.
An Unquiet Life
The internationally acclaimed actress Patricia Neal has been a star on stage, film, and television for nearly sixty years. On Broadway she appeared in such lauded productions as Lillian Hellman’s Another Part of the Forest, for which she won the very first Tony Award, and The Miracle Worker. In Hollywood she starred opposite the likes of Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, and Tyrone Power in some thirty films. Neal anchored such classic pictures as The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Face in the Crowd, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Alma Brown in Hud, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1963. But there has been much, much more to Neal’s life. She was born Patsy Louise Neal on January 20, 1926, in Packard, Kentucky, though she spent most of her childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. Neal quickly gained attention for her acting abilities in high school, community, and college performances. Her early stage successes were overshadowed by the unexpected death of her father in 1944. Soon after she left New York for Hollywood in 1947, Neal became romantically involved with Gary Cooper, her married co-star in The Fountainhead, an attachment which brought them both a great deal of notoriety in the press and a great deal of heartache in their personal lives. In 1953, Neal married famed children’s author Roald Dahl, a match that would bring her five children and thirty years of dramatic ups and downs. In 1961, their son, Theo, was seriously injured in an automobile accident and required multiple neurosurgeries and years of rehabilitation; the following year their daughter, Olivia, died of measles. At the pinnacle of her screen career, Patricia Neal suffered a series of strokes which left her in a coma for twenty-one days. Variety even ran a headline erroneously stating that she had died. At the time, Neal was pregnant with her and Dahl’s fifth child, Lucy, who was born healthy a few months later. After a difficult recovery, Neal returned to film acting, earning a second Academy Award nomination for The Subject Was Roses. She appeared in a number of television movie roles in the 1970s and 1980s and won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Dramatic TV Movie in 1971 for her role in The Homecoming. Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life is the first critical biography detailing the actress’s impressive film career and remarkable personal life. Author Stephen Michael Shearer has conducted numerous interviews with Neal, her professional colleagues, and her intimate friends and was given access to the actress’s personal papers. The result is an honest and comprehensive portrait of an accomplished woman who has lived her life with determination and bravado.
Ang Lee (b. 1954) has emerged as one of cinema's most versatile, critically acclaimed, and popular directors. Known for his ability to transcend cultural and stylistic boundaries, Lee has built a diverse oeuvre that includes films about culture clashes and globalization (Eat Drink Man Woman, 1994, and The Wedding Banquet, 1993), a period drama (Sense and Sensibility, 1995), a martial arts epic (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000), a comic book action movie (Hulk, 2003), and an American western (Brokeback Mountain, 2005). The Philosophy of Ang Lee draws from both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions to examine the director's works. The first section focuses on Taoist, Confucian, and Buddhist themes in his Chinese-language films, and the second examines Western philosophies in his English-language films; but the volume ultimately explores how Lee negotiates all of these traditions, strategically selecting from each in order to creatively address key issues. With interest in this filmmaker and his work increasing around the release of his 3-D magical adventure The Life of Pi (2012), The Philosophy of Ang Lee serves as a timely investigation of the groundbreaking auteur and the many complex philosophical themes that he explores through the medium of motion pictures.
Initially regarded as a cult figure with a strong following amongst sci-fi and horror film fans, Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg emerged as a major and commercially viable film director with mainstream hits such as A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007). With his unique ability to present imagery that is both disturbing and provocative, Cronenberg creates striking films, noteworthy not just for their cinematic beauty but also for the philosophical questions they raise.
The Philosophy of David Cronenberg examines Cronenberg's body of work, from his breakthrough Scanners (1981) through his most recognizable films such as The Fly (1986) and more recent works. Editor Simon Riches and a collaboration of scholars introduce the filmmaker's horrific storylines and psychologically salient themes that reveal his pioneering use of the concept of "body horror," as well as his continued aim to satirize the modern misuse of science and technology. The Philosophy of David Cronenberg also explores the mutation of self, authenticity and the human mind, as well as language and worldviews. While Cronenberg's films have moved from small-market cult classics to mainstream successes, his intriguing visions of humanity and the self endure.
The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone
This biography tells the story of legendary jazz singer Nina Simone (1933-2003). Born in Tryon, NC, as Eunice Kathleen Waymon, Simone's childhood challenges as the youngest of seven children were significant, but not unique as a daughter of African American parents in the Depression-era South. Her musical gifts were extraordinary, however; largely self-trained, she went on to become one of the most prominent jazz peformers of the mid-twentieth century. Her music crossed into blues, gospel, Classical, and other genres as well. Particularly after recording Mississippi Goddamn as a response to the murder of Medgar Evers, she also became closely linked to the Civil Rights Movement, forging close relationships with other African American activists, writers, and artists of the period. But mental and physical illness took their toll, and her performances and public appearances became increasingly erratic from the late 1970s until her death. Nevertheless, she is widely regarded as one of the most distinctive voices of American music in the twentieth century, and this biography of her exists as the most comprehensive treatment of her life and music--and their significance.
Interviews, Revised and Updated
Here, in his own colorful, slangy words, is the true American Dream saga of a self-proclaimed "film geek," with five intense years working in a video store, who became one of the most popular, recognizable, and imitated of all filmmakers. His dazzling, movie-informed work makes Quentin Tarantino's reputation, from his breakout film, Reservoir Dogs (1992), through Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), his enchanted homages to Asian action cinema, to his rousing tribute to guys-on-a-mission World War II movie, Inglourious Basterds (2009). For those who prefer a more mature, contemplative cinema, Tarantino provided the tender, very touching Jackie Brown (1997). A masterpiece--Pulp Fiction (1994). A delightful mash of unabashed exploitation and felt social consciousness--his latest opus, Django Unchained (2012).
From the beginning, Tarantino (b. 1963)--affable, open, and enthusiastic about sharing his adoration of movies--has been a journalist's dream. Quentin Tarantino: Interviews, revised and updated with twelve new interviews, is a joy to read cover to cover because its subject has so much interesting and provocative to say about his own movies and about cinema in general, and also about his unusual life. He is frank and revealing about growing up in Los Angeles with a single, half-Cherokee mother, and dropping out of ninth grade to take acting classes. Lost and confused, he still managed a gutsy ambition: young Quentin decided he would be a filmmaker.
Tarantino has conceded that Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson), the homicidal African American con man in Jackie Brown, is an autobiographical portrait. "If I hadn't wanted to make movies, I would have ended up as Ordell," Tarantino has explained. "I wouldn't have been a postman or worked at the phone company. . . . I would have gone to jail."
The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director
Raoul Walsh (1887–1980) was known as one of Hollywood’s most adventurous, iconoclastic, and creative directors. He carved out an illustrious career and made films that transformed the Hollywood studio yarn into a thrilling art form. Walsh belonged to that early generation of directors—along with John Ford and Howard Hawks—who worked in the fledgling film industry of the early twentieth century, learning to make movies with shoestring budgets. Walsh’s generation invented a Hollywood that made movies seem bigger than life itself. In the first ever full-length biography of Raoul Walsh, author Marilyn Ann Moss recounts Walsh’s life and achievements in a career that spanned more than half a century and produced upwards of two hundred films, many of them cinema classics. Walsh originally entered the movie business as an actor, playing the role of John Wilkes Booth in D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915). In the same year, under Griffith’s tutelage, Walsh began to direct on his own. Soon he left Griffith’s company for Fox Pictures, where he stayed for more than twenty years. It was later, at Warner Bros., that he began his golden period of filmmaking. Walsh was known for his romantic flair and playful persona. Involved in a freak auto accident in 1928, Walsh lost his right eye and began wearing an eye patch, which earned him the suitably dashing moniker “the one-eyed bandit.” During his long and illustrious career, he directed such heavyweights as Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, and Marlene Dietrich, and in 1930 he discovered future star John Wayne.