Monday, April 01, 2013

SCMS 2013 + Reading

I spent an energizing few days at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Chicago recently. It was a great opportunity both to encounter lots of interesting work and to socialize with friends old and new.

In my memory, I will always associate this year's conference with the presence of Victor Perkins. Victor retired last year from the faculty of the University of Warwick, but you wouldn't know it from seeing him at the conference. Impeccably attired in a three-piece suit, he seemed omnipresent, delivering a paper, participating in a well-attended workshop on "close analysis", and attending various sessions at which his questions were unfailingly precise and thoughtful. [Correction: Victor writes to say that in fact he was wearing a formal jacket, not a three-piece suit, indeed one with an interesting story behind it. I must have him recount it to me some day.] If you haven't yet had a chance to read it, his recent BFI Classics book on Renoir's Rules of the Game is marvelous.

For me, the highlights of the conference included the following presentations:

-- A panel on philosophy and the films of Terrence Malick that included Dan Morgan, Richard Neer, Lee Carruthers and Marc Furstenau.

-- A popular workshop discussion (with over a hundred people in the room) on the past and future of "close analysis", with Victor, Elena Gorfinkel, Lesley Stern, and Mary Ann Doane.

-- A panel on "Style and Rhetoric in the Movies" with papers by Victor (on "pace" in film), Gilberto Perez (on movement of the camera that accompanies movement of characters), and George Wilson.

-- Gerd Gemünden on the parallels and differences between the films of Lucretia Martel and Christoph Hochhäusler.

-- A workshop discussion on the genre of the "American Smart Film" that included Jeffrey Sconce, who coined the term in an article in the journal Screen ten years ago, and the Australian scholar Claire Perkins, who has just written a book about it.

-- Burke Hilsabeck on the intersection between Jerry Lewis and abstract expressionism.

-- A workshop on "publishing on digital platforms" that included John David Rhodes, co-founder of World Picture journal.

-- Dennis Hanlon on intertextuality and hypertextuality in the work of Hindi popular cinema director Manmohan Desai.

How handy: Catherine Grant has posted full-text versions of several papers presented at the conference.

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Links to recent reading:

-- "Having an Idea in Cinema" by Gilles Deleuze, a transcript of a 1987 lecture, at the blog Diagonal Thoughts.

-- The new issue of the journal Paragraph is devoted to André Bazin. One of the essays, "Bazin's Modernism" by Dan Morgan, is downloadable here.

-- This year's edition of the Cinema Ritrovato film festival in Bologna looks great: Allan Dwan, European Cinemascope films, early Chris Marker, early Japanese sound films, a tribute to Vittorio De Sica as both actor and director, and much more.

-- The new issue of Cinema Scope includes Jonathan Rosenbaum's Global Discoveries on DVD column; Thom Andersen on Wang Bing's Three Sisters; Adam Nayman's interview with Joseph Kahn, director of the teen horror-comedy Detention; and Shelly Kraicer on Wong Kar-ai's The Grandmaster.

-- There are new issues of: Senses of Cinema (rounded up by Catherine Grant); Interiors Journal; Film Comment; Cineaste; and Desistfilm.

-- Adrian Martin at Filmkrant: "Film analysis today, in its overriding emphasis — often exciting and revealing — on details, fragments and moments, has somewhat lost sight of the total structure, the multi-levelled form of a work." Also, Adrian has a piece in Australian Design Review titled "Intimate Metamorphosis: Film and Architectural Space". Finally, via Adrian on Twitter, links to four interviews: Jean-François Chevrier on 'artistic hallucination'; Gilbert Simondon ("Is not all Creation a Transgression?"); Jean Douchet on 'constructing the gaze' from 1993 in Framework; and, at Screening the Past, Raymond Durgnat interviewing Stephen Dwoskin in 1984.

-- An interview with Steven Shaviro at Figure/Ground.

-- A conference in two weeks at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that looks very interesting: "The End of Cinema and the Future of Film Studies", featuring Jonathan Rosenbaum, Dudley Andrew, Francesco Casetti, Mark Betz, and others. (Via Shekhar Deshpande)

-- The online Brazilian film magazine Cinética has now started publishing English-language versions of articles from its archives. (via Filipe Furtado).

-- Links to many essays written by Gilberto Perez for the London Review of Books.

-- Two great movie-image Tumblr sites: "If We Don't Remember Me" (via Veronica Fitzpatrick) and  "Visions of Light" (via Trevor Link).

-- Catherine Grant interviews Tom Brown on the subject of direct address in cinema; and has a post in tribute to the late Donald Richie.

-- Steve Rybin's "The Actor's Vision: Three Perfomances by Jessica Chastain" at The Cine-Files.

-- A recently recorded 90-minute interview with David Cronenberg.

-- "Towards a Pure Fiction: Cecil B. DeMille" by Luc Moullet, translated by Ted Fendt; and "Some Violence is Required: A Conversation with Pedro Costa" by David Jenkins. At MUBI.

-- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on Monsieur Verdoux for Criterion.

-- Danny Kasman at MUBI on a couple of moments of Ozu's cinephilia.

-- David Davidson: "Cahiers du Cinéma and M. Night Shyamalan".

-- Oren Shai on the genre of the women-in-prison film in Bright Lights Film Journal.

-- A look at Sergei Eisenstein's bookshelves (at Slate).

-- A great six-minute viral video that shows the extent of US income inequality.

-- I've just received, and I'm looking forward to reading, Jacques Aumont's 'little book', "Montage".

pic: La règle du jeu (1939).