Marx at the Movies / Cartographies of the Absolute

It is difficult to separate the history of cinema, a form of art so embedded within the twentieth century, from the history of Communism. Perhaps it is not only because of the coincidence of the two dates of birth but, rather, there is something more profound and more structural in regards to their common heritage […]

Social Media – New Masses / Updating to Remain the Same

Do we still live in a mass society? Does that foul spectre of the long and dark 20th century – the masses – extend into the 21st? We would perhaps like to believe that it does not. Or should we say they do not? Part of the anxiety over this strange socio-logical category can already […]

A new era of Maghrebi-French cinema: Two perspectives

From Tunis to Casablanca and further afield in the diaspora, Maghrebi-French filmmakers have articulated the historical transformations of their societies, including their changing place in the world. All the major events and historical moments that have shaped the Maghreb have been put on camera, with original and critical portrayals detailing the social, political, and economic […]

A geography of resistance: Locating US underground film and TV cultures

The latest collection from David E. James[1] and Adam Hyman (filmmaker and former executive director of the Los Angeles Filmforum) offers a historical and critical representation of the emergence and organisation of the US West Coast postwar experimental cinema scene. The book, titled Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 (New Barnet: John Libbey […]

Dreaming of Cinema / Slow Cinema

Adam Lowenstein’s Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015) and Slow Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), a collection of essays edited by Tiago de Luca and Nuno Barradas Jorge, are attempts to come to grips with some of the different ways that digital technology […]

New media configurations and socio-cultural dynamics in Asia and the Arab world

Today more than ever new media and digital technologies are embedded in everyday life and socio-cultural structures. In fact, the evolving nature of media platforms, the migratory feature of content across various media sites, and the adoption of a participatory culture have tremendously altered the social dynamics not only within the nation-state setting but also […]

Complex series and struggling cable guys

Both Jason Mittell’s Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York: New York University Press, 2015) and Amanda Lotz’s Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century (New York: New York University Press, 2014) significantly contribute to filling the gap in research on recent television series. Over the past two decades a […]

Cinema of the Swimming Pool / Cinema as Weather

In the introduction to their excellent edited collection on film location, Taking Place,[1] Elena Gorfinkel and John David Rhodes make a very sharp point about the fact that local specificity is not an alternative to ‘generalizing thought’ but a vital constituent of it. As they explain, ‘place, in its specific concreteness, does not act as […]

The Lumière Galaxy

At the outset of one of the more celebrated American novels of the second half of the 20th century, the main character and storyteller declares: [t]he fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie. Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives: the time one climbed […]

Beautiful Data / The Democratic Surround

As the future approaches, equally digital and messy, it appears that there is considerable need for a thorough re-thinking of the postwar period which to a large extent determined the course of the current conditions. Such a broadly-conceived Foucauldian ‘history of the present’ attempts to shed new light on contemporary phenomena by rethinking their genealogy […]

Education in the School of Dreams: Travelogues and early nonfiction film

The relationship between travel and the moving image is as old as cinema itself, beginning with the famous Lumière film screenings at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris in 1895. Today the travelogue still has an enduring appeal to audiences, ensuring the survival of the form and its continued evolution. The persistence of the […]

Storytelling in the media convergence age: Exploring screen narratives

The early 21st century has been witnessing extraordinary changes in digital media technologies that transformed the means of production and reception of screen narratives. Industrial shifts and an increasing use of the Internet enabled media companies to circulate their content globally and across a range of channels and platforms. This in turn gave more control […]

The documentary film book

Despite its confident title The Documentary Film Book (London: BFI & Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), edited by Brian Winston, opens with a modest disclaimer: ‘[t]his volume is not an encyclopedia, dictionary or guidebook, much less a handbook, thesis or (hopefully) tract.’ Rather, it presents an overview of ‘the present agenda of concerns in the emergent field […]

Television studies reloaded: From history to text

Two recent books constitute essential reference points in television studies, both presenting innovative research directions. The first is a collection of essays edited by Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell titled How to Watch Television (New York-London: New York University Press, 2013). The second, an important decade-long study by Jérôme Bourdon prepared by the Institut National […]

Cinema, postmedia, and resolutions

Resolutions 3: Global Networks of Video edited by Ming-Yuen S. Ma and Erika Suderburg (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012) and Cinema and Postmedia: Contemporary Film Territories / Cinema e postmedia: I territory del filmico nel contemporaneo by Miriam De Rosa (Milano: Postmedia Press, 2013) provide two complementary perspectives on the moving image in the […]