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The Biopic In Contemporary Film Culture

Author: Tom Brown
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113595030X
Size: 40.19 MB
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The biographical film or biopic is a staple of film production in all major film industries and yet, within film studies, its generic, aesthetic, and cultural significance has remained underexplored. The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture fills this gap, conceptualizing the biopic with a particular eye toward the "life" of the genre internationally. New theoretical approaches combine with specially commissioned chapters on contemporary biographical film production in India, Italy, South Korea, France, Russia, Great Britain, and the US, in order to present a selective but well-rounded portrait of the biopic’s place in film culture. From Marie Antoinette to The Social Network, the pieces in this volume critically examine the place of the biopic within ongoing debates about how cinema can and should represent history and "real lives." Contributors discuss the biopic’s grounding in the conventions of the historical film, and explore the genre’s defining traits as well as its potential for innovation. The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture expands the critical boundaries of this evolving, versatile genre.

Whose Lives Are They Anyway

Author: Dennis Bingham
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813549309
Size: 68.13 MB
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The biopic presents a profound paradox—its own conventions and historical stages of development, disintegration, investigation, parody, and revival have not gained respect in the world of film studies. That is, until now. Whose Lives Are They Anyway? boldly proves a critical point: The biopic is a genuine, dynamic genre and an important one—it narrates, exhibits, and celebrates a subject's life and demonstrates, investigates, or questions his or her importance in the world; it illuminates the finer points of a personality; and, ultimately, it provides a medium for both artist and spectator to discover what it would be like to be that person, or a certain type of person. Through detailed analyses and critiques of nearly twenty biopics, Dennis Bingham explores what is at their core—the urge to dramatize real life and find a version of the truth within it. The genre's charge, which dates back to the salad days of the Hollywood studio era, is to introduce the biographical subject into the pantheon of cultural mythology and, above all, to show that he or she belongs there. It means to discover what we learn about our culture from the heroes who rise and the leaders who emerge from cinematic representations. Bingham also zooms in on distinctions between cinematic portrayals of men and women. Films about men have evolved from celebratory warts-and-all to investigatory to postmodern and parodic. At the same time, women in biopics have been burdened by myths of suffering, victimization, and failure from which they are only now being liberated. To explore the evolution and lifecycle changes of the biopic and develop an appreciation for subgenres contained within it, there is no better source than Whose Lives Are They Anyway?

Bio Pics

Author: Ellen Cheshire
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231850689
Size: 36.95 MB
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Bio-pics: A Life in Pictures offers a series of case studies which throw light on this most unique of genres. Is the bio-pic a genre in its own right? Or are such films merely footnotes in other more traditional genres such as the western or costume drama, depending on the historical figure under scrutiny. Unlike other genre forms bio-pics seemingly share no familiar iconography, codes or conventions. They can be set anywhere and at any time. What links them is quite simply that the films depict the life of an 'important' person. Through a carefully selected range of thematically linked (English-language) bio-pics released since 1990 this book explores key issues surrounding their resurgence, narrative structure, production, subject representation or misrepresentation, and critical response. The films under discussion are grouped around a profession (writers, singers, politicians, sportsmen, criminals, artists) allowing for comparisons to be drawn in approaches to similar subject matter.

Invented Lives Imagined Communities

Author: William H. Epstein
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 1438460791
Size: 19.98 MB
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How Hollywood biopics both showcase and modify various notions of what it means to be an American. Biopics—films that chronicle the lives of famous and notorious figures from our national history—have long been one of Hollywood’s most popular and important genres, offering viewers various understandings of American national identity. Invented Lives, Imagined Communities provides the first full-length examination of US biopics, focusing on key releases in American cinema while treating recent developments in three fields: cinema studies, particularly the history of Hollywood; national identity studies dealing with the American experience; and scholarship devoted to modernity and postmodernity. Films discussed include Houdini, Patton, The Great White Hope, Bound for Glory, Ed Wood, Basquiat, Pollock, Sylvia, Kinsey, Fur, Milk, J. Edgar, and Lincoln, and the book pays special attention to the crucial generic plot along which biopics traverse and showcase American lives, even as they modify the various notions of the national character. “A provocative, critically astute study, this collection examines the biopic as a reflexive, refractive modernist film genre. Admirably researched essays provide close, compelling readings of chosen films, while exploring the multilayered matrices of historical fact, biographical and autobiographical literature, popular media representations, and cultural histories—shaping not only the lives and narratives of the performers, artists, and political/historical figures represented but also the practices of the filmmakers as they worked within or on the margins of the Hollywood industry.” — Cynthia Lucia, Rider University “The volume’s greatest strengths include its range, its variety of ideas on the significance of the biopic, and its research—definitive in several cases—into the relation between historical figures and their cinematic counterparts.” — James Morrison, author of Passport to Hollywood: Hollywood Films, European Directors

Becoming Afi

Author: Jean Picker Firstenberg
Publisher: Santa Monica Press
ISBN: 1595807942
Size: 52.39 MB
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For over fifty years, the American Film Institute has flourished as one of America’s great cultural entities. Its graduates, faculty, supporters, and trustees have included such acclaimed individuals as Steven Spielberg, Maya Angelou, Gregory Peck, Meryl Streep, Les Moonves, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Jane Fonda, Edward James Olmos, Shonda Rhimes, James L. Brooks, Michael Nesmith, Sir Howard Stringer, and many other respected leaders in the worlds of film, television, digital media, and philanthropy. Written in a unique memoir style, Becoming AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute offers a candid look at how this remarkable organization has brought together aspiring filmmakers, outstanding educators, and visionary artists. The book details AFI’s journey to becoming the foremost national champion for moving images as a vibrant art form and a critical component of America’s cultural history. AFI’s story is chronicled through in-depth essays written by those who have been involved in its adventures, growth, and successes: from its early years under George Stevens Jr.’s direction at the legendary Greystone mansion and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; through its period of incredible growth, under Jean Picker Firstenberg’s guidance, as an influential cultural institution at its landmark Hollywood campus; to its continued years of excellence under Bob Gazzale’s dynamic leadership. Becoming AFI provides an insightful, behind-the-scenes look at how AFI—with passionate determination—overcame the hurdles of advancing technology, political shifts, and new audience dynamics to turn its aspirations into a substantial and highly successful organization. A tireless advocate of moving images as one of America’s most popular art forms, AFI is maturing into one of the world’s most respected educational and cultural institutions.

The City Symphony Phenomenon

Author: Steven Jacobs
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317215575
Size: 40.61 MB
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The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of the city symphony, an experimental film form that presented the city as protagonist instead of mere decor. Combining experimental, documentary, and narrative practices, these films were marked by a high level of abstraction reminiscent of high-modernist experiments in painting and photography. Moreover, interwar city symphonies presented a highly fragmented, oftentimes kaleidoscopic sense of modern life, and they organized their urban-industrial images through rhythmic and associative montage that evoke musical structures. In this comprehensive volume, contributors consider the full 80 film corpus, from Manhatta and Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Grosstadt to lesser-known cinematic explorations.

Teaching Transnational Cinema

Author: Katarzyna Marciniak
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317401069
Size: 12.11 MB
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This collection of essays offers a pioneering analysis of the political and conceptual complexities of teaching transnational cinema in university classrooms around the world. In their exploration of a wide range of films from different national and regional contexts, contributors reflect on the practical and pedagogical challenges of teaching about immigrant identities, transnational encounters, foreignness, cosmopolitanism and citizenship, terrorism, border politics, legality and race. Probing the value of cinema in interdisciplinary academic study and the changing strategies and philosophies of teaching in the university, this volume positions itself at the cutting edge of transnational film studies.

Hollywood Puzzle Films

Author: Warren Buckland
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136256288
Size: 48.26 MB
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From Inception to The Lake House, moviegoers are increasingly flocking to narratologically complex puzzle films. These puzzle movies borrow techniques—like fragmented spatio-temporal reality, time loops, unstable characters with split identities or unreliable narrators—more commonly attributed to art cinema and independent films. The essays in Hollywood Puzzle Films examine the appropriation of puzzle film techniques by contemporary Hollywood dramas and blockbusters through questions of narrative, time, and altered realities. Analyzing movies like Source Code, The Butterfly Effect, Donnie Darko, Déjà Vu, and adaptations of Philip K. Dick, contributors explore the implications of Hollywood's new movie mind games.

New Silent Cinema

Author: Katherine Groo
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317819446
Size: 46.34 MB
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With the success of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011) and Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist (2011) nothing seems more contemporary in recent film than the styles, forms, and histories of early and silent cinemas. This collection considers the latest return to silent film alongside the larger historical field of visual repetitions and affective currents that wind their way through 20th and 21st century visual cultures. Contributors bring together several fields of research, including early and silent cinema studies, experimental and new media, historiography and archive theory, and studies of media ontology and epistemology. Chapters link the methods, concerns, and concepts of early and silent film studies as they have flourished over the last quarter century to the most recent developments in digital culture—from YouTube to 3D—recasting this contemporary phenomenon in popular culture and new media against key debates and concepts in silent film scholarship. An interview with acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin closes out the collection.

Rediscovering U S Newsfilm

Author: Mark Garrett Cooper
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315516713
Size: 52.15 MB
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The twentieth century generated tens of thousands of hours of American newsfilm but not the scholarly apparatus necessary to analyze and contextualize them. Assembling new approaches to the study of U.S. newsfilm in cinema and television, this book makes a long overdue critical intervention in the field of film and media studies by addressing the format’s inherent intermediality; its mediation of "events" for local, national, and transnational communities; its distinctive archival legacies; and, consequently, its integral place in film and television studies more broadly. This collection brings fresh, contemporary methodologies and analysis to bear on a vast amount of material that has languished in relative obscurity for far too long.