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Punk Cinema

From: Cinema Journal
43, Number 2, Winter 2004
pp. 47-66 | 10.1353/cj.2004.0013


Despite the casual use to which the term "punk cinema" has been put since the inception of punk rock, the concept, as reimagined in this essay, denotes an identifiable aesthetic, bolstered by a correlative economics. Adherents of this model demand of cinema what punks have demanded of music—that it encourage production, in any medium. Punk cinema employs an open, writerly aesthetic, engages with history, and critiques its own commodification. It can be negatively defined as non-Hollywoodized, where a Hollywood aesthetic demands a closed, readerly text unconcerned with history and obfuscating its position within the relations of production. Punk films, such as The Punk Rock Movie (Don Letts, 1978) and Rude Boy (Jack Hazan, 1980),foreground their conditions of production, which stand as material signifiers of the possibility of making music or film, participating in critique, or doing both at once.

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