Much has been said about serial dramas such as The Sopranos (HBO, 1999–2007), The Wire (HBO, 2002–8), Mad Men (AMC, 2007–15), and Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008–13) bringing about a new golden age of television. A lot of these discussions, however, have centered on the idea that quality television has become more cinematic than ever—a modifier that implies a superiority of cinema and a teleological linearity toward a particular aesthetic. Notwithstanding the overuse of the term and its implications, there is no consensus about what exactly “cinematic” means in these contexts.
Film Quarterly’s webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications continued on June 22nd with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná and Philip Scepanski (Marist College) about his new book Tragedy Plus Time: National Trauma and Television Comedy (University of Texas Press, 2021), introduced by FQ editor-in-chief B. Ruby Rich.
Season 8 of Friends (NBC, 1994–2004) included an episode in which Monica and Chandler, en route to their honeymoon, are detained by TSA agents after Chandler mocks a TSA sign forbidding jokes about bombs. By the time the episode aired on October 11, 2001, however, the scene had been excised, its humor nullified in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The scene’s later resurrection as bonus material for a DVD box set—and, inevitably, on video and social-media platforms—reflects the sort of time-sensitive relationship between comedy and context that Philip Scepanski explores in Tragedy Plus Time: National Trauma and Television Comedy.
Film Quarterly’s webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications, continued on April 2nd with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná and Professor Lúcia Nagib (University of Reading) about her groundbreaking new book, Realist Cinema as World Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), introduced by FQ editor-in-chief B. Ruby Rich.
In her latest book, Realist Cinema as World Cinema: Non-Cinema, Intermedial Passages, Total Cinema, Lúcia Nagib suggests that the integrity with which The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and anonymous, 2012) presents its subjects—as performers, producers, and spectators of their own reenactments—directly affects their reality.
Film Quarterly’s new webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications continued on December 14th, 2020 with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná and Jaimie Baron about her new book, Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era (Rutgers University Press, 2020). In this era of fake news and digital manipulation, Reuse, Misuse, Abuse offers an urgent discussion of the ethical and political stakes involved in the repurposing of audiovisual media. Introduced by FQ editor-in-chief B. Ruby Rich. Bruno Guaraná’s interview with Jaimie Baron appears in the Winter 2020 issue of Film Quarterly. A pdf download of the introduction from Reuse, Misuse, Abuse will be available through the webinar and at https://filmquarterly.org.
Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná interviews Jaimie Baron about her new book, Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era.
On September 25th, Film Quarterly launched PAGE VIEWS LIVE, its new webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications. The series kicked off with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná and Samantha N. Sheppard about her highly anticipated new book, Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen.
A Black man wearing a noose around his neck, filmed from a low angle. This brief, cryptic shot opens Haile Gerima’s short film Hour Glass (1971). A cut, and the character is reintroduced as a college basketball player, first at practice, then in a game, surrounded by other Black athletes. They work the ball while, as Umar Bin Hassan—member of the legendary Harlem collective the Last Poets—recites on the soundtrack, “The white man is cuttin’ off their balls.” Glancing toward the white spectators in the bleachers, the ballplayer seems to experience an epiphany, comprehending his objectification and commodification as an athlete.
If you had happened to attend the December 8, 1929, screening of Fox Movietone Follies (David Butler and Marcel Silver, 1929) at the opening of the Moulin Rouge cinema in Paris, you would certainly remember the raucous audience that surrounded you. If reports are to be believed, you might have been among the patrons outraged by the poorly written French subtitles—“deplorable” French, really. You may have joined others that night or the following weekend in vandalizing chairs and throwing pieces of furniture at the screen, with shouts of “Shut up” or “In French!” But maybe you were there for a romantic rendezvous, in which case the film and the music and the subtitles mattered a lot less than having your evening marred by unhappy, snobbish viewers. Whatever the hypothetical situation, imagining yourself as a willing participant in Parisian film culture from the era of early sound cinema to around 1950 is nearly inevitable while reading Eric Smoodin’s Paris in the Dark: Going to the Movies in the City of Light, 1930–1950.