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Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series

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After Kieślowski

The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieślowski

Edited by Steven Woodward

Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kie?lowski died unexpectedly in March 1996 at precisely the moment he had reached the height of his career and gained a global audience for his work with the Three Colors trilogy (1993–94). Since his death he has been hailed as one of the greatest and most influential directors of all time, elevated to the elite of world cinema alongside Jean Renoir, Robert Bresson, Federico Fellini, Yasujiro Ozu, Max Ophüls, and Andrei Tarkovsky. In After Kie?lowski, leading contributors diverge from the typical analysis of Kie?lowski’s work to focus on his legacy in films made after his death, including those based on his scripts and ideas and those made entirely by other filmmakers. Kie?lowski’s rich legacy is rooted in not only a very significant body of early work made before his breakthrough films but another trilogy of films that he had been working on prior to his death, several of which have gone on to be produced. Furthermore, actors and assistant directors involved with Kie?lowski also made films that develop his earlier, incomplete projects or that derive thematically and stylistically from his work. After Kie?lowski considers Kie?lowski’s legacy from three broad perspectives—the Polish, the European, and the global. Contributors trace his direct influence on filmmakers in Poland and Europe, including Jerzy Stuhr, Krzysztof Zanussi, Emmanel Finkiel, Julie Bertucelli, and Tom Tykwer, as well as points of thematic coincidence between his work and that of Jean-Luc Godard, P. T. Anderson, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami, and Paul Haggis. This collection also traces the reemergence of Kie?lowski’s unique visual signature in films by Ridley Scott, Santosh Sivan, John Sayles, and Julian Schnabel, and his highly original use of television serial-narrative form that is echoed in at least two major American television series, HBO’s Six Feet Under and ABC’s Lost. Examining Kie?lowski’s legacy is a way of thinking both about the unique features of Kie?lowski’s work and about issues that are now at the heart of contemporary filmmaking. Film scholars and students will appreciate this groundbreaking volume.

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Appetites and Anxieties

Food, Film, and the Politics of Representation

Cynthia Baron, Diane Carson, and Mark Bernard

Cinema is a mosaic of memorable food scenes. Detectives drink alone. Gangsters talk with their mouths full. Families around the world argue at dinner. Food documentaries challenge popular consumption-centered visions. In Appetites and Anxieties: Food, Film, and the Politics of Representation, authors Cynthia Baron, Diane Carson, and Mark Bernard use a foodways paradigm, drawn from the fields of folklore and cultural anthropology, to illuminate film's cultural and material politics. In looking at how films do and do not represent food procurement, preparation, presentation, consumption, clean-up, and disposal, the authors bring the pleasures, dangers, and implications of consumption to center stage. In nine chapters, Baron, Carson, and Bernard consider food in fiction films and documentaries-from both American and international cinema. The first chapter examines film practice from the foodways perspective, supplying a foundation for the collection of case studies that follow. Chapter 2 takes a political economy approach as it examines the food industry and the film industry's policies that determine representations of food in film. In chapter 3, the authors explore food and food interactions as a means for creating community in Bagdad Café, while in chapter 4 they take a close look at 301/302, in which food is used to mount social critique. Chapter 5 focuses on cannibal films, showing how the foodways paradigm unlocks the implications of films that dramatize one of society's greatest food taboos. In chapter 6, the authors demonstrate ways that insights generated by the foodways lens can enrich genre and auteur studies. Chapter 7 considers documentaries about food and water resources, while chapter 8 examines food documentaries that slip through the cracks of film censorship by going into exhibition without an MPAA rating. Finally, in chapter 9, the authors study films from several national cinemas to explore the intersection of food, gender, and ethnicity. Four appendices provide insights from a food stylist, a selected filmography of fiction films and a filmography of documentaries that feature foodways components, and a list of selected works in food and cultural studies. Scholars of film studies and food studies will enjoy the thought-provoking analysis of Appetites and Anxieties.

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The Apu Trilogy

New Edition

Robin Wood Edited by Barry Keith Grant Preface by Richard Lippe

The Apu Trilogy is the fifth book written by influential film critic Robin Wood and republished for a contemporary audience. Focusing on the famed trilogy from Indian director Satyajit Ray, Wood persuasively demonstrates his ability at detailed textual analysis, providing an impressively sustained reading that elucidates the complex view of life in the trilogy. Wood was one of our most insightful and committed film critics, championing films that explore the human condition. His analysis of The Apu Trilogy reveals and illuminates the films' profoundly humanistic qualities with clarity and rigor, plumbing the psychological and emotional resonances that arise from Ray's delicate balance of performance, camerawork, and visual design. Wood was the first English-language critic to write substantively about Ray's films, which made the original publication of his monograph on The Apu Trilogy unprecedented as well as impressive. Of late there has been a renewed interest in North America in the work of Satyajit Ray, yet no other critic has come close to equaling the scope and depth of his analysis. In his introduction, originally published in 1971, Wood says reactions to Ray's work were met with indifference. In response, he offers possible reasons why this occurred, including social and cultural differences and the films' slow pacing, which contemporary critics tended to associate with classical cinema. Wood notes Ray's admiration for Western film culture, including the Hollywood cinema and European directors, particularly Jean Renoir and his realist films. Assigning a chapter to each Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito, (1957), and The World of Apu, (1959), Wood goes on to explore each film more thoroughly. One of the aspects of this book that is particularly rewarding is Wood's analytical approach to the trilogy as a whole, as well as detailed attention given to each of the three films. The book, with a new preface by Richard Lippe and foreword by Barry Keith Grant, functions as a master class on what constitutes an in-depth reading of a work and the use of critical tools that are relevant to such a task. Robin Wood's The Apu Trilogy offers an excellent account of evaluative criticism that will appeal to film scholars and students alike.

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The Arsenal of Democracy

The American Automobile Industry in World War II

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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.

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Before the Crash

Early Video Game History

Edited by Mark J. P. Wolf

Following the first appearance of arcade video games in 1971 and home video game systems in 1972, the commercial video game market was exuberant with fast-paced innovation and profit. New games, gaming systems, and technologies flooded into the market until around 1983, when sales of home game systems dropped, thousands of arcades closed, and major video game makers suffered steep losses or left the market altogether. In Before the Crash: Early Video Game History, editor Mark J. P. Wolf assembles essays that examine the fleeting golden age of video games, an era sometimes overlooked for older games’ lack of availability or their perceived “primitiveness” when compared to contemporary video games. In twelve chapters, contributors consider much of what was going on during the pre-crash era: arcade games, home game consoles, home computer games, handheld games, and even early online games. The technologies of early video games are investigated, as well as the cultural context of the early period—from aesthetic, economic, industrial, and legal perspectives. Since the video game industry and culture got their start and found their form in this era, these years shaped much of what video games would come to be. This volume of early history, then, not only helps readers to understand the pre-crash era, but also reveals much about the present state of the industry. Before the Crash will give readers a thorough overview of the early days of video games along with a sense of the optimism, enthusiasm, and excitement of those times. Students and teachers of media studies will enjoy this compelling volume.

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Blackness Is Burning

Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition

TreaAndrea M. Russworm

Blackness Is Burning is one of the first books to examine the ways race and psychological rhetoric collided in the public and popular culture of the civil rights era. In analyzing a range of media forms, including Sidney Poitier's popular films, black mother and daughter family melodramas, Bill Cosby's comedy routine and cartoon Fat Albert, pulpy black pimp narratives, and several aspects of post-civil rights black/American culture, TreaAndrea M. Russworm identifies and problematizes the many ways in which psychoanalytic culture has functioned as a governing racial ideology that is built around a flawed understanding of constantly trying to "recognize" the racial other as human. The main argument of Blackness Is Burning is that humanizing, or trying to represent in narrative and popular culture that #BlackLivesMatter, has always been barely attainable and impossible to sustain cultural agenda. But Blackness Is Burning makes two additional interdisciplinary interventions: the book makes a historical and temporal intervention because Russworm is committed to showing the relationship between civil rights discourses on theories of recognition and how we continue to represent and talk about race today. The book also makes a formal intervention since the chapter-length case studies take seemingly banal popular forms seriously. She argues that the popular forms and disreputable works are integral parts of our shared cultural knowledge. Blackness Is Burning's interdisciplinary reach is what makes it a vital component to nearly any scholar's library, particularly those with an interest in African American popular culture, film and media studies, or psychoanalytic theory.

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Britton on Film

The Complete Film Criticism of Andrew Britton

Edited by Barry Keith Grant With an Introduction by Robin Wood

For fifteen years before his untimely death, Andrew Britton produced a body of undeniably brilliant film criticism that has been largely ignored within academic circles. Though Britton’s writings are extraordinary in their depth and range and are closely attuned to the nuances of the texts they examine, his humanistic approach was at odds with typical theory-based film scholarship. Britton on Film demonstrates that Britton’s humanism is also his strength, as it presents all of his published writings together for the first time, including Britton’s persuasive readings of such important Hollywood films as Meet Me in St. Louis, Spellbound, and Now, Voyager and of key European filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, Jean-Luc Godard, and Bernardo Bertolucci. Renowned film scholar and editor Barry Keith Grant has assembled all of Britton’s published essays of film criticism and theory for this volume, spanning the late 1970s to the early 1990s. The essays are arranged by theme: Hollywood cinema, Hollywood movies, European cinema, and film and cultural theory. In all, twenty-eight essays consider such varied films as Hitchcock’s Spellbound, Jaws, The Exorcist, and Mandingo and topics as diverse as formalism, camp, psychoanalysis, imperialism, and feminism. Included are such well-known and important pieces as “Blissing Out: The Politics of Reaganite Entertainment” and “Sideshows: Hollywood in Vietnam,” among the most perceptive discussions of these two periods of Hollywood history yet published. In addition, Britton’s critiques of the ideology of Screen and Wisconsin formalism display his uncommon grasp of theory even when arguing against prevailing critical trends. An introduction by influential film critic Robin Wood, who was also Britton’s teacher and friend, begins this landmark collection. Students and teachers of film studies as well as general readers interested in film and American popular culture will enjoy Britton on Film.

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Buffoon Men

Classic Hollywood Comedians and Queered Masculinity

Scott Balcerzak

Film scholars and fans have used distinctive terms to describe the Classic Hollywood comedian: He is a "trickster," a "rebel," or a "buffoon." Yet the performer is almost always described as a "he." In Buffoon Men: Classic Hollywood Comedians and Queered Masculinity, Scott Balcerzak reads the performances of notable comedians such as W. C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello through humor and queer theory to expose a problematic history of maleness in their personas. He argues that contrary to popular notions of Classic Hollywood history, these male comedians rearranged or, at times, rejected heteronormative protocols. Balcerzak begins by defining the particular buffoonish masculinity portrayed by early film comedians, a gender and genre construct influenced by the cultural anxieties of the 1930s and '40s. In chapter 1, he considers the onscreen pairing of W. C. Fields and Mae West to identify a queered sexuality and drag persona in Fields's performance, while in chapter 2 he examines the two major constructions of Fields's film persona-the confidence man and the husband-to show Fields to be a conflicted and subversive figure. In chapter 3, Balcerzak considers the assimilation and influence of Eddie Cantor as a Jewish celebrity, while he turns to the cross-media influence of Jack Benny's radio persona in chapter 4. In Chapters 5 and 6, he moves beyond the individual performer to examine the complex masculine brotherhood of comedy duos Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, and Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey. Buffoon Men shows that the complicated history of the male comedian during the early sound era has much to tell us about multimedia comedic stars today. Fans and scholars of film history, gender studies, and broadcast studies will appreciate Balcerzak's thorough exploration of the era's fascinating gender constructs.

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Christophe Honoré

A Critical Introduction

David A. Gerstner and Julien Nahmias

French filmmaker Christophe Honoré challenges audiences with complex cinematic form, intricate narrative structures, and aesthetically dynamic filmmaking. But the limited release of his films outside of Europe has left him largely unknown to U.S. audiences. In Christophe Honoré: A Critical Introduction, authors David A. Gerstner and Julien Nahmias invite English-speaking scholars and cinéastes to explore Honoré's three most recognized films, Dans Paris (2006), Les Chansons d'amour (2007), and La Belle personne (2008)-"the trilogy." Gerstner and Nahmias analyze Honoré's filmmaking as the work of a queer auteur whose cinematic engagement with questions of family, death, and sexual desire represent new ground for queer theory. Considering each of the trilogy films in turn, the authors take a close look at Honoré's cinematic technique and how it engages with France's contemporary cultural landscape. With careful attention to the complexity of Honoré's work, they consider critically contested issues such as the filmmaker's cinematic strategies for addressing AIDS, the depth of his LGBTQ politics, his representations of death and sexual desire, and the connections between his films and the New Wave. Anchored by a comprehensive interview with the director, the authors incorporate classical and contemporary film theories to offer a range of cinematic interventions for thinking queerly about the noted film author. Christophe Honoré: A Critical Introduction reconceptualizes the relationship between film theory and queer theory by moving beyond predominant literary and linguistic models, focusing instead on cinematic technique. Students and teachers of queer film will appreciate this thought-provoking volume.

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