A video tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), and the constantly surprising cinematic performance of her 1968 song 'Think' in The Blues Brothers (US 1980). The video takes the form of a audiovisual infographic on John Landis's dynamic filming of the song scene, starring Aretha.
(P.S. If you think I'm mapping any of the shots incorrectly, just let me know.
This is a great exercise to do with students, but it can be tricker than it looks...)
Film Studies For Free is ten years old today! Yes! It was exactly one whole decade ago that it went public online for the first time, just a few weeks before the 2008 financial crash... What a truly excellent time to have become the international purveyor of links to high-quality FREE stuff for critical film and screen studies!
The re-distributive, Open Access-championing, project that FSFF embraced had been conceived (of) a mere couple of weeks before, early one morning, in one of those rather dramatic lightbulb moments: "Wouldn't it be good if there could be a blog that directed film scholars to good, openly accessible resources for them online?" And thus it came to pass.
What a blast it has been.
Brought to you from a somewhat remote log cabin in a tiny internationalist enclave of pre-Brexit Britain (pictured for the first time online, below), its mission was equally inspired by the extremely lively and considerably less corporate atmosphere, at the time, of the cinephile Web 2.0, post-the establishment of YouTube in 2005 - a fascinating period now both scrutinised and immortalised by fellow participant-observer in that era and since (and blogger and cinephile extraordinaire) Girish Shambu in his wonderful 2016 book The New Cinephilia.
With no pomp or circumstance and—in the manner of an uncertain TV pilot episode—with very little sense of the form it would go on to take, on August 24, 2008, FSFF posted an inaugural entry on three 'very worthwhile items on the Director's Cut' (about which its scholar-author had recently been writing for a subsequently published book chapter).
The blog very soon found its processual feet in the form of producing mostly long, handily bullet-pointed lists of curated links to (mostly English-language) 'online, Open Access, film and audiovisual media studies resources of note.'
Oh, and FSFF embraced a hilarious third-person sense of humour directed towards a virtual second-person... What writing larks it has had! Dear Reader, it has been a total pleasure.
Please permit FSFF the indulgence of one final reflection on this anniversary. The experience of fun, energy and experimentalism in producing FSFF over the last decade has had some unimaginable and unintended consequences - unimaginable and unintended ten years ago, anyhow. They have been wonderful, too.
For one, little had this blog's author thought that carrying out the research for this website would both entail and lead to a shift away from her rather conventional film and media scholar-modus operandi to a world of experimental, film and social media publishing proper (with the [in]Transition and REFRAME platforms, among others) as well as to that of audiovisual production. But FSFF's runaway enthusiasm for the emergent digital forms of film studies it was discovering online and linking to, such as the video essay, brought about a dramatic change in its author's conception of what academic work in the Humanities might be (and ought to be), these days, which is one reason why despite everything (including the ongoing downfall of Western democracies) FSFF still the interwebs....
This brings us back to OA business: today's anniversary entry consists of the usual lists of links - below, this time to commemoratively-focus ones connected, of course, to FSFF's first decade of existence. But, FSFF also offers you, as is its wont, a video above and one below, two modest (film studies-oriented) tributes to the cinematic magic (in The Blues Bothers and Moonlight)of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who sadly passed away on August 16, 2018.
Keep coming back, Readers (well over 5 million visitors and counting..). Thank you!
Greetings -- it's been a while! Here's a speedy, northern-hemisphere, Spring round up from Film Studies For Free. See below for some especially choice and unmissable items!! More will be added to the below in the coming days.
Check out the HUGE new issue of JUMP CUT (58, 2018) Tributes to Chuck Kleinhans. The future of Jump Cut. Special sections on experimental feature fiction, documentary strategies, international perspectives, U.S. slavery's legal and symbolic remains, radical activism, unruly women, porn again, and book reviews.
See also this excellent SCMS video tribute to Kleinhans here
2. MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture
Exciting launch issue of the new open access journal MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture: "A non-hierarchical journal open to multivalent feminist expression, research & critique of visual culture", featuring:
3. CFP for The Cine-Files Special issue on Animals in Cinema
The Cine-Files, Issue 14 (Fall 2018), Call for Papers [Download as PDF] for a Special issue on Animals in Cinema. Submission Deadline: July 30, 2018
The Cine-Files, an online journal of cinema scholarship, is now accepting submissions for its Fall 2018 special issue on animals in the cinema that will be edited by Catherine Grant and Tracy Cox-Stanton.
We seek submissions for scholarly essays (4000-6000 words) that explore the significance of non-human animals in moving image studies. These essays will comprise the peer-reviewed, “featured scholarship” portion of issue 14.
Since John Berger’s 1991 essay “Why Look at Animals?” studies of animals in visual culture have steadily advanced, culminating in the 2015 anthology Animal Life and the Moving Image (BFI, Michael Lawrence and Laura McMahon, editors). In this work, scholars employ a diversity of theoretical frameworks to extend many of the insights of animal studies into the terrain of film and media studies. Issue 14 of The Cine-Files seeks to build on that work, inviting scholars to contemplate the significance of animals in a variety of audiovisual media.
Papers might consider, but are not limited to, the following questions:
How do particular films or videos convey or complicate recent scholarly work about the sentience of non-human animals?
What can we learn from an analysis of films that feature animal performers? How does the non-human animal performer complicate our views of film performance?
How might we understand the proliferation of online animal videos within the context of anthropogenic climate change and threats of “the sixth extinction”?
What role did animals play in early cinema’s era of “attractions,” and how can an understanding of that era help us contextualize contemporary representations?
How can we better understand and historicize “the colonialist trope of animalization” (identified in Unthinking Eurocentrism)—aligning non-human animals with human “others” including racial and/or ethnic minorities, as well as women, LGBTQI and others?
How has CGI affected the cinematic figuration of animals?
How has the depiction of animals prompted particularly innovative uses of cinematic language?
Is it possible to depict animals in a way that is not “anthropomorphic?” How have particular films challenged anthropomorphic representation?
Please email your essay as a MS Word doc to the editors, removing your identifying information from the essay. On a separate page, include your name, essay title, brief biographical note, and email address. Consult the guidelines for submissions at http://www.thecine-files.com/submission-guidelines/
If you would like to submit a video essay for consideration, please contact the editors by email to discuss your idea in the first instance. July 30 will also be the date for submissions in this mode.
Catherine Grant, email@example.com and Tracy Cox-Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Film Studies For Free brings you an entry that has come about because of a piece of Facebook crowdsourcing by film curator extraordinaire Herb Shellenberger. Shellenberger requested from his friends any links they had to free online streaming platforms for films and moving image work. He was especially interested in ones that are run by archives, and most interested in those outside the US/UK.
A wonderful list of links was rapidly assembled to a wide variety of international platforms, only some of which FSFF has tweeted or blogged about before. So, courtesy of Shellenberger and his friends, below is the list (with acknowledgement given to the individual suggesting each link - thanks especially to Patrick Friel for his extensive contribution, along with Herb).
If you have any further suggestions to make for the list, please use the Comments thread below.
The American Indian Film Gallery (AIFG) is an online collection of more than 450 historic films by and about Native peoples of the Americas, compiled and digitized by historian J. Fred MacDonald over many years. These films range in date from 1925-2010. https://aifg.arizona.edu(thanks to Patrick Friel)
Chicago Film Archives - a regional film archive dedicated to identifying, collecting, preserving and providing access to films that represent the US Midwest http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org (Thanks to Lori Felker)
Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire Over 150 films are available for viewing online, all showing images of life in the British colonies http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk(thanks to Patrick Friel)
Daazo Shortfilms European shortfilms and social media platformhttp://www.daazo.com(thanks to Zsolt Gyenge)
Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art - not a completely free platform but you can rent out presentation rights for research use and watch some free previews as well http://www.av-arkki.fi(thanks to Viika Sankila)
Filmsdivision - Quasi-dysfunctional (but incredible) online archive of Films Division - the Indian state-run production house of government propaganda designed to "maintain a cinematic record of Indian history." http://filmsdivision.org/category/archives(thanks to Ashim Ahluwalia)
Folkstreams maintains a huge archive of (mostly) American (mostly) short documentaries that chronicle lesser-seen elements of American culture http://www.folkstreams.net (thanks to Alexander Lesher)
Hungarian National Film Archive (Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchívum) - possibly temporary free Vimeo channel (catch it before January 22) https://vimeo.com/filmarchivum/(thanks to Zsolt Gyenge)
Indiancine.ma - an annotated online archive of Indian film. It is intended to serve as a shared resource for film scholars and enthusiasts in India and beyond. https://indiancine.ma(thanks to Ashim Ahluwalia)
Internet Archive - a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. Moving Image Archive with hundreds of public domain films: https://archive.org/details/movies
Jeff Quitney (individual) YouTube Page gathering dozens of digitally restored/cleaned-up educational, government, sponsored, and other public domain films and television items. 1940s-1980s, primarily https://www.youtube.com/user/webdev17/videos(thanks to Patrick Friel)
The Korean Film Archive has a YouTube channel of free subtitled features from its collection. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvH6u_Qzn5RQdz9W198umDw (thanks to Rufus L de Rham)
Thanhouser Films Online - free streaming video to all 56 films currently available on the Thanhouser DVD collection (those directed, produced and distributed by the Thanhouser Company, the pioneering American motion picture studio of New Rochelle, New York) https://www.thanhouser.org/videos-online.htm(thanks to Patrick Friel)
UbuWeb: Film & Video avant-garde films & videos presented for educational and non-commercial use http://www.ubu.com/film/
Vectors Journal - a forum for "works that need, for whatever reason, to exist in multimedia. In so doing, we aim to explore the immersive and experiential dimensions of emerging scholarly vernaculars across media platforms." http://vectors.usc.edu/journal/index.php
Videonale - online archive of one of the most important and renowned festivals of video art and time-based arts in Germany and Europe http://archiv.videonale.org/en/(thanks to Maz Grau)
Western Front Society Vimeo channel - maintains an extensive, digitized archive of experimental work created and presented over the past thirty years, and is committed to preserving the legacy of Canada’s artistic community. https://vimeo.com/westernfrontsociety(Thanks to Pablo de Ocampo)
Wild Film History - multi-media guide to the history and heritage of wildlife filmmaking with numerous streamable films and clips http://www.wildfilmhistory.org (thanks to Patrick Friel)
Yesterday, the terribly sad news reached Film Studies For Free that radical film and media scholar Chuck Kleinhans had died. Along with his wonderful partner in life and work Julia Lesage, Chuck has been a monumentally good friend to this blog over the years, mostly in his capacity as co-founding co-editor of the brilliant journal JUMP CUT, and as a phenomenal advocate for open access and "small gauge" scholarly and activist publishing.
Alongside his own foundational work in cinema and media scholarship, Chuck was a remarkable and hugely influential mentor to many very important scholars in our field. If you should need a sense of what he gave us, please just watch the opening five minutes of the first video embedded below in which his friend (and fellow inspiring scholar and activist) Alexandra Juhasz does a great job of conveying his wonderful contributions.
In this blog's humble view, we are losing Chuck just at the very moment when we need great champions of and participants in radical action like him the most. Let us continue his work as best we can, inspired by all that he did, to keep his memory much alive.
FSFF wishes to mark Chuck's passing in its customary way by this entry of links to his work (already amply available online), including to some as yet relatively uncirculated videos of two of his lectures (below) and eventually to online tributes as these appear. Please feel encouraged to leave your own tributes to him (or links to these) via the comments' thread below.
FSFF sends its condolences and warmest wishes to Julia, and Chuck's family and friends.
'The most exciting aspect of Bondanella’s work is, in fact, his inextinguishable faith in the power of reason and systematization which reminds us in a nostalgic way of methods and choices inspired by respect and harmony.’ Federico Fellini
Sad news has reached Film Studies For Free of the death of Italian cinema and culture scholar Peter Bondanella on May 28th. Bondanella was Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Film Studies and Italian at Indiana University. He made many essential contributions to his fields during a career that spanned over four decades, most notably for our discipline, perhaps, his foundational volume Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present, first published in 1983, and his later reworked version of that book A History of Italian Cinema (2010).
FSFF marks Bondanella's brilliant career as well as his passing by rounding up some links to online works about him (including Gino Moliterno's wonderful obituary), as well as by him (including his magnificent recent contribution to the above embedded conversation about Fellini - who earlier had very nice things to say about Bondanella's own work, unsurprisingly).
As further tributes to Bondanella go online, these will be added below.
Film Studies For Free today links to another recent issue of a sterling open access screen media studies journal: ALPHAVILLE, Issue 12, guest edited by Stefano Baschiera and Elena Caoduro. It is devoted
to the presence of archaisms and anachronisms in the contemporary mediascape and contributes to the current interdisciplinary debates around the nostalgia phenomena. Over the past decade, the digitalisation of culture has revolutionised the way we experience and consume the arts and the mass media, deeply affecting how these are perceived in their materiality. The tangibility of cultural objects, now caught in a constant process of remediation, has slightly waned: books, photographs, films, comic books, music, maps etc. are increasingly present in our life in their digital form. At the same time, the digital disruption of media industries has contributed to the emergence of a postmodern “nostalgia for the analogue” with the rapid increase of faux-vintage and retro phenomena in different aspects of media culture. [Baschiera and Caoduro]