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Latest episodes from New Books in Film

Madeline Lane-McKinley, "Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing in Dystopian Times" (Common Notions, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 4, 2022 49:24


Comedy is so frequently the topic of cultural dialogue, but it is rarely taken seriously as an object of study. Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing in Dystopian Times (Common Notions, 2022) offers a major contribution to theorizing comedy but also thinking about the particular politics of the genre today. Work is a joke and often the butt of our jokes. Madeline Lane-McKinley argues that in comedy, we find ways to endure and cope with the world of work, but also to question the conditions of capitalist life. When work is slowly killing us and destroying the planet and, at the same time, something impossible to imagine life without, Lane-McKinley considers the possibility of comedy as a revolutionary practice. By appealing to laughter we can counteract many of our shared miseries under capitalism, including our relationship to work.  But to think through these revolutionary aspects of comedy, as a practice, also involves troubling comedy's relationship to the global right turn of the last decade. Stand-up comedy's claims to the artistic freedom of hate speech in comedy represent a fascistic current of our world today, blurring the boundaries between left and "alt" right. Against this current, Comedy Against Work draws from a tradition of feminist critical utopianism, Marxist-feminism, and contemporary cultural criticism to reflect on an anti-fascist poetics of comedy, grounded in a critique of work. In this conversation with host Annie Berke, Dr. Lane-McKinley discusses the origins of her project, her decision to include her own story and life in her academic analysis, and the comedic virtuosity of the feminist killjoy. Madeline Lane-McKinley is a writer, professor, and Marxist-feminist with a PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a founding member of Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, The New Inquiry, Entropy, GUTS, and Cultural Politics. She is also the author of the chapbook Dear Z and a contributor to The Museum of Capitalism. Annie Berke is the Film Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books and author of Their Own Best Creations: Women Writers in Postwar Television (University of California Press, 2022). Her scholarship and criticism has been published in Feminist Media Histories, Public Books, Literary Hub, The A.V. Club, and The Washington Post. She earned her PhD in Film/Media and America Studies from Yale University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Craig Oldham, "The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting" (Rough Trade Books, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2022 53:32


The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting (Rough Trade Books, 2022) is an immersive, multi-dimensional examination of one of the most famous films in cinematic history. This loose-leafed and beautifully boxed book—disguised as the ‘writing project' Jack is typing throughout the course of the film—explores the film's cultural legacy through exclusive essays, original recollections, contributions from cultural luminaries, and art and visual ephemera. Nathan Abrams is a professor of film at Bangor University in Wales. His most recent work is on film director Stanley Kubrick. To discuss and propose a book for interview you can reach him at n.abrams@bangor.ac.uk. Twitter: @ndabrams. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Stephen Galloway, "Truly, Madly: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and the Romance of the Century" (Grand Central, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2022 56:47


A sweeping and heartbreaking Hollywood biography about the passionate, turbulent marriage of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. In 1934, a friend brought fledgling actress Vivien Leigh to see Theatre Royal, where she would first lay eyes on Laurence Olivier in his brilliant performance as Anthony Cavendish. That night, she confided to a friend, he was the man she was going to marry. There was just one problem: She was already married—and so was he. Truly, Madly: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and the Romance of the Century (Grand Central, 2022) is the biography of a marriage, a love affair that still captivates millions, even decades after both actors' deaths. Vivien and Larry were two of the first truly global celebrities - their fame fueled by the explosive growth of tabloids and television, which helped and hurt them in equal measure. They seemed to have it all, and yet, in their own minds, they were doomed, blighted by her long-undiagnosed mental illness, which transformed their relationship from the stuff of dreams into a living nightmare. Through new research, including exclusive access to previously unpublished correspondence and interviews with their friends and family, author Stephen Galloway takes listeners on a bewitching journey. He brilliantly studies their tempestuous liaison, one that took place against the backdrop of two world wars, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and the upheavals of the 1960s –as they struggled with love, loss, and the ultimate agony of their parting. Stephen Galloway is the dean of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Prior to joining in 2020, he was for many years the executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O'Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found at https://fifteenminutefilm.podb... and on Twitter @15MinFilm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Carolyne Larrington, "All Men Must Die: Power and Passion in Game of Thrones" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 78:46


“All men must die”: or “Valar Morghulis,” as the traditional Essos greeting is rendered in High Valyrian. And die they do – in prodigious numbers; in imaginatively varied and gruesome ways; and often in terror within the viciously unpredictable world that is HBO's sensational evocation of Game of Thrones. As acclaimed medievalist Professor Carolyne Larrington writes in All Men Must Die: Power and Passion in Game of Thrones (Bloomsbury, 2021), the stories George R.R. Martin brings to life are epic in scope and in imaginative breadth, telling of the dramatic rise and fall of nations, the brutal sweeping away of old orders, and the advent of new autarchs in the eternal quest for dominion. Yet, as her book reveals, many potent and intimate narratives of love and passion can be found within these grand landscapes of heroism, honour, and death. They focus on strong relationships between women and family, as well as among the anti-heroes, the “cripples, bastards and broken things.” In this vital follow-up to her book, Winter Is Coming (also published by Bloomsbury), Larrington explores themes of power, blood-kin, lust, and sex in order to draw entirely fresh meanings out of the show of the century. Carolyne Larringon is Professor of Medieval Literature at University of Oxford, UK. She completed her DPhil in Old English and Old Norse at Oxford and now teaches Old and Middle English literature as well as English and Old Norse-Icelandic languages. Previous publications include books on Norse mythology and literature and another book on the series called Winter Is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones. Also, Professor Larrington has been awarded the Order of the Falcon by the President of Iceland for her services to Icelandic literature. Carrie Lynn Evans is currently a PhD student of English Literature with Université Laval in Quebec. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Joseph McBride, "Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge" (Columbia UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 87:11


The director and cowriter of some of the world's most iconic films―including Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment―Billy Wilder earned acclaim as American cinema's greatest social satirist. Though an influential fixture in Hollywood, Wilder always saw himself as an outsider. His worldview was shaped by his background in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and work as a journalist in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power, and his perspective as a Jewish refugee from Nazism lent his films a sense of the peril that could engulf any society. In this critical study, Joseph McBride offers new ways to understand Wilder's work, stretching from his days as a reporter and screenwriter in Europe to his distinguished as well as forgotten films as a Hollywood writer and his celebrated work as a writer-director. In contrast to the widespread view of Wilder as a hardened cynic, McBride reveals him to be a disappointed romantic. Wilder's experiences as an exile led him to mask his sensitivity beneath a veneer of wisecracking that made him a celebrated caustic wit. Amid the satirical barbs and exposure of social hypocrisies, Wilder's films are marked by intense compassion and a profound understanding of the human condition. Mixing biographical insight with in-depth analysis of films from throughout Wilder's career as a screenwriter and director of comedy and drama, and drawing on McBride's interviews with the director and his collaborators, this book casts new light on the full range of Wilder's rich, complex, and distinctive vision. Joseph McBride is a film historian and professor in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. His many books include the critical study How Did Lubitsch Do It? (Columbia, 2018) as well as acclaimed biographies of Frank Capra, John Ford, and Steven Spielberg and three books on Orson Welles. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Burt Kearns, "Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood's Real-Life Tough Guy" (UP of Kentucky, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022 47:45


In his latest book, Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood's Real-Life Tough Guy (The University of Kentucky Press, 2022) Burt Kearns explores the life of actor Lawrence Tierney (1919-2002) whose natural swagger and gruff disposition made him the perfect fit for the Hollywood "tough guy" archetype. Known for his erratic and oftentimes violent nature, Tierney drew upon his bellicose reputation throughout his career--a reputation that made him one of the most feared and mythologized characters in the industry. Born in Brooklyn to Irish American parents, Tierney worked in theatre in New York before moving to Hollywood in 1943 where he signed with RKO Radio Pictures. His biggest roles would come in Dillinger (1945), in which he played 1930s gangster and bank robber John Dillinger, and Robert Wise's film noir classic Born to Kill (1947). Despite his natural talents Tierney was trouble from the start, struggling with alcoholism and mental instability that emboldened him to start fights whenever and wherever he could. The continued bouts of alcohol-fueled rage, his subsequent stints in jail, and his continued attempts at rehabilitation curtailed his acting career.  Unable to find work throughout much of the 1960s, he did a stint in Europe before eventually returning to New York where he took odd jobs as a construction worker, bartender, and hansom cab driver. In the mid-1980s Tierney returned to acting. With a somewhat cooler head, he established himself again with recurring roles in shows such as Seinfeld and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He would take on his final projects as a septuagenarian in Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Armageddon (1998), where his on-set behavior would once again draw the ire of his colleagues and studio representatives. He would go down swinging just shy of his 83rd birthday, his tough-guy image solidly intact until the end. Kearns explores Tierney's storied life from his days as Dillinger, to his clash with Quentin Tarantino at the end of film career, and his final public appearances. The first official biography of the late personality, the book draws on the writings of Hollywood reporters and gossip columnists who first reported on Tierney's antics, and exclusive interviews with surviving colleagues, friends, family members--and victims. Through their words and his research, Kearns paints a portrait of Tierney's brutish behavior and the industry's reaction to the pugnacious star, drawing parallels--and the line--between the man and the characters that made him a Hollywood legend.  Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Jeanne Theoharis, "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" (Beacon Press, 2015)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022 62:30


The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Beacon Press, 2015) is the definitive political biography of Rosa Parks and the basis for a 2022 documentary, Theoharis's book examines Park's six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement.  This interview revisits the original book, as well as Dr. Theoharis's involvement as a consulting producer and participant in the documentary. The film premiered in 2022 at the Tribeca Film Festival and is currently streaming on Peacock Presenting a powerful corrective to the popular iconography of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who with a single act birthed the modern civil rights movement, scholar Jeanne Theoharis excavates Parks's political philosophy and six decades of activism. Theoharis masterfully details the political depth of a national heroine who dedicated her life to fighting American inequality and, in the process, resurrects a civil rights movement radical who has been hidden in plain sight far too long. Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University and an Associate Faculty member at University of Arizona Global Campus. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Cajetan Iheka, "African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics" (Duke UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 69:15


In African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics (Duke UP, 2021), Cajetan Iheka examines the ecological footprint of media in Africa alongside the representation of environmental issues in visual culture. Iheka shows how, through visual media such as film, photography, and sculpture, African artists deliver a unique perspective on the socioecological costs of media production, from mineral and oil extraction to the politics of animal conservation. Among other works, he examines Pieter Hugo's photography of electronic waste recycling in Ghana and Idrissou Mora-Kpai's documentary on the deleterious consequences of uranium mining in Niger. These works highlight not only the exploitation of African workers and the vast scope of environmental degradation but also the resourcefulness and creativity of African media makers. They point to the unsustainability of current practices while acknowledging our planet's finite natural resources. In foregrounding Africa's centrality to the production and disposal of media technology, Iheka shows the important place visual media has in raising awareness of and documenting ecological disaster even as it remains complicit in it. Dr. Cajetan Iheka is a Professor in the English Department at Yale University. Before African Ecomedia he published Naturalizing Africa: Ecological Violence, Agency, and Postcolonial Resistance in African Literature in 2018, which won two prizes - the Ecocriticism Book Award of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, and the African Literature Association First Book Prize. Dr. Iheka has also edited the volume, Teaching Postcolonial Environmental Literature and Media, and co-edited another titled African Migration Narratives: Politics, Race, and Space. Sara Katz is a Postdoctoral Associate in the History Department at Duke University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Bridget Kies and Megan Connor, "Fandom, the Next Generation" (U Iowa Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 40:59


In Fandom, the Next Generation (University of Iowa Press, 2022), Bridget Kies and Megan Connor have edited the first collection to offer a close study of fan generations, which are defined not only by fans' ages, but by their entry point into a canon or via their personal politics. Divided into three parts--Reboots, Revivals, and Nostalgia; Generations of Enduring Fandoms; and Generation Tensions--contributors further the conversation about how generational fandom is influenced by and, in turn, influences technologies, industry practices, and social and political changes. As reboot culture continues, as franchises continue expanding over time, and as new technologies enable easier access to older media, Fandom, the Next Generation offers a necessary investigation into transgenerational fandoms and intergenerational fan relationships. Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Jon Lewis, "The Godfather, Part II" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2022 65:05


Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) is a magisterial cinematic work, a gorgeous, stylized, auteur epic, and one of the few sequels judged by many to be greater than its predecessor. This despite the fact that it consists largely of meetings between aspiring 'Godfather' Michael Corleone and fellow gangsters, politicians and family members. The meetings remind us that the modern gangster's success is built upon inside information and on strategic planning. Michael and his father Vito's days resemble those of the legitimate businessmen they aspire or pretend to be. In his book The Godfather, Part II (Bloomsbury, 2022), Jon Lewis provides a close analysis of the film and a discussion of its cinematic and political contexts. It is structured in three sections: “The Sequel,” “The Dissolve,” and “The Sicilian Thing” – accommodating three avenues of inquiry, respectively: the film's importance in and to Hollywood history, its unique, auteur style and form; and its cultural significance. Of interest, then, is New Hollywood history, mise-en-scene, and a view of the Corleone saga as a cautionary capitalist parable, as a metaphor of the corruption of American power, post-Vietnam, post-Watergate. Jon Lewis is the University Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at Oregon State University and the former editor of Cinema Journal. His books include Road to Nowhere: Hollywood Encounters the Counterculture, Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles, The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture, Whom God Wishes to Destroy … Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood, Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry, and for the BFI's Film Classics series, The Godfather. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O'Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found at https://fifteenminutefilm.podb... and on Twitter @15MinFilm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Alan Shuback, "Hollywood at the Races: Film's Love Affair with the Turf" (UP of Kentucky, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2022 69:18


Today I talked to Alan Shuback about his book Hollywood at the Races: Film's Love Affair with the Turf (UP of Kentucky, 2019) A love of the slapstick film duo Laurel and Hardy led nine-year-old Alan Shuback into a chance encounter with thoroughbred horse racing in 1957. Racing soon also became a passion, and he never abandoned either love, making a career out of the latter as a transatlantic racing journalist. More recently, with Hollywood and racing both in decline in Shuback's eyes, he set out to document the close relationship between them during a golden era for both, encompassing the 1930s to the 1970s. In this intriguing interview, Shuback discusses anti-Semitism in the early days of Santa Anita, one of southern California's premier racetracks, which led to the formation of rival racecourse Hollywood Park; Louis B. Mayer's obsession with racing, producing one of America's most powerful racing stables and nearly leading to his firing from MGM; Fred Astaire's late-life marriage to a pioneering female jockey who was decades younger than him; and the role of films about horse racing in the broader culture. (For the record, at least 60 movies on the topic were released in the 1930s alone.) Finally, Shuback analyzes the decline of both industries. It's a sad note, but one that leaves you grateful for the memories. Rachel Pagones was a London-based journalist at the Racing Post from 2001-2009 and a racing columnist for the Financial Times from 2003-2009. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Bruce Davis, "The Academy and the Award: The Coming of Age of Oscar and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences" (Brandeis UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2022 66:54


Written by the former executive director of the Academy, this is the first behind-the-scenes history of the organization behind the Academy Awards.  For all the near-fanatic attention brought each year to the Awards, the organization that dispenses those awards--the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences--has never been well-understood. The organization itself has never produced a thorough account of its birth and its touch-and-go adolescence, and the few reports on those periods from outside have always had a glancing, cursory quality. Yet the story of the Academy's birth and maturation is a critical piece of Hollywood's history. Now that story is finally being told. Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy for over twenty years, was given unprecedented access to its archives, and the result is a revealing and compelling story of the men and women, famous and infamous, who shaped one of the best-known organizations in the world. No one has ever written about the Academy with as intimate a view of its workings, its awards, and its world-famous membership. Thorough and long overdue, The Academy and the Award: The Coming of Age of Oscar and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Brandeis UP, 2022) fills in a crucial gap in Hollywood history. Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University and an Associate Faculty member at University of Arizona Global Campus. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Shaken and Stirred

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2022 63:28


We couldn't do a season on the Cold War without talking about Bond . . . James Bond. He was there from the beginning and has of course survived into the post-Cold War era. So many films, so many Bonds. We've talked about nuclear warfare, espionage and intrigue, evil deep state corporations and corrupt national security institutions, and human stories of love and loss behind the Iron Curtain. Bond's been through it all. Our films cover four Bonds - Sean Connery's From Russia With Love (1963), Roger Moore's For Your Eyes Only (1981), and Pierce Brosnan's Goldeneye (1995). We end with a discussion of the post-9/11 Bond, Daniel Craig, especially 2012's Skyfall. We demonstrate how Bond transcends the Cold War, acts as an avatar for a Britain that no longer exists, and, despite a number of cosmetic changes after 9/11, demonstrates surprising continuity over 60 years. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Laura A. Frahm, "Design in Motion: Film Experiments at the Bauhaus" (MIT Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2022 95:10


Design in Motion: Film Experiments at the Bauhaus (MIT Press, 2022) provides the first comprehensive history of film experiments at the Bauhaus, the famous art school that operated between 1919 and 1933 and was located in Weimar, before moving to Dessau and later to Berlin. While the Bauhaus is commonly associated with the development of modern architecture and industrial design, Design in Motion focuses on film, and demonstrates how the cinematic medium became a proving ground for some of the school's most innovative work. Laura Frahm is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University. Frahm's work explores film and media through the lens of architecture, design, spatial theory, ecological thought, and process philosophy. In addition to her latest book Design in Motion: Film Experiments at the Bauhaus (2022), she is the author of Beyond Space: Cinematic Topologies of the Urban (2010), Moving Spaces: Spatial Configurations in Music Videos by Jonathan Glazer, Chris Cunningham, Mark Romanek, and Michel Gondry (2007) and Introduction to Media Cultural Studies (co-edited, 2005). Iva Glisic is a historian and art historian specialising in modern Russia and the Balkans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Joseph McBride, "The Whole Durn Human Comedy: Life According to the Coen Brothers" (Anthem Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2022 63:59


The Coen Bros. have attracted a wide following and have been rewarded with Oscars and other honors. Some of their films such as Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and No Country for Old Men are cult favorites and box office hits. Yet this team of filmmaking brothers remains misunderstood in some critical circles, partly because, like John Ford, they mischievously refuse to explain themselves to interviewers, preferring to let their work speak for itself. Ethan and Joel Coen also delight in unsettling cinematic conventions and confounding audiences while raising disturbing questions about human nature. Mixing film genres and styles, playing with narrative in postmodernist ways, the Coens' films display shocking tonal shifts as they blend comedy and drama and, most controversially, comedy and violence. This potent mélange of themes and stylistic approaches makes the Coens' films adventurous, unpredictable probes into social anxieties and reflections on the omnipresence of evil in the modern world. In their trenchant satire, these brilliant writer-directors are heirs to Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder, and as satirists tend to do, the Coens sometimes provoke audience anger and incomprehension along with enjoyment of their penchant for black comedy. In The Whole Durn Human Comedy: Life According to the Coen Brothers (Anthem Press, 2022), film historian and critic Joseph McBride jousts with the Coens' detractors while defining the filmmakers' freshness and originality. The quirkily individualistic Coens are the kind of personal filmmakers the increasingly conglomerated American cinema rarely fosters anymore, a distinction partly attributable to their following in Europe and their partial financing by European sources. This critical study goes beyond the often-superficial and confused nature of Coen criticism to illuminate their artistic personalities and contributions to cinematic culture. Nathan Abrams is a professor of film at Bangor University in Wales. His most recent work is on film director Stanley Kubrick. To discuss and propose a book for interview you can reach him at n.abrams@bangor.ac.uk. Twitter: @ndabrams Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Larry Ceplair, "The Hollywood Motion Picture Blacklist: Seventy-Five Years Later" (UP of Kentucky, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 58:15


Seventy-five years ago, the Hollywood blacklist ruined lives, stifled creativity, and sent waves of proscription and censorship throughout United States culture. When the Hollywood Ten refused to answer the questions of the House Committee on Un-American Activities about their membership in the Communist Party, they were sentenced to prison, the five who were under contract were fired by their studios, and all were blacklisted from reemployment until they "purged themselves of their communist taint." By the 1950s, this blacklist publicly stigmatized nearly three hundred other Americans in the entertainment industry who invoked the First and Fifth Amendments in their refusal to apologize for their Communist ties or provide the names of other members. Dozens of others were graylisted as the result of rumors. In The Hollywood Motion Picture Blacklist: Seventy-Five Years Later (University Press of Kentucky, 2022), Larry Ceplair offers new insights on the origins of the blacklist, the characteristics of those blacklisted, and the probability of future proscriptions of the blacklist type. Larry Ceplair is professor emeritus of history at Santa Monica College, California. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Mallory Lewis and Nat Segaloff, "Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop: The Team That Changed Children's TV" (UP of Kentucky, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 31:45


Two decades after Lewis and Lamb Chop last graced television with their presence, Lewis' daughter Mallory and author Nat Segaloff have set the record straight about the iconic pair in Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop: The Team that Changed Children's Television (University of Kentucky Press, 2022). For almost half a century, celebrated ventriloquist and entertainer Shari Lewis delighted generations of children and adults with the help of her trusted sock puppet sidekick Lamb Chop. For decades, the beloved pair were synonymous with children's television, educating and entrancing their young audience with their symbiotic personalities and their proclivity for song, dance, and the joy of silliness. But as iconic as their television personas were, relatively little inside knowledge has been revealed about Lewis herself and the life-changing moments that led her to the entertainment industry and perhaps, most importantly, to Lamb Chop.  Renowned for her skills as a performer, Lewis was an equally skilled businesswoman. Operating in an era when women were largely left out of the conversation, she was one of the few women to run her own television production company. Whether it was singing, dancing, conducting, writing, drawing, or ventriloquism-a skill in which she was virtually unmatched-Lewis spent the entirety of her 65 years in pursuit of performative perfection. Constantly innovating and adapting to the needs of her audience and the market, Lewis extended the longevity of her career decade after decade. Her contributions, and that of Lamb Chop, and the rest of her puppet pals forever changed the history of children's television. In this seminal biography, the pair pull the veritable wool from the eyes of audiences who adored the legendary entertainer to examine the joys, sorrows, triumphs, and sheer hard work that gave Lewis and Lamb Chop their enduring star power. To learn more, visit Mallory Lewis here.  Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Shall We Play A Game?

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 51:12


Remember Khrushchev-Nixon Kitchen Debate? America recognized its consumer culture was a Cold War weapon. By the early 80s, the home computer in the hands of teenagers further demonstrated American dominance on the economic and cultural fronts. But what happens when teenagers check out of real life and responsibilities too much? We look at films that can be taken as cautionary tales about the dangers of teenagers (or young adults) who don't take the Cold War seriously. The focus is on the seemingly apolitical, irresponsible and anti-social nature of the modern, video game playing white, affluent American youth. Our more serious films are Wargames, from 1983, and The Falcon and the Snowman, from 1985. But we also throw in a little bit of The Last Starfighter (1984) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) just to spice things up. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Hongwei Bao, "Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture Under Postsocialism" (Routledge, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 58:40


In Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture Under Postsocialism (Routledge, 2020), associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Nottingham Hongwei Bao returns with a theory-driven, methodologically-diverse, empathetic, and insightful analysis of LGBTQ literature and visual culture in postsocialist China. A thorough introduction positions Bao as a participant observer and explores key concepts including “postsocialist metamorphosis,” defined as “the transformation of subjectivity, desire and sense of belonging in the postsocialist era” (4). After exploring the history of homosexuality's (re-)emergence in China's reform era by tracing public, intellectual discourse, Bao counters the misperception that Chinese gay and lesbian identities are the result of the influence of global (Western) gay culture. Instead, he identifies a variety of gender and sexual subjectivities unique to China's postsocialist conditions and historical context. Each chapter then explores rich case studies from queer China, touching upon a wide variety of cultural production types. From poetry to papercutting art, from comrade (tongzhi)/gay literature to girls' love fan fiction, from lesbian films to activist documentaries, and from a drag show in Shanghai to a public performance of a same-sex wedding in Beijing, Queer China provides unique analysis and insights and also acts as an archive of queer cultural production in postsocialist China. Laurie Dickmeyer is an Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University, where she teaches courses in Asian and US history. Her research concerns nineteenth century US-China relations. She can be reached at laurie.dickmeyer@angelo.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Andrei Nae, "Immersion, Narrative, and Gender Crisis in Survival Horror Video Games" (Routledge, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 55:28


Andrei Nae's book Immersion, Narrative, and Gender Crisis in Survival Horror Video Games (Routledge, 2021) investigates the narrativity of some of the most popular survival horror video games and the gender politics implicit in their storyworlds. In a thorough analysis of the genre that draws upon detailed comparisons with the mainstream action genre, Andrei Nae places his analysis firmly within a political and social context. In comparing survival horror games to the dominant game design norms of the action genre, the author differentiates between classical and postclassical survival horror games to show how the former reject the norms of the action genre and deliver a critique of the conservative gender politics of action games, while the latter are more heterogeneous in terms of their game design and, implicitly, gender politics. Rudolf Inderst is a professor of Game Design with a focus on Digital Game Studies at the IU International University of Applied Science and editor of “Game Studies Watchlist”, a weekly messenger newsletter about Game Culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Kyle Stevens, "The Oxford Handbook of Film Theory" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 64:14


Despite changes in the media landscape, film remains a vital force in contemporary culture, as do our ideas of what "a movie" or "the cinematic" are. Indeed, we might say that the category of film now only exists in theory. Whereas film-theoretical discussion at the turn of the 21st century was preoccupied, understandably, by digital technology's permeation of virtually all aspects of the film object, this volume moves the conversation away from a focus on film's materiality towards timely questions concerning the ethics, politics, and even aesthetics of thinking about the medium of cinema. To put it another way, The Oxford Handbook of Film Theory (Oxford UP, 2022), edited by Kyle Stevens, narrows in on the subject of film, not with a nostalgic sensibility, but with the recognition that what constitutes a film is historically contingent, in dialogue with the vicissitudes of entertainment, art, and empire. The volume is divided into six sections: Meta-Theory; Film Theory's Project of Emancipation; Apparatus and Perception; Audiovisuality; How Close is Close Reading?; and The Turn to Experience. Kyle Stevens is the author of Mike Nichols: Sex, Language, and the Reinvention of Psychological Realism. His work has appeared in Critical Inquiry, Cultural Critique, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Adaptation, Critical Quarterly, New Review of Film and Television Studies, World Picture, and several edited collections. He is Associate Professor of Film Studies at Appalachian State University. Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Scott Bukatman, "Black Panther" (U Texas Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2022 72:24


Black Panther was the first Black superhero in mainstream American comics. Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon that broke box office records. Yet it wasn't just a movie led by and starring Black artists. It grappled with ideas and conflicts central to Black life in America and helped redress the racial dynamics of the Hollywood blockbuster. Scott Bukatman, one of the foremost scholars of superheroes and cinematic spectacle, brings his impeccable pedigree to this lively and accessible study, finding in the utopianism of Black Panther (University of Texas Press, 2022) a way of re-envisioning what a superhero movie can and should be while centering the Black creators, performers, and issues behind it. He considers the superheroic Black body; the Pan-African fantasy, feminism, and Afrofuturism of Wakanda; the African American relationship to Africa; the political influence of director Ryan Coogler's earlier movies; and the entwined performances of Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa and Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger. Bukatman argues that Black Panther is escapism of the best kind, offering a fantasy of liberation and social justice while demonstrating the power of popular culture to articulate ideals and raise vital questions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Wolverines!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2022 56:07


This episode and the next look back at films that came out in the 1980s, a decade when Hollywood seemed to cater to teenage audiences like never before. So it makes sense that the geo-political structure that shaped and influenced so much of global political action - the Cold War - would show up in movies targeting teen audiences. In the broader media landscape, the question was being asked: Could these post-Vietnam teenagers hack the reality of conflict like their dads and granddads had to? We break down two films about teenagers as soldiers - Taps, released in 1981, and Red Dawn, released in 1984. In both cases, what we see is a conversation about American military culture, whether it can still be counted on when times get tough. And if it can't, if America's youth reject it, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Diane Negra, "Shadow of a Doubt" (Auteur, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2022 62:30


Today I talked to Diane Negra about Shadow of a Doubt (Auteur, 2021). Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was British-born Alfred Hitchcock's fifth American film and the one that he at various times identified as his favourite and his best. This scrupulously organized film operates as a masterclass on principles of narrative design while generating resonant commentary on the nature of family life.  Negra is Professor of Film Studies and Screen Culture at University College Dublin. Analysing the film's narrative system, issues of genre, authorship, social history, homesickness and 'family values', Negra shows how the film's impeccable narrative structure is wedded to radical ideological content, linking the film's terrors to the punishing effects of looking beyond conventional family and gender roles. This book redresses the deficit of sustained critical attention paid to Shadow even in the large corpus of Hitchcock scholarship. Finally it understands Shadow as an unconventionally female-centred Hitchcock text and a milestone film that marks the director's emergent engagement with the pathologies of violence in American life and opens a window into the placement of femininity in World War II consensus culture and more broadly into the politics of mid-century gender and family life. Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Erin Keane, "Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me" (Belt Publishing, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2022 71:35


From Erin Keane, editor in chief at Salon, comes Runaway: Notes in the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing, 2022), a touching memoir about the search for truths in the stories families tell. In 1970, Erin Keane's mother ran away from home for the first time. She was thirteen years old. Over the next several years, and under two assumed identities, she hitchhiked her way across America, experiencing freedom, hardship, and tragedy. At fifteen, she met a man in New York City and married him. He was thirty-six. Though a deft balance of journalistic digging, cultural criticism, and poetic reimagining, Keane pieces together the true story of her mother's teenage years, questioning almost everything she's been told about her parents and their relationship. Along the way, she also considers how pop culture has kept similar narratives alive in her. At stake are some of the most profound questions we can ask ourselves: What's true? What gets remembered? Who gets to tell the stories that make us who we are? Whether it's talking about painful family history, #MeToo, Star Wars, true crime forensics, or The Gilmore Girls, Runaway is an unforgettable look at all the different ways the stories we tell--both personal and pop cultural--create us.  Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Alexander Sergeant, "Encountering the Impossible: The Fantastic in Hollywood Fantasy Cinema" (SUNY Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2022 66:30


Hollywood fantasy cinema is responsible for some of the most lucrative franchises produced over the past two decades, yet it remains difficult to find popular or critical consensus on what the experience of watching fantasy cinema actually entails. What makes something a fantasy film, and what unique pleasures does the genre offer?  In Encountering the Impossible: The Fantastic in Hollywood Fantasy Cinema (SUNY Press, 2021) Alexander Sergeant solves the riddle of the fantasy film by theorizing the underlying experience of imagination alluded to in scholarly discussions of the genre. Drawing principally on the psychoanalysis of Melanie Klein and D. W. Winnicott, Sergeant considers the way in which fantasy cinema rejects Hollywood's typically naturalistic mode of address to generate an alternative experience that Sergeant refers to as the fantastic, a way of approaching cinema that embraces the illusory nature of the medium as part of the pleasure of the experience. Analyzing such canonical Hollywood fantasy films as The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life, Mary Poppins, Conan the Barbarian, and The Lord of the Rings movies, Sergeant theorizes how fantasy cinema provides a unique film experience throughout its ubiquitous presence in the history of Hollywood film production. Encountering the Impossible has been shortlisted for the 2022 Best First Monograph Award presented by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies Alexander Sergeant is Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth. He is the coeditor (with Christopher Holliday) of Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres, which was Runner Up for Best Collection at the 2019 BAFTSS (British Association for Television & Screen Studies) awards. He is the founder of Fantasy-Animation.org and co-host of the Fantasy/Animation podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Ramzi Fawaz, "Queer Forms" (NYU Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2022 61:36


Ramzi Fawaz, Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has a new book that weaves together the more contemporary history of feminism and women's liberation, the gay liberation movement, feminist and queer theory, and iconic popular culture artifacts in order to understand gendered and sexual forms in context of gender and sexual fluidity. This is a brilliant book, interdisciplinary in scope and approach, taking the reader on a journey through theoretical frameworks and interpretive understandings of where we often see queer forms, and what we think about those forms. Fawaz notes that he is working to tell a story, interpreting cultural artifacts to forefront the ideas from feminist and queer theory, knitting these approaches together to guide us through a fascinating understanding of what we see when we watch films, or television, or read comics, or enjoy Broadway performances. These interpretations provide us with ways of seeing identity and shape within narrative forms and creative storytelling. But Fawaz is also pushing against an excess of thinking that all identities and forms are fluid—instead, Queer Forms (NYU Press, 2022) examines the capacity of identity and forms to, essentially, shapeshift, which is not the same as being fluid, since shapeshifting is an adaption, and thus is not without form itself. Form has little meaning until or unless they are/it is interpreted by others. The thrust of the work that Fawaz is doing in Queer Forms ultimately is about freedom and how we can each exist as free individuals, especially when there are often social and legal rules that constrain us as individuals with distinct identities that traverse a host of markers and qualities. Popular culture artifacts can provide the room and opportunity to imagine identities in different forms and contexts. Queer Forms provides the reader with an archive of culture forms as a kind of gift, helping us to see and understand how we might interpret or reinterpret the queer and feminist past so that we approach our daily contemporary life with that understanding. Fawaz explains the variegated theories that frame these interpretations and gets at this historical foundation—especially of the liberation movements in the 1960s and 1970s—in order to engage in a valuable consideration of freedom. Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Bonus Episode: A Conversation about Past Episodes and Current Events

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2022 36:29


Lia and Brian revisit the first two seasons of Lies Agreed Upon for new listeners. Their conversation relates some specific episodes to current events in 2022. The first season traced the long cultural shadow of 9/11 in films about historical events. How did 9/11 influence our collective memory about ancient history and the Middle East? What about McCarthyism? Other incidents of terrorism? And how did Hollywood eventually take on the event itself? Season two is about revolutions and revolutionaries. From the American Revolution to the Bolshevik Revolution to feminists and labor organizers, Hollywood is always attracted to human stories amid great upheaval. What happens to our myths when we look at history from below? How do we incorporate the darker side of the mythologized American Revolution at a time when the history wars rage in public schools. And how does Vladimir Putin's manipulation of imperial and revolutionary Russian history stack up against the reality of his regime? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Eran Kaplan, "Projecting the Nation: History and Ideology on the Israeli Screen" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022 64:10


Eran Kaplan's book Projecting the Nation: History and Ideology on the Israeli Screen (Rutgers UP, 2020) is a wide-ranging history of over seven decades of Israeli cinema. The only book in English to offer this type of historical scope was Ella Shohat's Israeli Cinema: East West and the Politics of Representation from 1989. Since 1989, however, Israeli cinema and Israeli society have undergone some crucial transformations and, moreover, Shohat's book offered a single framework through which to judge Israeli cinema: a critique of orientalism. Projecting the Nation contends that Israeli cinema offers much richer historical and ideological perspectives that expose the complexity of the Israeli project. By analyzing Israeli films which address such issues as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi divide, the kibbutz and urban life, the rise of religion in Israeli public life and more, the book explores the way cinema has represented and also shaped our understanding of the history of modern Israel as it evolved from a collectivist society to a society where individualism and adherence to local identities is the dominant ideology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Jennifer Wenzel, "The Disposition of Nature: Environmental Crisis and World Literature" (Fordham UP, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2022 53:04


How do literature and other cultural forms shape how we imagine the planet, for better or worse? In this rich, original, and long awaited book, Jennifer Wenzel tackles the formal innovations, rhetorical appeals, and sociological imbrications of world literature that might help us confront unevenly distributed environmental crises, including global warming. The Disposition of Nature: Environmental Crisis and World Literature (Fordham UP, 2019) argues that assumptions about what nature is are at stake in conflicts over how it is inhabited or used. Both environmental discourse and world literature scholarship tend to confuse parts and wholes. Working with writing and film from Africa, South Asia, and beyond, Wenzel takes a contrapuntal approach to sites and subjects dispersed across space and time. Reading for the planet, Wenzel shows, means reading from near to there: across experiential divides, between specific sites, at more than one scale. Impressive in its disciplinary breadth, Wenzel's book fuses insights from political ecology, geography, anthropology, history, and law, while drawing on active debates between postcolonial theory and world literature, as well as scholarship on the Anthropocene and the material turn. In doing so, the book shows the importance of the literary to environmental thought and practice, elaborating how a supple understanding of cultural imagination and narrative logics can foster more robust accounts of global inequality and energize movements for justice and livable futures. Jennifer Wenzel teaches at Columbia University.  Gargi Binju is a researcher at the University of Tübingen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Pamela Robertson Wojcik, "Gidget: Origins of a Teen Girl Transmedia Franchise" (Routledge, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2022 68:13


Gidget: Origins of a Teen Girl Transmedia Franchise (Routledge, 2022) examines the multiplicity of books, films, TV shows, and merchandise that make up the transmedia Gidget universe from the late 1950s to the 1980s. The book examines the Gidget phenomenon as an early and unique teen girl franchise that expands understanding of both teen girlhood and transmedia storytelling. It locates the film as existing at the historical intersection of numerous discourses and events, including the emergence of surf culture and surf films; the rise of California as signifier of modernity and as the epicentre of white American middle-class teen culture; the annexation of Hawaii; the invention of Barbie; and Hollywood's reluctant acceptance of teen culture and teen audiences. Each chapter places the Gidget text in context, looking at production and reception circumstances and intertexts such as the novels of Françoise Sagan, the Tammy series, La Dolce Vita, and The Patty Duke Show, to better understand Gidget's meaning at different points in time. This book explores many aspects of Gidget, providing an invaluable insight into this iconic franchise for students and researchers in film studies, feminist media studies, and youth culture. Peter C. Kunze is a visiting assistant professor of communication at Tulane University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

The Two Russias

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2022 54:41


In the late 1980s, Hollywood reflected the real world thaw in the Cold War by depicting the idea of two Russias: the cold bureaucratic state run by grey men intent on propping up a crumbling regime, and the beautiful, little known country of real, everyday Russians who live rich and full lives despite it all. Our three films this week show the two Russias in different ways and in different stages of the 1980s Cold War. White Nights, the story of a Russian ballet dancer who defected to America and is forced to return, came out in December 1985. The Hunt for Red October, based on a 1984 Tom Clancy novel, was released in March 1990, a few months after the world changed. The Russia House, based on John le Carre's 1989 novel came out Christmas Day, 1990, exactly one year before the Soviet Union closed up shop for good. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Cinema's First Nasty Women

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 77:03


What makes a nasty woman? Is it her unwillingness to break to the stringent standards of patriarchy, her gameness to get rough, even abject? Or is it the way she reminds polite society that the sweet, gentle screen martyr (the nasty woman's counterpart) is a fiction too, as much a trick and a dupe as an exploding housemaid on celluloid? And what a surprise—and what a treat—to discover cinema's earliest days are among their nastiest. Coming from Kino Lorber this December, “this four-disc set showcase more than fourteen hours of rarely seen silent films about feminist protest, slapstick rebellion, and suggestive gender play. These women organize labor strikes, bake (and weaponize) inedible desserts, explode out of chimneys, electrocute the police force, and assume a range of identities that gleefully dismantle traditional gender norms and sexual constraints. The films span a variety of genres including slapstick comedy, genteel farce, the trick film, cowboy melodrama, and adventure thriller. Cinema's First Nasty Women includes 99 European and American silent films, produced from 1898 to 1926, sourced from thirteen international film archives and libraries, with all-new musical scores, video introductions, commentary tracks, and a lavishly illustrated booklet.” Host Annie Berke sits down with the curators of this set, Drs. Maggie Hennefeld and Laura Horak, and Ms. Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, to discuss how this project came to be, the steps they took to ensure an anti-racist program, and if the “nasty woman” spirit lives on in the mediascape of the present. Maggie Hennefeld is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature and McKnight Presidential Fellow at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is author of Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes (Columbia UP, 2018), co-editor of the journal Cultural Critique (UMN Press), co-editor of two volumes: Unwatchable (Rutgers UP, 2019) and Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence (Duke UP, 2020). Laura Horak is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University and director of the Transgender Media Lab. She is author of Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressing Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema (Rutgers UP, 2016) and co-editor of Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (Indiana UP, 2014), Unwatchable (Rutgers UP, 2019), a special issue of Somatechnics on trans/cinematic/bodies and an In Focus section of the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies on “Transing Cinema and Media Studies.” Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi is the Curator of Silent film at Eye Filmmuseum, the national film archive of the Netherlands. Graduated from University of Amsterdam, Film&TV Studies in 1997 and employed since 1999 at Eye, she has worked on the discovery, restoration and presentation of many presumed lost films. She is responsible for the preservation and presentation of Eye's silent film holdings, including among others the Desmet Collection (1907-1916) and the Mutoscope & Biograph Collection (1896-1902). Annie Berke is the film editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books and author of Their Own Best Creations: Women Writers in Postwar Television (University of California Press, 2022). Her scholarship and criticism have been published in Literary Hub, Feminist Media Histories, Public Books, Jacobin, and the Washington Post. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Usha Iyer, "Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2022 66:14


Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema (Oxford UP, 2020), an ambitious study of two of South Asia's most popular cultural forms ― cinema and dance ― historicizes and theorizes the material and cultural production of film dance, a staple attraction of popular Hindi cinema. It explores how the dynamic figurations of the body wrought by cinematic dance forms from the 1930s to the 1990s produce unique constructions of gender, sexuality, stardom, and spectacle. By charting discursive shifts through figurations of dancer-actresses, their publicly performed movements, private training, and the cinematic and extra-diegetic narratives woven around their dancing bodies, the book considers the "women's question" via new mobilities corpo-realized by dancing women.  Some of the central figures animating this corporeal history are Azurie, Sadhona Bose, Vyjayanthimala, Helen, Waheeda Rehman, Madhuri Dixit, and Saroj Khan, whose performance histories fold and intersect with those of other dancing women, including devadasis and tawaifs, Eurasian actresses, oriental dancers, vamps, choreographers, and backup dancers. Through a material history of the labor of producing on-screen dance, theoretical frameworks that emphasize collaboration, such as the “choreomusicking body” and “dance musicalization,” aesthetic approaches to embodiment drawing on treatises like the Natya Sastra and the Abhinaya Darpana, and formal analyses of cine-choreographic “techno-spectacles,” Dancing Women offers a variegated, textured history of cinema, dance, and music. Tracing the gestural genealogies of film dance produces a very different narrative of Bombay cinema, and indeed of South Asian cultural modernities, by way of a corporeal history co-choreographed by a network of remarkable dancing women. Pratichi Priyambada is a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine. She is broadly interested in histories of performance, gender and sexuality, and colonial law. She can be reached at @rhymingrhythm on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Samhita Sunya, "Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema via Bombay" (U California Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2022 57:47


Hello, world! This is the Global Media & Communication podcast series. In this inaugural episode, our host Aswin Punathambekar speaks with Samhita Sunya, the author of the book Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema via Bombay (U California Press, 2022). In this episode you'll hear about: Dr. Sunya's intellectual trajectory in studying South Asian cinema from Houston to Bangalore, Bombay, and beyond; How the periodization of the “long” 1960s – bookended by the 1955 Bandung Afro-Asian Conference and the 1975 Indian Emergency – comes into view through the author's interdisciplinary approach; How Dr. Sunya works her way through and out of a popular binary misunderstanding of Indian cinema - a familiar opposition between an auteurist world cinema and song-and-dance driven popular cinema; Why the author chooses what would be considered oddball or off-beat media artifacts, what kinds of sources she gathers in relation to these materials, and where she looks for them in creative ways; Reflection upon the pedagogy of world cinema in the classroom; A discussion of the notion of “excess” and how it is weaved into the three central themes – love, desire, and gender – that emerge throughout the book; How Dr. Sunya's cross-industry and trans-regional perspective counter the spatial biases that are deeply ingrained into the disciplinary boundaries; A reflection on the nature of academic work through the lens of “love” on topics like world cinema and South Asia. About the Book By the 1960s, Hindi-language films from Bombay were in high demand not only for domestic and diasporic audiences but also for sizable non-diasporic audiences across Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean world. Often confounding critics who painted the song-dance films as noisy and nonsensical. if not dangerously seductive and utterly vulgar, Bombay films attracted fervent worldwide viewers precisely for their elements of romance, music, and spectacle. In this richly documented history of Hindi cinema during the long 1960s, Samhita Sunya historicizes the emergence of world cinema as a category of cinematic diplomacy that formed in the crucible of the Cold War. Interwoven with this history is an account of the prolific transnational circuits of popular Hindi films alongside the efflorescence of European art cinema and Cold War–era forays of Hollywood abroad. By following archival leads and threads of argumentation within commercial Hindi films that seem to be odd cases—flops, remakes, low-budget comedies, and prestige productions—this book offers a novel map for excavating the historical and ethical stakes of world cinema and world-making via Bombay. You can find the open access version of Dr. Sunya's book through Luminosoa.org at the University of California Press website. Author Bio: Samhita Sunya is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of Virginia. Host Bio: Aswin Punathambekar is a Professor of Communication and Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Editor & Producer Bio: Jing Wang. She is Senior Research Manager at CARGC at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Original Background Music by Mengyang Zoe Zhao. Our podcast is part of the multimodal project powered by the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. At CARGC, we produce and promote critical, interdisciplinary, and multimodal research on global media and communication. We aim to bridge academic scholarship and public life, bringing the very best scholarship to bear on enduring global questions and pressing contemporary issues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Jean-Thomas Tremblay, "Breathing Aesthetics" (Duke UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2022 64:40


In Breathing Aesthetics (Duke University Press (2022), Jean-Thomas Tremblay argues that difficult breathing indexes the uneven distribution of risk in a contemporary era marked by the increasing contamination, weaponization, and monetization of air. Tremblay shows how biopolitical and necropolitical forces tied to the continuation of extractive capitalism, imperialism, and structural racism are embodied and experienced through respiration. They identify responses to the crisis in breathing in aesthetic practices ranging from the film work of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta to the disability diaries of Bob Flanagan, to the Black queer speculative fiction of Renee Gladman. In readings of these and other minoritarian works of experimental film, endurance performance, ecopoetics, and cinema-vérité, Tremblay contends that articulations of survival now depend on the management and dispersal of respiratory hazards. In so doing, they reveal how an aesthetic attention to breathing generates historically, culturally, and environmentally situated tactics and strategies for living under precarity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Cold War Homefront

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2022 63:10


We could do a whole season on Vietnam war films, but in this episode we chose three films that highlight the Cold War's omnipresence in daily life. You wouldn't associate any of these films with how Vietnam figured into the Cold War dynamic because they are about the homefront. The Deer Hunter (1978), Coming Home (1978), and Da Five Bloods (2020) are reminders (or are they revelations?) that the Vietnam War deeply wounded American society from top to bottom. Whether it's working class immigrants in rural Pennsylvania, severely wounded veterans and their caretakers, or Black and Brown soldiers contending with racism and shattered lives decades removed from the war, our three films depict the Cold War homefront in vivid detail. We often think of the Cold War as an impersonal contest between global powers that nearly ended the world, but the Vietnam War was incredibly personal for millions of Americans and Vietnamese. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Catherine Lester, "Horror Films for Children: Fear and Pleasure in American Cinema" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 63:27


Children and horror are often thought to be an incompatible meeting of audience and genre, beset by concerns that children will be corrupted or harmed through exposure to horror media. Nowhere is this tension more clear than in horror films for adults, where the demonic child villain is one of the genre's most enduring tropes. However, horror for children is a unique category of contemporary Hollywood cinema in which children are addressed as an audience with specific needs, fears and desires, and where child characters are represented as sympathetic protagonists whose encounters with the horrific lead to cathartic, subversive and productive outcomes. Horror Films for Children: Fear and Pleasure in American Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2021) examines the history, aesthetics and generic characteristics of children's horror films, and identifies the 'horrific child' as one of the defining features of the genre, where it is as much a staple as it is in adult horror but with vastly different representational, interpretative and affective possibilities. Through analysis of case studies including blockbuster hits (Gremlins), cult favourites (The Monster Squad) and indie darlings (Coraline), Catherine Lester asks, what happens to the horror genre, and the horrific children it represents, when children are the target audience? Peter C. Kunze is a visiting assistant professor of communication at Tulane University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2022 73:45


Last episode we discussed films about how a nuclear war would start, particularly the insane logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In this episode we explore how American, British, and Australian filmmakers imagined the unimaginable - Armageddon and the literal and figurative fallout. We look at On the Beach (1959), The Day After (1983), and Threads (1984). We challenge the conventional wisdom that the West only seriously worried about nuclear after the Cuban Missile Crisis, provide some background on the history of anti-nuclear social movements, and compare how these three unforgettable films chose to depict nuclear destruction. How accurate were they? Did they make a difference? And, how many of us are still traumatized by seeing them? Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Jon Krampner, "Ernest Lehman: The Sweet Smell of Success" (UP of Kentucky, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2022 60:43


A Hollywood screenwriting and movie-making icon, Ernest Lehman penned some of the most memorable scenes to ever grace the silver screen. Hailed by Vanity Fair as “perhaps the greatest screenwriter in history,” Lehman's work on films such as North by Northwest, The King and I, Sabrina, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music helped define a generation of movie making. But while his talent took center stage, the public knew little of Lehman himself, a native of Manhattan's Upper West Side and the Five Towns of Long Island devoted to his wife of 50 years. His relentless perfectionism, hypochondria and all-night writing sessions fueled by tequila and grilled cheese sandwiches were some of the quirks that made Lehman a legend in the Hollywood community. In Ernest Lehman: The Sweet Smell of Success (UP of Kentucky, 2022), author Jon Krampner lays bare the life of this lauded yet elusive character. Moving seamlessly from post-production meetings to sound stages and onto the locations of Lehman's greatest films, Krampner's extensive biography brings to life the genius and singularity of the revered screenwriter's personality and the contributions he made to the world of cinema. Jon Krampner is the author of The Man in the Shadows: Fred Coe and the Golden Age of Television, Female Brando: The Legend of Kim Stanley, and Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O'Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found at https://fifteenminutefilm.podb... and on Twitter @15MinFilm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

A MAD, MAD, World

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 59:11


The world lived under the shadow of the acronym MAD for forty years. Mutually Assured Destruction was no laughing matter, but Stanley Kubrick thought dark comedy was the only way to approach a topic as ridiculous as MAD. In this episode we compare and contrast Dr. Strangelove (1964) with Failsafe, a serious film about the same subject that came out the same year. We reveal just how spot on Dr. Strangelove was about MAD versus Failsafe's unwarranted optimism that limited nuclear war was possible. An army of political scientists and bureaucrats game theoried fighting and winning a nuclear war like it was just another social science problem. Civilians are the warmongers in our MAD films. Dr. Strangelove may be a deranged Nazi freak, but everything he said was seriously considered by real life MAD Men. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

Danielle J. Lindemann, "True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us" (FSG, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 36:06


Why is reality TV important? In True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us (FSG, 2022), Danielle J. Lindemann, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Lehigh University, uses a sociological lens to examine the meaning and role of reality TV in contemporary society. In doing so, the analysis demonstrates how reality TV reinforces often narrow and conservative stereotypes about families, gender, class, race, and sexuality. At the same time, the book shows how reality TV can offer representations for excluded communities and is not consumed uncritically by audiences, even as reality TV is reflective of broader social inequalities. Drawing on classical and contemporary sociological theories and frameworks, the book uses a huge range of examples, from some of the early reality TV classics, through the huge hits, to the niche and less well-known shows that both reflect and shape how life is shown on TV. The book is essential reading across the social sciences and arts and humanities, as well as for anyone interested in television! Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/film

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