Film Strip image from Wikimedia Commons

Film Strip image from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 22: Panel Discussion on Theorizing the Politics of Cinema (2014)

Please join us for the final Chicago Film Seminar of the year at 6:30 pm on Thursday, May 22 to welcome a panel discussion, held in conjunction with the Latin American Studies Association, on "Theorizing the Politics of Cinema (2014)."  Panelists include:  Kathleen Newman (Iowa), Cristina Venegas (UC-Santa Barbara), Marvin D'Lugo (Clark University), Jens Andermann (University of Zurich), Luisela Alvaray (DePaul), and Laura Podalsky (Ohio State).  Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky (UIC) is the organizer/moderator. The CFS will return to our usual location at DePaul's Loop Campus in the Daley Building at 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102, using the State St. entrance located at 247 S. State.

Thursday, May 22 at 6:30pm
Kathleen Newman, Iowa
Cristina Venegas, UC-Santa Barbara
Marvin D'Lugo, Clark University
Jens Andermann, University of Zurich
Luisela Alvaray, DePaul
Laura Podalsky,Ohio State 
"Theorizing the Politics of Cinema (2014)"
Moderator: Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky, UIC

The panel is described as follows:

In conjunction with the annual conference of the Latin American Studies Association, which returns to Chicago after ten years, this roundtable brings together Latin American film and media scholars from around the world.  Using the "politics of cinema"a topic with which the sub-field has long been associatedas an entry point, this roundtable will address new trends and debates in Latin American Cinema and Media Studies with an eye toward establishing a dialogue about context, method, and globalization across regional/national specializations.  Historically, politics has been central to scholarship on Latin America cinema.  Moreover, the disciplinarization of the sub-field was integrally linked to the analytic category of the "New Latin American Cinema."  Latin America became one of the privileged sites for thinking about politics in and of cinema more broadly.  The recent revival of Latin American cinema production and the traction of several Latin American films at international film festivals as well as the growth and methodological diversity of current scholarship make this an auspicious time to reflect on the trajectory of the sub-field and its relation to "world cinema."  Scholarsincluding those participating on this panelare rethinking sclerotic historical periodizations and theorizing the cosmopolitanism of recent (and past production) in the context of global film culture and transnational (and national) funding schemes. 


KATHLEEN NEWMAN (Associate Professor of Cinema & Spanish at the University of Iowa) specializes in Latin American cinema.  Her research focuses on theoretical questions regarding the relation between cinema and globalization.  She co-edited World Cinemas, Transnational Practices (2009) with Natasa Durovicova; this anthology examines the conceptual frameworks that would allow international film history to be understood as a transnational practice.

CRISTINA VENEGAS is Associate Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her book Digital Dilemmas: The State, the Individual, and Digital Media in Cuba (Rutgers 2010) deals with digital media in Cuba. She has also written about film and political culture, revolutionary imagination in the Americas, telenovelas, contemporary Latin American cinema, co-productions. She has curated numerous film programs on Latin American and Indigenous film in the US and Canada, and is Co-founder and Artistic Director (since 2004) of the Latino CineMedia International Film Festival in Santa Barbara.

MARVIN D’LUGO is Research Professor of Spanish and Screen Studies at Clark University (Worcester Massachusetts). His primary areas of film research include theories of authorship and the aesthetics of transnational cinema. He is author of The Films of Carlos Saura: The Practice of Seeing (Princeton 1991); Guide to the Cinema of Spain (Greenwood 1997); Pedro Almodóvar (Illinois 2006) and co-editor of Companion to Pedro Almodóvar’s Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell 2013). Since 2008 he has been principal editor of Studies in Hispanic Cinema. His current research involves auditory culture in the development of transnational Hispanic films.

JENS ANDERMANN is Professor of Latin American Studies at University of Zurich and adjunct professor at Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina). Publications include New Argentine Cinema (I.B. Tauris, 2011), The Optic of the State: Visuality and Power in Argentina and Brazil (Pittsburgh UP, 2007) and Mapas de poder: una arqueología literaria del espacio argentino (Beatriz Viterbo, 2000). As editor, he has published New Argentine and Brazilian Cinema: Reality Effects (Palgrave, 2013), Galerías del progreso: museos, exposiciones y cultura visual en América Latina (Beatriz Viterbo, 2006) and Images of Power: Iconography, Culture and the State (Berghahn, 2005). He is an editor of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. Current research topics: landscape and modernity in 20th-century Latin America, material and intangible forms of postdictatorial memory, post-mimetic aesthetics of the real in contemporary Brazilian and Argentine cinema.

LUISELA ALVARAY is Assistant Professor in Media and Cinema Studies at DePaul University. She specializes in Latin American cinema, transnational cinemas, media and cultural studies and film historiography. Her articles have appeared in Cinema Journal; Studies in Hispanic Cinemas; Transnational Cinemas; Cultural Dynamics; Communication Teacher and Film & History, among other journals. She is a contributor to the book Latin American Melodrama (ed. Darlene Sadlier, 2009) and has published two books in Spanish – A la luz del proyector: Itinerario de una espectadora (2002) and Las versiones fílmicas: los discursos que se miran (1994).

LAURA PODALSKY teaches Latin American film and cultural studies at The Ohio State University.  She has published essays on a wide variety of topics, including Guillermo del Toro’s English-language films; landscapes of masculinity in contemporary Mexican cinema, telenovelas and globalization, cosmopolitanism in tango films, and pre-revolutionary Cuban cinema.  She is the author of Specular City: Transforming Culture, Consumption, and Space in Buenos Aires, 1955-1973 (2004) on Argentine film and urban culture and The Politics of Affect and Emotion in the Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).


SALOMÉ AGUILERA SKVIRSKY is Assistant Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include Latin American cinema, documentary film, film theory, ethnographic film, race and representation, and melodrama. Her work has appeared in Cinema Journal, the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, and Social Identities. Currently, she is working on a book-length manuscript titled “The Aesthetic of Labor: Work, Toil, and Utopia in Latin American Political Cinema” about the aesthetics and politics of, what might be called, the “process film” genre in Latin American and world film history.

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 10: Allyson Nadia Field on Fixing "The Birth of a Nation" --NEW LOCATION!

Please join the Chicago Film Seminar at 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 10 to welcome Allyson Nadia Field (UCLA) for her talk, "Fixing The Birth of a Nation: Hampton Institute, The New Era, and the Ambiguities of Uplift."  Cynthia Blair (UIC) will provide the response. The CFS will be held at a new location--Notre Dame's Loop Campus at 224 S. Michigan Ave. (the room number and entrance instructions will be forthcoming).  

Thursday, April 10 at 6:30pm
Allyson Nadia Field, UCLA 
"Fixing The Birth of a Nation: Hampton Institute, The New Era, and the Ambiguities of Uplift"
RespondentCynthia Blair, UIC

Field describes her talk as follows:

This talk considers the intersection of African American uplift cinema and The Birth of a Nation.  In April 1915, when The Birth of a Nation had its Boston premiere, it was met with strong protest from African Americans and those supportive of the "Negro cause."  To appease protestors (and the censors), the Griffith camp not only made several cuts but, more importantly, two additions: first inserting a "screen record" in the form of educational slides in the film, and later appending an epilogue, The New Era, made from a Hampton Institute publicity film titled Making Negro Lives Count.  Though the film is now lost, the debate over The New Era marks an unlikely turning point in questions of the cinematic promotion of African American modernization in the 1910s, and a key move away from the legacy of uplift that Hampton exemplified.  While Griffith's reasons for being interested in the additional footage are fairly straightforward, what is less obvious is why Hampton--one of the leading agricultural and industrial colleges for African Americans--would have wanted to be associated with such a controversial and virulently racist film like The Birth of a Nation.  Indeed, Hampton's participation in this project, and their seeming complicity with Griffith's work, was quickly met with withering and long-lasting criticism from African American leaders, women's groups, and the press.  This talk explores the reasons behind Hampton's decision, arguing that the placement of The New Era at the end of The Birth of a Nation fit into a broader logic of cinematic practices associated with uplift.  At the same time, the episode exposed deep fissures in those practices, displaying the power and limits of uplift as a political and aesthetic strategy.  Excavating this seemingly lost history reveals forces and tensions that would come to shape twentieth century Black cinema--a legacy that has never wholly escaped the complex impact of America's first blockbuster.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

March 13: Michael DeAngelis on Reading the Bromance

Please join the Chicago Film Seminar at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 13 to welcome Michael DeAngelis (DePaul) for his talk, "Reading the Bromance."  Nick Davis (Northwestern) will provide the response. The CFS will be held at DePaul's Loop Campus in the Daley Building at 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102, using the State St. entrance located at 247 S. State.

Thursday, March 13 at 6:30pm
Michael DeAngelis, DePaul 
"Reading the Bromance"
Respondent: Nick DavisNorthwestern

DeAngelis describes his talk as follows:

“Bromance” has come to denote an emotionally intense bond between presumably straight males who demonstrate an openness to intimacy that they neither regard, acknowledge, avow, nor express sexually.  This paper attempts to account for the widespread cultural popularity of the bromance phenomenon in popular media during the past decade, discerning what is thematically and formally unique about bromance, as well as its historical connections with a number of traditions in American culture.  After noting antecedents within and beyond the realm of cinema, I proceed with a close analysis of the similarities and differences between bromance and the buddy film that emerged in American cinema at the end of the 1960s into the early 1970s, examining the very different ways in which these two genres configure intimacy between men, and focusing upon the role of the women and the domestic sphere in inter-male relationships.  The paper concludes by discussing the critical usefulness of configuring “bromance” as both a generic “product” and a discursive “process.”  Ultimately, I attempt to illuminate some of the paradoxical constructions of heteronormative masculinity that have emerged in a culture that finds homosexuality to be more increasingly visible, and that has accommodated this visibility by developing open, reflective, and introspective discourses of male bonding.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

February 13: Jonathan Crylen and Dimitrios Latsis On Histories of the Moving Image at the Intersection of Place and Style

Please join the Chicago Film Seminar at 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 13 to welcome Jonathan Crylen (Ph.D. Candidate at UIowa) for his talk "Expanding Oceans, Expanded Screens: Deep-Sea Exploration and the IMAX Experience" and Dimitrios Latsis (Ph.D. Candidate at UIowa) for his talk "Canaletto, Promio, Greenaway:  An Eternal Landscape Braid"  Matt Hauske (Ph.D. Candidate at UChicago) will provide the response. The CFS will be held at DePaul's Loop Campus in the Daley Building at 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102, using the State St. entrance located at 247 S. State.

Thursday, February 13 at 6:30pm
Jonathan Crylen, Ph.D Candidate, UIowa
"Expanding Oceans, Expanded Screens: Deep-Sea Exploration and the IMAX Experience"
Dimitrios Latsis, Ph.D. Candidate, UIowa
"Canaletto, Promio, Greenaway: An Eternal Landscape Braid"
Respondent: Matt Hauske, Ph.D. Candidate, UChicago

Crylen describes his talk as follows:

This paper explores the question of scale as regards the deep-sea, the technologies that explore it, and immersive, large-format cinematic experience (IMAX).  Though much of the ocean remains unexplored, submersible technologies have in the past few decades greatly expanded the scale of the known ocean for researchers.  Similarly, IMAX movies of the deep ocean--such as Volcanoes of the Deep (2003) and Aliens of the Deep (2005), this paper's two key examples--have put these new discoveries on display for a curious public on a visual scale that mirrors the scope of "inner space."  First, this paper examines scale on an aesthetic register, drawing on classic/contemporary ideas of the sublime.  It considers the relationship between the technological sublime and the nature-oriented Romantic sublime, arguing that large-format images of the abyss inextricably fuse nature and technology--so that the natural and technological sublimes become mutually constituting.  In these films, spectacular nature always testifies to the advanced technologies (cinematic and oceanographic) that reveal it.  Secondly, my paper addresses scale on a rationalist register, drawing on Bruno Latour's arguments about scientific inscriptions.  For Latour, science aims to produce combinable and superimposable figures and diagrams that render a great many things "presentable all at once."  I argue that IMAX deep-sea documentaries function as Latourian inscriptions in motion, bringing together a diverse range of phenomena--macroscopic and microscopic, oceanic and cosmic, human and nonhuman--in one enormous frame, asking viewers to engage rationally with what also overwhelms them--to redefine disparate and opposed phenomena in relation to one another.

Latsis describes his talk as follows:

What moves cinema? What moves in cinema?  How has movement, its spatial, geographical and aesthetic articulations influenced the development of the medium's artistic vocabulary and catalyzed its cross-pollination with the visual arts?  The great eighteenth-century Venetian landscapist Canaletto first developed the vocabulary of the urban veduta in the 1720s, by 'freezing' the desired view and 'projecting' it onto his canvas, while retaining--in his gestural, architectural and atmospheric renderings--an implicit dynamism that preserves while transforming natural movement.  In 1896 the cameraman Alexandre Promio, working for the Lumières brothers, addressed the need for spatial and temporal compression in out-of-door actualitès, by inventing the technique of the travelling shot to record his views of Venice.  Three quarters of a century later, Peter Greenaway conducted some of his early structuralist experiments in the same locales, honing an analytical style that would inform his later oeuvre.  Using first-hand accounts from these three artists and close analysis of their work derived from and inspired by the very same Venice landscapes (Grand Canal, alleyways and palazzi), my paper surveys the ways that movement, its conceptualization and artistic rendering has shaped the elaboration of filmic style throughout cinema's history.  Through interdisciplinary and transhistorical comparisons, the locus of location is revealed to be just as crucial for cinema as it has been for fine art at large for centuries.

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 16: Pamela Robertson Wojcik on Shirley Temple as Streetwalker

Please join the Chicago Film Seminar at 6:30 pm on Thursday, January 16 to welcome Pamela Robertson Wojcik (Notre Dame) for her talk, "Shirley Temple as Streetwalker."  Miriam Petty (Northwestern) will provide the response. The CFS will be held at DePaul's Loop Campus in the Daley Building at 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102, using the State St. entrance located at 247 S. State.

Thursday, January 16 at 6:30pm
Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Notre Dame 
"Shirley Temple as Streetwalker"
RespondentMiriam PettyNorthwestern

Wojcik describes her talk as follows:

My talk is called "Shirley Temple as Streetwalker," which I mean literally - she walks in streets - and metaphorically - her mobility in urban space seems to conjure prostitution and narratives of fallen women.  Temple's films of the 1930s yoke together seemingly contradictory narratives of the fallen woman and the "new girl."  They show Temple being unmoored from home - orphaned or displaced - and then finding herself on streets where she encounters men.  Their encounters, however, do not lead to "degradation" or victimization.  Instead, they emphasize the girl's mobility and freedom and ascribe to her significant agency to transform and improve not only her situation, but also that of the men.  In this way, these films offer a vision of the urban as largely benign, and of girlhood as powerful.  This talk comes from my current book, Fantasies of Neglect: Imagining the Urban Child.