Film Quarterly’s original webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications continued July 11 with Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná in conversation with Laura Mulvey, and Oliver Fuke about the new edited volume The Films of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen: Scripts, Working Documents, Interpretation, ed. Oliver Fuke (Bloomsbury, 2023). The event was moderated by FQ editor and volume contributor B. Ruby Rich.
The first film directed by Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen opens with a mime staging of the German Romantic poet Heinrich von Kleist’s tragedy Penthesilea. The nearly bare stage is shot by a fixed camera in an uninterrupted take that lasts over fifteen minutes, culminating in the suicide of Penthesilea, the Amazon warrior-queen, immediately after she kills her lover, Achilles.
On June 1, 2023, Film Quarterly hosted a webinar analyzing the vitality of film and media as objects of black study. Given the historical momentum surrounding the study of black film and media today and FQ’s special dossier (Spring 2023), dossier editor Michael Boyce Gillespie and FQ editor B. Ruby Rich moderate a conversation that compels deeper inquiry into the stakes of this research. With dossier contributors Racquel Gates, Walton Muyumba, Julie Beth Napolin, and Yasmina Price, and respondent Samantha Sheppard.
Film Quarterly’s original webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications continued on May 12th with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná (Boston University) and Hunter Hargraves (Cal State Fullerton) about his new book Uncomfortable Television (Duke University Press, 2023). Moderated by FQ editor-in-chief B. Ruby Rich.
Film Quarterly’s original webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications continued on March 6th with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná (Boston University) and Jean Ma (Stanford University) about her new book, At the Edges of Sleep: Moving Images and Somnolent Spectators (University of California Press, 2022). Moderated by FQ editor-in-chief B. Ruby Rich.
Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná interviews Jean Ma about her new book At the Edges of Sleep: Moving Images and Somnolent Spectators.
Best known for his prolific output and ability to work at the intersection of Hollywood and art cinema, Steven Soderbergh makes films that present diverse subject matter and formal styles. His 25 movies include the 1989 independent hit, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, social problem films (Erin Brockovich, 2000; Traffic, 2000; Che, 2008), deconstructions of genre (The Limey, 1999; Solaris, 2002; Haywire, 2011), digital video improvisation (Full Frontal, 2002; Bubble, 2005), and star-studded blockbusters (the Ocean’s trilogy 2001, 2004, 2007; Magic Mike, 2012).
The tropics really pop in Jean Renoir’s The River (1951), the first film to be shot in Technicolor in India. The film’s photographic depiction of a wet, verdant Bengal prompted Rumer Godden, author of the novel on which Renoir’s film is based, to complain that the film’s backgrounds had “swamped” its narrative with an “overabundance of Indian life and color.”1 In his memoirs, Renoir refers to scouting locations along the banks of the Hugli with his production designer, Eugène Lourié. There, Lourié discovered a palace that belonged to the maharaja of Gwalior, but its grounds were deemed insufficiently green. The lawn, yellowed somewhat by the summer sun, was torn out and a new one sown. Yet even the freshly grown grass wasn’t green enough for Renoir: on the day of filming, Claude Renoir (the director of photography and the director’s nephew) could be seen splashing the grass with green paint.
Let there be no ambiguity: the world has turned into a horror show, a modern-day political Grand Guignol of global proportions with an emerging Axis of Evil (Trump, Putin, al-Assad, and now, Bolsonaro in Brazil, to name only a few). Their bases are the virtual spaces of social media, their proscenium the many screens blanketing the planet with news alerts of the latest mass murder, police shooting, war-related atrocity, or xenophobic government policy. It has become all too common to see people look up from their laptops or phones and, with a hand clasped over their mouth, let out a guttural “Oh, my god.”
In 1998, Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner published an essay entitled “Sex in Public,” which now appears as the utopian vision of a bygone era. Drawing from Jürgen Habermas and Michel Foucault, Berlant and Warner called attention to the public mediation of sexuality in the United States and critiqued the heteronormative ideologies and institutions that hinged on a structural delineation of “personal life.” Where a hegemonic public sphere had been constituted by “a privatization of sex and the sexualization of private personhood,” so they argued, queer culture represented a world-making project involving the development of ephemeral, promiscuous, and often-criminal forms of intimacy—ones “that bear no necessary relation to domestic space, to kinship, to the couple form, to property, or to the nation.”