Sabtu, 12 April 2014

More than any other image, an erased human face remains horribly eloquent. In fact, a face cannot be made to vanish completely: it stays sufficiently human to horrify by its exact lack of humanity. Hence the unnerving effect of Georges Franjus film Eyes Without a Face (1959), in which a young woman, disfigured in a car crash, is subjected to her fathers insane and murderous plan to give her a new face. We never see the daughters ravaged face, but the featureless white mask she wears for most of the film is enough to suggest her uncanny oscillation between human and inhuman.
Brian Dillon, The Revelation of Erasure, Tate Etc., Issue 8, Autumn 2006

Being a horror buff of the rather squeamish and easily frightened kind, Film Studies For Free usually likes its scary, gory movies to be Lyrical... Poetic... Beautiful. That way, it finds, it doesnt have to avert its eyes from the screen too much. 

Thus, FSFF is a particular fan of the truly horrific but extraordinarily beautiful film Les Yeux sans visage/Eyes Without a Face. Georges Franjus classic delivers its horror in homeopathic doses, as Franju himself so aptly put it. 

So, its the film FSFF just had to choose for its little homage in scholarly links this Halloween. (P.S. If you are based in the USA or Canada, you can also currently watch it for free online as part of October Halloween Festival of free films at The Auteurs website).

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Jumat, 11 April 2014

Image from Dawn of the Dead (George Romero, 1978)

Film Studies For Free today recommends an event at one of its favourite, and one of the most original, film and media studies websites -- In Media Res -- which is just concluding a special theme week devoted to Zombies! Below are the direct links to all the fun stuff, and below those you can find more information about the ethos and practicalities of the marvellous In Media Res site.

Eric Hamako (University of Massachusetts) presents: “The Yellow Peril rises from the grave…to get your White women!" Orientalist themes in zombie stories, Monday, September 28, 2009

Cathy Schlund-Vials (Univ. of Connecticut), Racism, Postcolonialism, and Neocolonial Zombies: Resident Evil 5, Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kim Paffenroth (Iona College), Dawn of the Dead (1978): Zombies and Human Nature, Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elizabeth McAlister (Wesleyan Univ.), “Obama, Zombies, and Black Male Secular Messiahs", Thursday, October 1, 2009


In Media Res is dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship.

Each day, a different scholar will curate a 30-second to 3-minute video clip/visual image slideshow accompanied by a 300-350-word impressionistic response.

We use the title "curator" because, like a curator in a museum, you are repurposing a media object that already exists and providing context through your commentary, which frames the object in a particular way.

The clip/comment combination are intended to both introduce the curators work to the larger community of scholars (as well as non-academics who frequent the site) and, hopefully, encourage feedback/discussion from that community.

Theme weeks are designed to generate a networked conversation between curators. All the posts for that week will thematically overlap and the participating curators each agree to comment on one anothers work.

Our goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media.

In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we typically experience media

In Media Res is a publication of MediaCommons. MediaCommons is a strong advocate for the right of media scholars to quote from the materials they analyze, as protected by the principle of "fair use." If such quotation is necessary to a scholars argument, if the quotation serves to support a scholars original analysis or pedagogical purpose, and if the quotation does not harm the market value of the original text -- but rather, and on the contrary, enhances it -- we must defend the scholars right to quote from the media texts under study.

For more information, please contact In Media Res’ coordinating editor, Avi Santo at
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Kamis, 10 April 2014

Frame grab from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980), one of the subjects of Film Studies For Frees authors latest videographic film study in her new article Déjà-Viewing? Videographic Experiments in Intertextual Film Studies, which you can find in the newly published issue of Mediascape.
The much awaited Winter 2013 issue of MEDIASCAPE, UCLAs Journal of Cinema and Media, has just been published. There are two very fine articles on historical film archives by Christina Petersen and Bryan Sebok, as well as two excellent columns on related historiographical themes. Meanwhile, the META section boasts some very good, new video essay work by Matthias Stork, Alexandra Schroeder, and Clifford James Galiher and reflections on videographic and other digital film studies practices by great luminaries, such as Yuri Tsivian and Daria Khitrova, alongside those of much more ordinary mortals! Theres also a highly informative interview with filmmaker Thom Andersen and some very interesting reviews to catch up with.

All contents are listed and linked to below. But, also, do check out MEDIASCAPEs occasional, but very high quality blog which publishes between journal issue releases. A good place to start is this entry: Mastering "The Master" by Vincent Brook

MEDIASCAPE, Winter 2013

Editorial by Andy Myers and Andrew Young







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Rabu, 09 April 2014

Image from Maicling pelicula nañg ysañg Indio Nacional/A Short Film About the Indio Nacional, Or, The Prolonged Sorrow of the Filipinos (Raya Martin, 2005)
Martin’s Maicling Pelicula is an intensely personal film projecting the young director’s emotional impressions of the era bygone into actualities of the beginnings of the uprising, the stirrings of Philippine nationalism. [...] Maicling Pelicula throws down the gauntlet—and with rude authority—for the heights of sophistication and beauty that the Filipino aesthetic may reach.
Alexis Tioseco, November 11, 2006

Film Studies For Frees author imagines that its readers have been as shocked and upset as she has been to see the news footage of the recent Philippines floods caused when Tropical Storm Ketsana/now Typhoon Ondoy hit on Saturday. Independent filmmakers from the Philippines, like Raya Martin, are producing among the most compelling cinematic work in the world at the moment. Their communications about the floods on Twitter and Facebook have very powerfully expressed the awful scale of the countrys current emergency.

FSFF urges you, if you are able, to investigate how to donate to any of the charitable organisations currently mobilising their resources to provide emergency support. One such organisation (based in the UK) is the Disasters Emergency Committee (also, a good point of call for those responding to the Southern Pacific tsunamis and the Indonesian earthquake [added Oct 1]); Google links for Help for Typhoon Ondoy Victims in the Philippines are here; the Philippine Red Cross is linked to here; other links, for those based in the Philippines, are listed here. If readers want to supply other links to, or information about, any further ways of donating, or helping, you are warmly encouraged to use the comments section of this blog for that purpose. Thank you.

Below is a small selection of key links to online resources on the subject of the cinema of the Philippines (including, at the very foot of the post, a wonderful Cahiers du cinéma video interview in English with Raya Martin) to remind us just how worthy of critical and other support that cinema is. Very sadly, as regular readers of FSFF will know, some of the best entries in the list come from a now silenced voice, that of one of the most eloquent champions of Philippine cinema: Alexis Tioseco, murdered in Quezon City, Philippines, along with partner and fellow critic Nika Bohinc, several weeks ago. They are much missed.

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Selasa, 08 April 2014

Last updated April 19, 2010
Electric Dreams? Above and below, images from Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry, 2008)

Film Studies For Free presents un petit hommage -- en images, hypertexte, et vidéos --to one of its favourite filmmakers, Michel Gondry, French maestro of the music-video form, and also responsible, as director, for the audiovisual brilliance of the following films: Human Nature (2001); Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); La Science des rêves/The Science of Sleep (2006); Be Kind Rewind (2008); and The Green Hornet (2010).

There are some truly wonderful scholarly resources linked to below: merci bien, as ever, to their authors, editors and publishers for making them freely accessible online.

 The original music video of Gary Jules and Michael Andrews cover version of Tears for Fears song Mad World, directed by Michel Gondry. This song features in the soundtrack of Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)
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Senin, 07 April 2014

To celebrate the new issue of NECSUS on tangibility, above is a reposting of TOUCHING THE FILM OBJECT? by Catherine Grant. Also see version with audio commentary

[A] media, singular, is not just its medium – it is not only a support or a device. A media is also and foremost a cultural form; it is defined by the way in which it puts us in relation with the world and with others, and therefore by the type of experience that it activates. By experience, I mean both a confrontation with reality (to gain experience) and the capacity to manage this relation and to give it meaning (to have experience). From its very beginnings, cinema has been based on the fact that it offers us moving images through which we may reconfigure the reality around us and our own position within it. Cinema has always been a way of seeing and a way of living – a form of sensibility and a form of understanding. [Francesco Casetti, The relocation of cinema, NECSUS, Issue 2, Autumn 2012]
A great second issue of NECSUS, the brilliant journal of NECS, the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies has been published. It boasts some superlative articles including Francesco Casettis must-read article from which Film Studies For Free has excerpted above.

For those interested in hapticity, and our experience of the material properties of film, theres a very special section on that topic.

All in all (and all the contents are directly linked to below), some truly wonderful work. Well done and thank you NECSUS!

Editorial Necsus

Special Section: Tangibility

Festival Reviews:
Edited by Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist of the Film Festival Research Network

Book Reviews:

Exhibition Reviews:
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Minggu, 06 April 2014

Lots of correspondence after yesterdays post on the video essays of Matt Zoller Seitz and Kevin B Lee has prompted Film Studies For Free to research the online work of a number of other film artists/academics. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts about this shortly.

FSFF would also love to hear from any of its readers who can point in the direction of further examples of good-quality, freely-accessible, scholarly online video essays to check out.

But, in the meantime, here are some great links to the online video essay work of a highly notable film critic who has very successfully experimented with this form: Jim Emerson, film critic and creator of Scanners (a movie blog and home of the Opening Shots Project) and founding editor of/contributor to, Roger Ebert`s web site.
See more of Emersons movie clips HERE.
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Sabtu, 05 April 2014

Image from The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

There are [...] two significant [subliminal cuts] in The Exorcist [...] --- firstly during [Father Damien] Karras [(Jason Miller))] dream of his mother, the screen is filled for two frames with a white-painted image of Jason Millers leering face, appearing as a death mask; and during the exorcism itself, Linda Blairs tossing head is replaced momentarily with Millers similarly deathly visage.  Mark Kermode, Devilish Deceptions (From Fear Magazine, Issue 24 December 1990)
Only Father Karras, in a final, desperate act of self-sacrifice – of somatic and spiritual simpatico with the demon – comes to reconcile and transcend these extremes, thus restoring Regan to her former state of being. Larrie Dudenhoeffer , ‘"Evil against Evil": The Parabolic Structure and Thematics of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, Horror Studies, 1.1, 2010, p. 11 (pdf)

Film Studies For Free is trembling with delicious terror at the news of yet another freely accessible issue of a new journal from Intellect Press - theres just too much to read already... Aaaarrggghhhh...

But seriously, Horror Studies is a peer-reviewed, biannual, academic journal devoted to the study of the aesthetics of horror in all of its cultural and historical forms, from film and literature, music and dance, to fine art, photography and beyond: "With a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity, Horror Studies seeks to foster fruitful dialogue on horror between a wide range of different critical and scholarly traditions."

The first issue contains a good number of excellent film-related articles: on The Exorcist; abjection and masculinity in Todd Solondz’s Happiness; Werewolf of London (Walker, 1935); Dracula in early cinema; the submarine myth and its relation to the shark myth, as it has been propagated in film since Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975); and a Deleuzian study of Michael Almereydas horror films.

As usual, here at FSFF, links to all contents are given below.

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Jumat, 04 April 2014

A veritable labour of love, today, from Film Studies For Free: a list of links to freely available online resources devoted to the study of cinephilia, telephilia and videophilia - the putatively excessive love for whatever is projected (or broadcast or played) on screens large and small. Truth be told: FSFF cant really see whats excessive about that... (Updated June 1, 2009)

To conclude, the normally parsimonious (Open Access championing) Film Studies For Free blog doesnt usually plug books that you have to pay for (even though its owner both writes and, of course, reads such papercentric objects) but it absolutely must flag up the fact that it is very much looking forward to Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperbs forthcoming Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, vol. 1, due to be published by Wallflower Press in June 2009.

This first volume in a twin-anthology project includes contributions by Robert Burgoyne, Zach Campbell, Tobey Crockett, Brian Darr, Kevin Fisher, Andy Horbal, Christian Keathley, Adrian Martin, Jenna Ng, Lisa Purse, Dan Sallitt and Girish Shambu, as well as by Sperb and Balcerzak.

As todays links list so amply testifies, so many of these authors have already tirelessly shared their work on this topic for free online. FSFF thinks this is very much a book worth having.
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Kamis, 03 April 2014

Updated November 19, 2011
Frame grab from Roma, città aperta/Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945)
Projected on the war torn landscape for a weary people, Rome Open City poetically serves the goals of unification and restoration. In many respects, this film both conforms to and promotes an ideal image of a courageous, Resistant and unified population – from communist intellectuals, to catholic priests, to working class women and their children. Open City maintains the comfortable melodramatic schema of Rossellini’s earlier Fascist-era films in which the forces of good (the Italian people) struggle triumphantly against the forces of evil embodied in the Nazi general Bergmann and his deviant cronies. The director’s fondness for his people culminates in an apologetic portrayal of Italian fascists as either wretched or unwilling collaborators. However, in the end, Open City’s epic scope effectively precludes the possibility of another film like it: all the “fathers” (Manfredi, Pina, Don Pietro) are dead and the child soldiers are abandoned to the city, suspended “between past and future”. The conclusion, the partisan priest’s execution, witnessed by the children of his parish, forewarns of the fragmentation, destitution, and moral poverty to come. With his last words, “non è difficile morire bene, è difficile vivere bene” (it’s not difficult to die well, it’s difficult to live well”), Don Pietro intimates the struggles ahead. [Inga M. Pierson, Towards a Poetics of Neorealism: Tragedy in the Italian Cinema 1942-1948, PhD Thesis, New York University, January 2009  97-98] 
Another teaching week beckons, and Film Studies For Frees author looks forward to pondering, for the umpteenth, pedagogical time, that intensely strange film Roma, città aperta/Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945).

There are some excellent resources on this film, and on related issues of (neo)realism, that are openly accessible online. So, andiamo felicemente with one of FSFFs regular studies of a single film.

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Rabu, 02 April 2014

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its fourth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

Open Access (OA) has the potential to maximize research investments, increase the exposure and use of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public are supporting a move towards Open Access in increasing numbers every year. Open Access Week is a key opportunity for all members of the community to take action to keep this momentum moving forward.
Its International Open Access Week this week, and while every week is Open Access Week at Film Studies For Free, this website decided to celebrate this special week of events by flagging up the work of an individual who can rightfully claim to be one of the most hard-working supporters of this important cause: Jan Szczepanski.

FSFF was recently contacted by Jan, a librarian from Sweden who has been a collector of freely accessible scholarly e-journals since the end of the 1990s. He has been responsible for gathering the longest ever lists of links to (multilingual) Open Access scholarly journals titles, mostly in humanities and the social sciences, many of which you can access through the embedded document below (also see here).

FSFF hasnt yet fully cross-checked Jans list with its own list of English-language online Film and Media Studies Journals (permanently accessible from the table of contents in the right-hand sidebar), but will do so as soon as possible in order to add notable items it hasnt yet come across.

FSFF has set up the document below so that you can immediately scroll down through the Film titles, from page 107. But you can also perform a search for Masskommunikation to scroll automatically to page 491 for lots of Media Studies titles.

Thanks so much to Jan for getting in touch and especially for all his hard work in assembling this monumental list.

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