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No. 59, fall 2019

From Chuck Kleinhans

"Just do it." Chuck Kleinhans speaks
interview by Brian Winston

Media salad: a sampling of Chuck's writings

Statement to Caucus on Class
by Chuck Kleinhans
SCMS Atlanta, 2016

Theatrical film, television

Ghostly trajectories: neorealism and urban movement
in Ramin Bahrani's "American Dream" trilogy
by Kyle Miner
Bahrani's American Dream trilogy counters Hollywood's rags-to-riches "dream" narratives by enacting the quotidian rhythms and routines of its protagonists' endless labor cycles. Yet in his attention to characters' ways of moving through and physically occupying urban spaces of commerce, Bahrani reveals the ways in which they both subvert and manifest the exclusions and failures of late capitalism.

“Alpha male, veteran journalist”: Rob Riggle’s traumatic embodiment and satiric authenticity
by Anna Froula
Rob Riggle is a familiar face in TV sitcoms and satires, comedic films, and commercials, working steadily with over 100 acting credits to his name. This photo essay reads the film and television roles of the comedian and retired Marine Lt. Colonel against his military biography and deployments as a multiverse of U.S. veteran representation.

Clint Eastwood’s The Mule: an old man’s tale
by Robert Alpert
Looking back upon and summing up his life, Clint Eastwood, as Earl Stone in The Mule (2018), answers the question posed by Sandra Locke, as Antoinette Lily in Bronco Billy (1980), "Are you for real?"

Critical race studies

On affect and criticality in Steve McQueen’s Widows
by William J. Simmons
This essay argues not only for the centrality of non-white emotionality to progressive film criticisms, but also for the importance of fostering a dialogue around artists of color that does not center on deconstruction or opposition.

Racquel Gates’ Double Negative and the film The Associate
review by sam a carter
This review discusses Double Negative's major contributions and applies its tools of analysis to The Associate starring Whoopi Goldberg.

12 Years a Slave and The Birth of a Nation:
two moments of representing race
a visual essay by Julia Lesage
The almost unwatchable The Birth of a Nation becomes teachable if watched after the contemporary 12 Years a Slave.

“Entertainment-wise, a motherfucker.” Critical Race Politics and the transnational movement of Melvin van Peebles
by Matthew Holtmeier
Melvin van Peebles circumvents the racism of Hollywood via transnational movement, navigating various film industries and modes of production, and interjects each with a critical race politics that challenges American exceptionalism.

Surveillance capitalism and its racial discontents
review by Gary Kafer
of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight For a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff
Surveillance capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff argues, was invented by Google around the turn of the century. But how does this claim efface a much longer history of capitalist value extraction, behavioral modification, and social engineering that holds racial difference as its primary operation?

Documentary and political film

Deep histories and fluid futures in
Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock

by Emily Roehl
Awake collapses linear time to resist the “progress” of unchecked energy development and is critical viewing in a time when Indigenous rights and the rights of nature continue to be endangered by the policies and practices of the U.S. government.

Docudrama’s blurred boundaries:
truth and fiction in Afghan
i cinema
by Gohar Siddiqui
Siddiq Barmak’s film Osama was the first film shot in Afghanistan since the Taliban banned filmmaking and anything associated with it. This essay analyzes how the Afghani director’s representation of the country and its people interrupts other images of Afghanistan.

The DEC Films story: to recover and reclaim
by Peter Steven
DEC was Canada’s leading distributor of political films from the 1970s through the 1990s with an emphasis on political use value and a passion for innovative film forms and activist distribution.

Mediating memory, self and screen
review by Gail Vanstone
of Memory, Place and Autobiography: Experiments in Documentary Filmmaking by Jill Daniels
The (specific) intricacies of personal vision in experimental autobiographical documentary.

The ethics and politics of death images
in contemporary visual culture

review by Lucas Anderson
of Dying in Full Detail: Mortality and Digital Documentary by Jennifer Malkowski
A timely ethical analysis of how today’s digital technologies create and circulate documentary images of death.

Indian cinema

Introduction to special section
Experiments in state incarceration: an undeclared emergency
by Jyotika Virdi

The battle for democracy and the need for Reason/Vivek:
documentary as resistance, memory, and a song of hope
by Jyotsna Kapur
Can there be a cinematic response to the growing fascination world-wide with authoritarian figures and spectacular acts of violence? In his epic documentary, Reason/Vivek (2019), Anand Patwardhan shows one way ...

Failure and the feminist gaze: contesting the “female empowerment" narrative in contemporary Bollywood films
by Mallika Khanna
Through an analysis of three contemporary "women-centric" films--Angry Indian Goddesses, Veere Di Wedding and Lipstick Under My Burkha--it's clear that Bollywood has put urban elite feminism on an aspirational pedestal, leaving marginalized women in other arenas largely unrepresented.

Contemporary Tamil cinema and its departure from the mainstream: Manusangada/Cry Humanity and To Let
by Swarnavel Eswaran
This essay details the pathbreaking changes in Tamil cinema for which it had to wait for a hundred years, new films, Manusangada/Cry Humanity! and To Let, that seriously challenge its tendencies.

Fracturing nostalgia: the subversive dissonance of
Vidya Balan’s star-text
by Tanushree Ghosh
Apparently traditional, but intrinsically subversive, the many contradictions in Vidya Balan’s star-text redefine femininity in contemporary Hindi cinema.

Transnational cinema studies

Curatorial Reflections: Letters of Love (LOL) from the Middle East to South Asia: A Trio of Transregional Genre Comedies
by Samhita Sunya
Curator’s essay on the U.S. premiere of a trio of contemporary stoner, gangster, and musical comedies, each of which unfolds a journey from the Middle East to South Asia.

Pedagogy as weapon
review by Shakti Jaisang
of Teaching Transnational Cinema: Politics and Pedagogy
by Katarzyna Marciniak and Bruce Bennett, Eds.
How might transnational cinema serve as a catalyst for bridging the divide between film theory and pedagogy?

Bachchan Superman: Hindi cinema in Egypt, 1985-1991
by Claire Cooley
Indian cinema stars such as Amitabh Bachchan left Egyptian listeners smitten through their presence in theaters and on VHS and cassette.

The American and non-American ways of superhero cinema
review by Ezra Claverie
of Superheroes on World Screens. Ed. Rayna Denison and Rachael Mizsei-Ward.
This anthology looks at the ways a U.S. genre has traveled and transplanted itself overseas.

Other Asian cinemas

Third World cinema, queer technique, and
Manila’s multiple characters
review by Josen Diaz
of Manilla by Night by Joel David
David sets the queer film against the dictatorship.

From March of the Volunteers to Amazing Grace:
the death of the main melody movie in the 21st century
by Shuk-ting Kinnia Yau
Official Chinese policy regarding entertainment film in the late 2oth and early 21st century was that a film should have a theme, a "main melody," that supported official ideology, but such films did not do so well commercially.

Man on the thin line:
Chinese Cinema and capitalism’s second coming
review by Li Zeng
of Economy, Emotion, and Ethics in Chinese Cinema: Globalization on Speed by David Leiwei Li
Li uses film to explore the remaking of the Chinese subject due to rapid capitalist expansion.

Sexual citizenship and social justice in the HKSAR:
Evans Chan’s Raise the Umbrellas
by Gina Marchetti
Using Evans Chan’s documentary Raise the Umbrellas (2016) as a sprinboard, this essay examines the role gender identity and sexual orientation plays in Hong Kong’s rich history of protest culture.

Gender representation: history, issues and genres

Transgender documentary subjects shaping "hirstory"
by Chris Holmlund
Exploring trans* "hirstory": ten documentaries, made from 1987 to the present, showcase trans* leaders who fought for visibility, equality and justice in the United States during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Writing less knowingly
review by Rox Samer
of Pink-Slipped: What Happened to Women in the Silent Film Industries? by Jane M. Gaines
Gaines asks asks how an earlier era of substantial women's film production labor came to an end, when we knew as much, and how as well as how this knowledge has shaped feminist film studies.

Pedagogy and process, appropriation and authorship:
two films by Jennifer Proctor
by Sonia Lupher
A critical analysis of two experimental films by Jennifer Proctor that critique and revise harmful representations of women in audiovisual media, and includes an interview with Proctor.

“ASMR” media and the attention economy’s crisis of care
by Racheal Fest
“ASMR” media invent and commoditize new forms of massively accessible love and care, ameliorating from inside the attention economy the anxieties contemporary economic, political, and social conditions produce.

Soldiering for rights
review by Shakti Jaising
of Militant Visions: Black Soldiers, Internationalism, and the Transformation of American Cinema by Elizabeth Reich
How might a study of the post-war cinematic black soldier prove beneficial for understanding contemporary representations of transgender service members in the U.S. military?


Gay pornography, in-custody abuse and the CCTV POV
by Joseph Brennan
Joseph Brennan continues his development of the gay ‘abuse porn’ genre through an in situ reading of Parole Him and a large range of related gay porn sites; ‘in-custody’ is added to the gay abuse porn schema, together with concepts of the ‘fuckable felon’ and CCTV POV.

Guilty expenditure and the implicit image
in 1960s sexploitation cinema

review by Kevin Bozelka
of Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s by Elena Gorfinkel
Film scholar Elena Gorfinkel goes beyond the standard raincoat crowd mythology surrounding 1960s sexploitation cinema.

More book reviews

On "surveillance capitalism"
review by Victor Wallis
of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight For a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff
Is omni-surveillance the "new normal"? Can capitalism survive without it? Can humanity survive with it?

Unwatchable, but highly readable
review by Mike Arnzen
of Unwatchable. Eds. Nicholas Baer, Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak, and Gunnar Iversen.
About films we might otherwise not watch on our own.

Looking back at the Red Army Faction
review by Inez Hedges
of Screening the Red Army Faction: Historical and Critical Survey by Christina Gerhardt
Navigating the post-WWII German scene: origins and expressions of the Red Army Faction.

The last word

About Jump Cut
by Julia Lesage