Not just another film guide-this is a visual road map to the best cinema has to offer. A comprehensive, fun to browse, and easy-to-use source for everything you need to know about movies and the people behind them. From Hollywood to Bollywood, this book’s unique approach will explore every aspect of film and provide pointers on how to watch and understand films of different types, styles, and periods.
Claire Perkins, Constantine Verevis
B Is for Bad Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics, and Cultural Value
Considers films that lurk on the boundaries of acceptability in taste, style, and politics.
B Is for Bad Cinema continues and extends, but does not limit itself to, the trends in film scholarship that have made cult and exploitation films and other “low” genres increasingly acceptable objects for critical analysis. Springing from discussions of taste and value in film, these original essays mark out the broad contours of “bad”—that is, aesthetically, morally, or commercially disreputable—cinema. While some of the essays share a kinship with recent discussions of B movies and cult films, they do not describe a single aesthetic category or represent a single methodology or critical agenda, but variously approach bad cinema in terms of aesthetics, politics, and cultural value. The volume covers a range of issues, from the aesthetic and industrial mechanics of low-budget production through the terrain of audience responses and cinematic affect, and on to the broader moral and ethical implications of the material. As a result, B Is for Bad Cinema takes an interest in a variety of film examples—overblown Hollywood blockbusters, faux pornographic works, and European art house films—to consider those that lurk on the boundaries of acceptability.
World Film Locations: Washington D.C.
Freedom and democracy. Bills and laws. Bureaucracy and red tape. Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, is known for many things, many of them related to the inner-workings of the government that transpires there. But the beauty of the city is often in stark contrast to the ugly partisan squabbles and palm greasing that sometimes characterizes the political process. It is also a city of carefully planned parks, trees exploding with cherry blossoms in spring, and bright sunshine polishing the gleaming white of stately memorials. With no shortage of iconic American landscapes, such as the vast National Mall, buildings, from the White House and the Capitol to the Watergate Hotel and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and monuments including the Washington Monument and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it is at once synonymous with the country it governs and totally a world apart. This centrality and antithetical otherness is nowhere better understood than in the anxieties and promise of democracy and capitalism. This friction animates and attracts filmmakers to the District, who use its landmarks as a shorthand to express and investigate contemporary ideals and concerns about American society. Films set there both celebrate and castigate the grand American experiment it symbolizes. From Frank Capra’s 1939 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to the alien invasion summer blockbuster Independence Day, films set in Washington depict our most ardent hopes and bring to life our darkest fears. World Film Locations: Washington, D. C., collects essays and articles about Washington film history and locations. Featuring texts about carefully chosen film scenes and key historical periods, the book examines themes, directors, and depictions and is illustrated with evocative movie stills, city maps, and location photographs. Taken as a whole, this is essential reading for any cinephile who has ever wondered how a bill becomes a law.
Warped Minds: Cinema and Psychopathology
Warped Minds explores the transformation of psychopathologies into cultural phenomena in the wake of the transition from an epistemological to an ontological approach to psychopathology. Trifonova considers several major points in this intellectual history: the development of a dynamic model of the self at the fin de siècle, the role of photography and film in the construction of psychopathology, the influence of psychoanalysis on the transition from static, universalizing psychiatric paradigms to dynamic styles of psychiatry foregrounding the socially constructed nature of madness, and the decline of psychoanalysis and the aestheticization of madness into a trope describing the conditions of knowledge in postmodernity as evidenced by the transformation of multiple personality and paranoia into cultural and aesthetic phenomena.
Cinematic Ghosts: Haunting and Spectrality from Silent Cinema to the Digital Era
In 1896, Maxim Gorky declared cinema “the Kingdom of Shadows.” In its silent, ashen-grey world, he saw a land of spectral, and ever since then cinema has had a special relationship with the haunted and the ghostly. Cinematic Ghosts is the first collection devoted to this subject, including fourteen new essays, dedicated to exploring the many permutations of the movies’ phantoms.
Cinematic Ghosts contains essays revisiting some classic ghost films within the genres of horror (The Haunting, 1963), romance (Portrait of Jennie, 1948), comedy (Beetlejuice, 1988) and the art film (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, 2010), as well as essays dealing with a number of films from around the world, from Sweden to China. Cinematic Ghosts traces the archetype of the cinematic ghost from the silent era until today, offering analyses from a range of historical, aesthetic and theoretical dimensions.