Atom Egoyan’s Artaud Double Bill

“Atom Egoyan’s short film Artaud Double Bill from the anthology Chacun son cinéma/To Each His Own Cinema (2007) has become one of the most eloquent and provocative articulations of the fast-changing state of film exhibition and viewership in our times. In it, two friends, Anna and Nicole, plan to meet each other at the movies but somehow end up in different theaters watching different films: Anna is in a theater showing Jean Luc Godard’s Vivre sa vie/My Life to Live (1962), and Nicole is watching Egoyan’s own film, The Adjuster (1991). As they realize their mistake, they begin chatting on their smart phones to connect to each other as well as to share their film experience in both text and images from the films. This initially simple set-up–two friends, two different films, historical time periods, two different theaters, two different screen technologies–soon develops into a complex and multiplying network that establishes significant connections and parallels between otherwise separate and seemingly incompatible locations, films, screen technologies, and viewing experiences. As they watch the films–and film within a film–and their experiences merge, the events in both films merge as well and begin to comment on each other” (Deshpande and Mazaj 37). Refer to Chapter 2: Watching world cinema for more on Artuad Double Bill and the dynamics of movie going 

The Politics of Streaming: Netflix, Cannes, and Venice

The creation of new technologies has enabled the reorientation of individuals’ relationships to screens. Indeed, “films and screens on which they are viewed have become elastic, malleable, and ready to be relocated from film theaters” (Despande and Mazaj 38). With the proliferation of different forms of movie watching, streaming services have attempted to enter their films to film festivals, many of which do not have theatrical releases. Though some film festivals have been more receptive to the participation of films from Netflix, Cannes remains steadfast in their exclusion of films without theatrical release in France. The Venice Film Festival, unlike Cannes, accepts streamable films that do not prioritize theatrical releases.  In addition, many prominent filmmakers did not make the entry deadline at Cannes, creating an influx of films at the upcoming Venice Film Festival in August. Read more on Variety about the politics of streaming at Cannes and Venice Read more on Screen Daily about France’s media laws Refer to Chapter 2: Watching World Cinema for more on the different forms of moviegoing    

Resources on the Occult

“Nollywood is a product of a complex dialectic between external and internal forces–the history of colonialism, the global economy, local arts, traditions, religious diversity, economic and social conditions–the context of which provides useful pathways to understand the particularity of Nollywood’s aesthetics, narrative forms, and its popularity in the continent. To open up a historical, political, and theoretical context for Africa, Cameroonian scholar Achille Mbembe (2001) proposes a framework of ‘postcolonies’ that radically revises the traditional understanding of postcolonial subjectivity in Africa… In Comaroff and Comaroff’s view, the confluence of these factors created ‘occult economies’ in the region, a series of practices energized by the magical and inscrutable mechanisms of economic exchanges, which replaced realistic, material structures” (Deshpande and Mazaj 186).   Read more on the occult economy (Comaroff and Comaroff) Read more on Bataille’s notion of trash and Cinema Engagé (Harrow) Read more on the aesthetics of African cinema (Harrow) Refer to Chapter 6: African cinema and Nollywood for more on the occult  

World Cinema Resources

  Google Books preview of World Cinema: A Critical Introduction   Reviews, Analyses, and News      Criterion “A magazine of film culture past and present, with new articles, interviews, and videos published every day”. Screen Daily Screen International or is a film magazine covering the international film business. Four Three Film “Four Three Film publishes a wide array of film content, from reviews and interviews to longform feature pieces and video essays”. The Guardian The New York Times IndieWire “Since launching on July 15, 1996, IndieWire has grown into the leading news, information and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike”. Variety “For 113 years, producers, executives and talent in entertainment have turned to Variety for expert film, TV, digital, music, and theater business analysis and insights”. Hyperallergic “Hyperallergic is a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today”.   Film Journals Senses of Cinema  “Senses of Cinema is an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema. We believe cinema is an art that can take many forms, from the industrially-produced blockbuster to the hand-crafted experimental work; we also aim to encourage awareness of the histories of such diverse forms”. Bright Lights “Bright Light’s goal is to create a film magazine that would feature great photos and combine popular and academic styles, with humor and progressive politics tossed into the mix”. Cineaste Cineaste is an American quarterly film magazine that was established in 1967. Film Quarterly Film Quarterly, a journal devoted to the study of film, television, and visual media, is published by University of California Press”. Images Journal “Images is a non-commercial Web site created for everyone who enjoys movies and popular culture. Images is published quarterly”. Jump Cut  “JUMP CUT: A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA is run on a nonprofit basis by its staff and is not affiliated with[…..]
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Chapter 10: Polyvalent world cinema

“The final chapter, on polyvalence, is an equally significant step in a course on world cinema. Recognizing that films are always ‘read’ from the vantage point of the viewer’s position in the world, it reinforces the de-centering project of the  book. No longer should cinema studies consider interpretations and scholarship from the West as more valid or legitimate than others. Efforts at ‘de-Westernizing’ must develop an awareness that every interpretation, every theoretical model, is specifically situated and bespeaks a particular view of the world” (Deshpande and Mazaj 13) “As films travel across cultural spaces and understanding of films in world cinema. As films travel across cultural spaces and borders, they are charged with belief systems, conditions of reception, and imperatives of the moment, whether political, ethical, or cultural. Differentiated meanings of films arise from a heuristic mix of forces at work, shaping the popularity and values of their construction” (419). “Frederic Jameson takes up the notion of valences as an investment of agency. He proposes that dialectical thought may be engaged in reversals of valences by transforming the values and functions to uncover the possibilities of reading history. To shift the valences is to change the trajectory of thought and render it effective for the political force in the present… Retaining the notion of valences as an agency is to recognize that readings of films are charged by interpretive apparatuses of the viewers. The three models we propose–cognitive mapping, worldliness, and worlding– are borrowed from world and comparative literature, though film studies scholars have used them in select instances” (420).   Cognitive mapping (421) “To watch a film that originates from a location other than our own is to be aware of two spatial worlds” “According to Tom Conley, ‘A film can be understood in a broad sense to be[…..]
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Chapter 8: National formations

“The transformative effect of globalization has radically redefined the status of the nation as a relevant economic, political, and cultural unit instead giving currency to the terms ‘world,’ ‘global,’ and ‘transnational’ in descriptions of the current geopolitical map. Yet, we still divide the world by nations, and the nation retains its agency through institutions that facilitate its participation in the global sphere. In film studies too, studies of individual national cinemas are proliferating and expanding, policy is still informed by local film production, and national categories and labels continue to play a role in the production, exhibition, marketing, and understanding of films. What we understand under ‘national’ has changed profoundly, but it has anything but disappeared, and the understanding of national elements and their role is as important as ever” (Deshpande and Mazaj 313). Until the 1980s, the dominant model of studying cinema remained the ‘national cinema’ model, where various genres and auteurs are grouped together under the umbrella of national cinema. Tied to the aforementioned ‘ national phase’ in cinema, the idea of national cinema tends to focus on film texts produced within a particular territory, and often sees these texts as expressions of national spirit and projections of national identity… However, after the 1980s, as the interconnected and transnational patterns of national cinemas (that have always existed) began to assert themselves more prominently, the publication of a vast body of work emerged that challenged positivist, essentialist ideas of nationhood and national identity. Emerging from different but overlapping perspectives of anti-essentialist and postcolonialist criticism these works have ‘shattered the theoretically naive and politically suspect beliefs in unified, ahistorical nations and national identities’ (Eleftheriotis, 2002: 26). Their influences on the way film studies conceived of national cinema was extensive” (314).

Chapter 7: Asian cinema

“Multiple cinemas of Asian countries–China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and other East Asian countries–are often discussed in film studies under the rubric of ‘Asian cinema.’ Their collective strength in production volume is significant, totaling nearly 1,500 films a year, making Asia the third largest film industry in the world after Indian cinema and Nollywood… The conception of Asian cinema emerges at a crucial moment for new world cinema, in the post-1980s era of globalization, neoliberal economic policies, and greater global circulation of images and technologies. Asian cinema is a product of the regionalization of Asia, with three major factors dominating the landscape of globalization since the 1980s. These factors are: (a) the geopolitical emergence of Asia as an economic-cultural power and concurrent appropriation of Asia as a market by the West; (b) the increasing power of the film festivals in the region that shape and promote a collective identity for those cinemas; and (c) the hegemonic influence of Western film studies and responses to it within the region. Asian cinema is continually shaped by the forces in the West, as well as the need to define its identity in the era of globalization” (Deshpande and Mazaj). “Asian cinema, too, is hardly a cinema of the region or an aggregate of cinemas in a geographic area, but rather a discursive construct shaped by economic, industrial, and academic perspectives, all of which have taken on specific roles in shaping the current concepts in film studies. It is important to identify the three historic periods of the notion of Asia–that of the region before and after the Second World War, the Cold War, and globalization–which, we will see, are closely connected to and influence the changing notions of Asian cinema… The Second World War brought forth a different role for Asia, exposing[…..]
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Chapter 6: African cinema and Nollywood

“Nollywood, the video-film industry from Nigeria, emerged on the scene in the early 1990s, when film industries around the world were going through major transformations of economy, production, and ideology. Since then, a spate of newspaper and magazine articles, photoessays, and documentaries have come out on this youngest film industry in world cinema, which express mostly curiosity about this film phenomenon defined by low budgets, spontaneous and improvised acting, poor production quality, and unfathomable production rates… Nollywood challenges the conception of world cinema as a totalitarian enterprise (Hollywood), as a selective mode (art house and film festivals), and as a contrarian model (a militant conception of Third Cinema)” (Deshpande and Mazaj 175). “Nollywood refers to three broad industries, characterized by their ethnicities and language. Kannywood, of the Hausa culture in the north and based in the city of Kano, has its own industry developed in deep affiliation with Islam. It is distinct from the two industries in the south around Lagos: Yoruba (Yoruwood) and Igbo (Igbowood) video-films, which are both inflected by different traditions. Other emergent and smaller industries based on ethnicities and languages also belong to the industry: Edowood (Edo films), Urhhobowood (Urhobo films), and Wafiwood (Warri pidgin-English films)” (176). “Nigeria’s transition from a poor participant in African cinema to a leading video-film producer is a story of the failure of infrastructural and state support for filmmaking, and the triumph of the entrepreneurial, commodity-driven economy galvanized by filmmakers. Before the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Program, the small film industry in Nigeria was, along with Ghana, a leader in Anglophone production. Until the mid-1980s, filmmakers in Nollywood produced films in 16mm and reversal film format, with partial, erratic support from the state and some with American funding Resources that were already scarce dwindled completely with the SAP imposed by the[…..]
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Chapter 5: Indian cinema and Bollywood

“For nearly four decades, Indian cinema has been a strong presence on the world stage largely due to the strength of its numbers alone. With a nearly consistent annual output of over 1,000 films, India remains the most prolific film-producing country in the world, also claiming the largest film audience. The impressive numbers have constituted their own logic, so much so that the idea of Indian cimea often begins and ends with the mention of its massive output. In critical and scholarly circles in the West, little attention was paid to its films in the past, with the exception of masters such a Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen… The issue of size, however, is complicated and misleading. Indian cinema is indeed prolific, but its international presence has been dominated by its recent moniker of ‘Bollywood.’ Though Bollywood gives the film industry a spectacular global presence, it happens to be a small component of the industry, masking the rich diversity not only of other strands of Hindi cinema–long a culturally dominant form with nationwide distribution–but also cinemas emerging from multiple languages” (Deshpande and Mazaj 135). “An account of Bollywood’s influence and place in Indian and world cinema can be based on Rajadhyaksha’s seminal argument that Indian cinema itself has been ‘Bollywoodized,’  overshadowed and influenced by a recent discursive construction in the neoliberal economic age of globalization (2003). Extending this insight, we propose that they process of ‘Bollywoodization’ can be best understood in three phases” (136) First Phase (136-137) “Bollywood cinema emerges in the early 1990s as a cultural industry due to various factors at home and abroad” “The support and involvement of Indians abroad was the single most powerful force that shaped Bollywood in the 1990s, complemented by India’s adoption of liberal economic policies in 1992 that opened up its state-controlled economy[…..]
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Chapter 4: Film festivals and world cinema

“Chapter 4 addresses the most salient feature of world cinema after the 1980s: the global boom and influence of international film festivals, which have become one of the biggest growth industries. The diversity and expansion of film festivals are as daunting as their multidimensional role in shaping world cinema. Film festivals have consolidated the one marginal role of art cinema into one of the strongest and most influential modes of filmmaking. While the chapter acknowledges the complicated web of functions performed by film festivals, our emphasis is on the crucial role that festivals have played in the production of knowledge that guides our understanding of world cinema. This chapter explores the ways in which festivals are not only exhibition and distribution platforms, but play an active role in shaping the very landscape of world cinema, and by implication our understanding of it” (Deshpande and Mazaj 12). “All levels of film cultures, from local and regional to international, have witnessed an incredible proliferation of film festivals since the 1980s, and they have become one of the biggest growth industries… The genesis of film festivals can be outlined in three phases: in their first, post-Second World War phase, festivals were funded by the state, served as important vehicles for national identity, and were largely motivated by political and ideological interests; in their second attempt to extricate themselves from political and commercial interests, and reinvested themselves as sites that provide support to and nurture cinema as high art; in their third, globalized phase (since the 1980s), festivals proliferate around the globe, diversify in their function, and form a complex global festival network” (105).