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Introduction \an Wojcik-Andrews Cinema and narrative became related areas of study, roughly speaking, in the 1960s, 70s, and early 80s with the work of critics such as Christian Metz, Peter Wollen and Stephen Heath. Metz's Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema (1974), contains essays from the 1960s, in particular the famous "Le cinema: langue ou langage." Wollen's use of Propp's "functions" and "spheres of action" to analyze Hitchcock's North by Northwest was originally published in 1976. Heath's Questions of Cinema, which contains the influential chapter "Narrative Space," was published in 1981. This issue of JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory develops further the work of these aforementioned critics by situating what Metz calls "fiction films" (94) in a wide variety of theoretical, social, cultural, and political contexts, each of which is informed by cinema and narrative studies. Lisa Botshon's fine lead essay details the struggles faced by Jewish immigrants in early 20th century America and the filmic representations of those struggles in Samuel Goldwyn's not particularly successful adaptation of Jewish immigrant author Anzia Yezierska's collection of short stories , Hungry Hearts. Botshon's nuanced essay quickly moves beyond a straightforward discussion of how Goldwyn adapted Yezierska's work. Botshon points out the contradictions and ambivalences experienced by Jewish immigrants but also Americans who, in the 1920s, felt uneasy about "immigrant entry and assimilation" and thus turned to film as a way of resolving that unease. Cinema in this argument functions therapeutiJNT : Journal of Narrative Theory 30.3 (Fall 2000): 283-286. Copyright © 2000 by JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. 284 j N T cally. It's film narratives serve as mechanisms for the resolution of cultural conflict. If Botshon's article deftly finds its way around the intersections of cinema , culture, and narrative, and thus avoids the pitfalls of discussing adaptation theory merely in terms of what Dudley Andrew calls "fidelity and transformation" (100), Dean DeFino, drawing on the work of Sergei Eisenstein and Walter Benjamin, moves in a slightly different, though ultimately related, direction—the detective story and its evolution from the silent era to the world of sound. Specifically, DeFino considers Howard Hawks's 1946 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), as an example of how the "hard-boiled detective fiction genre" revises the "underlying illusions of suspense, psychology, and morality created in 1915" by D.W. Griffith's filmic narrative The Birth of a Nation. Abby CoykendalPs superlative essay "Bodies Cinematic, Bodies Politic" takes another turn and interrogates the "common assumption that the sadistic, cinematic gaze is necessarily a male gaze." Coykendall questions this assumption by examining the films of Brian De Palma such as Sisters (1973), Carrie (1976), Blow Out (1981), and Body Double (1984). In particular, Coykendall reads Carrie through Freud, Lacan, and Mulvey. The result is a essay that suggests a useful revision of the relationship between cinema and narrative. The two concluding essays in this special issue of the JNT, "Asian American Transnationalism in John Woo's Bullet in the Head," and "Hong Kong Blue: Flâneurie with the Camera's Eye in a Phantasmagoric Global City," by Karen Chow and Tsung-yi Huang respectively, place traditional Western cinematic and narrative conventions in a global context —specifically the hybrid cultural space of late 20th century Hong Kong. Chow sees Bullet in the Head as "Woo's closest nod to socio-political commentary on the state of Hong Kong in the late 1980s and early 1990s." Bullet in the Head functions, in other words, as social allegory. The pursuit of wealth (in the form of gold leaves) that unites Woo's central characters at the same time destroys their friendship. His film chronicles their journey from Hong Kong to Saigon and back again during the 1960s and functions as an oblique commentary on the return of Hong Kong to China in the 1990s. According to Chow, the film "addresses the ambivalence introduction 285 Hong Kong people experienced as a result of Hong Kong's emergence in the 1960s and 1970s as a global financial capital in which American commodity culture threatened to shatter traditional bonds of family, friendship, and community." Bullet...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9248
Print ISSN
1549-0815
Pages
pp. 283-286
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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