Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans are true pioneers and godfathers of American Independent Cinema. The New York Times’ critic Janet Maslin called their film Hollywood Shuffle “exuberant satire,” and accurately noted its “reality-minded humor.” That’s a remarkable achievement considering that the film is remembered not only for its breakthrough critique of the entertainment industry’s stereotyping of African Americans, but also for its free-wheeling sketch comedy structure that feels fresh and original while also bringing to mind The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Norman Z. McLeod, 1947), the films of Preston Sturges, and the early work of Woody Allen. The film was made in twelve days over the course of two years for $100,000, much of it put on credit cards. It grossed $5 million in its initial release and was honored at the 1987 Deauville Festival and again in 1988 at the Spirit Awards. It is as funny a work as it is serious, and as serious as it is funny.
On December 13, 2016, a month after the presidential election, Film Quarterly organized an emergency panel with the sponsorship of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Staged amid the political aftershocks, the event at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center’s Amphitheater brought together eight panelists from wildly divergent arenas to engage a rapt audience with its central theme: “Film & Media in A Time of Repression: Practices and Aesthetics of Resistance.”
Chantal Akerman’s sound strategies are defining elements of a unique film language noted for effects that feel close to direct experience and seem to approximate the passing of real time. Drawing from a range of Akerman’s films, from Saute Ma Ville (1968) to No Home Movie (2015), five categories of sound that are of special interest in Akerman’s films are considered: walking, talking, singing (music), exploding, and silence. Local examples are analyzed to give a sense of how, within these five categories, Akerman cultivated an overall tactic of desynchron- ization – often separating layers of sound from one another within the soundtrack, and always working the soundtrack as a whole against the visual image track – to amplify effects of immediacy and temporal complexity, and to generate layers of meaning powerfully but indirectly.
Joao Moreira Salles & Natalia Brizuela – In conversation – April 14-15, 2016. This page contains documentation of the final two nights of the Eduardo Coutinho retrospective presented by the Pacific Film Archive at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAMPFA) in conjunction with the publication of FQ Volume 69, Number 3, with its special dossier on Coutinho.
Kathleen McHugh’s essay is accompanied by video clips that can be viewed here. Jane Campion and Jenji Kohan each premiered television series in 2013 that used genre to facilitate pointed interventions in postfeminist representational paradigms. Along with other contemporary female-centered television series, Campion’s Top of the Lake and Kohan’s Orange is the New Black have garnered extensive popular and promotional attention. That discourse, together with commentary regarding Campion and Kohan as feminist auteurs, provides a discursive environment for Top and Orange at odds with much postfeminist female-centered programming that has emerged since Ally McBeal (1997) defined the paradigm.
Claudia Gorbman addresses the integral role of the voice in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012). This film offers a particularly apt occasion to consider a striking vocal performance at the height of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career. For if Kozloff can talk about “the unique alchemy … of that actor,” and if Barthes writes about the thrill he derives from hearing the recorded voice of the French baritone Charles Panzera, one realizes that in a new age of film acting, at least with some actors like Hoffman, the essential, recognizable voice need no longer prevail. This essay is accompanied by video clips that demonstrate the results of the masterful role of the voice in The Master.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s preface to the film Concerning Violence (2013) is offered for the first time in print. Readers can also watch the trailer for the film, which is a tribute to and an illustration of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth Spivak states that she ends this preface as Fanon would end his writing: I end it in Fanon’s own way, turning around for our own use what a European philosopher wrote for the use of Europe over 200 years ago: turning Kant around for our purposes as he did Hegel: “anything which the people (i.e. the entire mass of subjects) cannot decide for themselves and their fellows cannot be decided for the people by the sovereign either.”