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 […]

Film festival management and programming

St Andrews Film Studies publishes the book series Films Need Festivals, Festivals Need Films under the editorship of Dina Iordanova. The series is now in its 6th edition in as many years, with the two newest being Coming Soon to a Festival Near You: Programming Film Festivals edited by Jeffrey Ruoff (St Andrews Film Studies, […]

Female celebrity and ageing in the limelight and under the microscope

Female celebrity is policed, under surveillance, and interrogated within contemporary culture, illuminating the gendering of not only celebrity but fame in general. There are political, historical, and social implications to this gendering of fame which are explored within celebrity studies – an area of film and media studies which continues to expand in new directions. […]

Haunted by participatory culture

Mirko Tobias Schäfer’s Bastard Culture! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Production (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011) and José van Dijck’s The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) both approach online services and practices that emerged in the 2000s. The technological and business sides of these phenomena are […]

Impossible dreams: ‘Europe and Love in Cinema’

As its title makes clear, Europe and Love in Cinema, edited by Luisa Passerini, Jo Labanyi, and Karen Diehl (Bristol: Intellect, 2012), offers an intriguing and provocative encounter between three concepts – ‘Europe’, ‘love’ and ‘cinema’ – which may not initially seem to have that much in common, at least in the field of film […]

The cinema of Béla Tarr: The circle closes

‘Much of the available commentary on the films of Béla Tarr is often confused and confusing.’ I could not agree more with John Cunningham. His words, written on the jacket of András Bálint Kovács’ book (New York: Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press, 2013), remind the reader of those essayistic writings on Tarr’s cinema which often try, […]

Soundscapes, sound clash

The ‘sonic turn’ in media and cultural studies of recent years has been manifested by a snowballing of publications in the last decade, consolidating sound’s status as a legitimate area of enquiry. The introduction to Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies (edited by Kara Keeling and Josh Kun; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) points […]

Globalisation and television formats

At the time of writing this review John de Mol’s television production company Talpa has just started airing its latest reality show Utopia. As was the case with Big Brother in 1999 and The Voice of Holland in 2010, Dutch television merely functions as a test market and showroom for international buyers. Only Dutch viewers […]

Shadow economies and digital disruption

Judging by the titles of Dina Iordanova’s and Stuart Cunningham’s edited volume Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves On-Line (St. Andrews: St. Andrews Film Studies, 2012) as well as Ramon Lobato’s Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution (London: British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), one could be forgiven for thinking that the movie theatre as we […]

Moving data

Mobile communication via mobile and wireless devices not only dominates social communication in terms of everyday media but has already replaced the paradigm of the computer as the medium of convergence for information and communication technologies. The development of smart phones has far-ranging impacts on the consumption of previously disconnected individual media and has laid […]

Re-writing the history of the avant-garde

The task of writing the history of the avant-garde cannot be considered an easy one. The term ‘avant-garde’ itself is in many ways problematic. Because of its intrinsic antagonism in regard to tradition, the concept of the avant-garde can appear as an attempt to break with the entire heritage of art history, or at least […]