All posts tagged: film

(In)Visibility: Film Series at the Dryden Theatre

This fall, InVisible Culture proudly publishes its 25th issue, Security and Visibility, which considers the relationship between surveillance and the visual arts. In honor of this milestone, members of InVisible Culture‘s Editorial Board are working in collaboration with Jurij Meden, Curator of Film Exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY and Tara Najd Ahmadi, University of Rochester Fellow at the George Eastman Museum, to present a film series that expands Issue 25’s theme into a cinematic register. The act of looking inherently structures the relation between the spectator and the viewed subject in dynamic terms. Traditionally, the viewer is understood to occupy a position of control over the subject of his or her gaze. This series, titled (In)Visibility, highlights the complexities of this association: what happens when the observer becomes vulnerable, and how can the observed find power in being watched? Set in a variety of locations, from the fashion world of 1970s New York City to an angel-occupied 1980s West Berlin to a contemporary militarized zone in Afghanistan, these films reveal the precarious nature of viewing, and remind …

IVC Presents: William Kentridge at the University of Rochester

InVisible Culture has partnered with the English Department to present a digital extension of William Kentridge’s visit to the University of Rochester in September of 2013. Kentridge, the renowned South African artist, filmmaker, and theater and opera director, was this year’s Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities at the University of Rochester. His visit comprised of four main events: Wednesday, 9/18 at 8 pm at the Dryden Theater – a screening of the entire series of Kentridge’s works of experimental animation, “Drawings for Projection,” followed by a talk with the artist. Thursday, 9/19, at 9:30 AM, in the Welles-Browne Room, Rush Rhees Library – a conversation with William Kentridge, led by Nigel Maister, about his decades-long career as a director of theater and opera. Thursday, 9/19 at 1:30 pm, in the Gowen Room, Wilson Commons – a panel discussion, led by Leora Maltz-Leca, focusing on Kentridge’s work in visual arts and film, with some focus on its South African context.1 Thursday, 9/19 at 4:00 pm, at the Interfaith Chapel – a public lecture initially entitled, “Everyone …

Drift compatibility: “Pacific Rim” and the international blockbuster

Downplaying lackluster stateside box office earnings, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (2013) has been touted for its international popularity, currently representing over seventy-five percent of the film’s worldwide gross. While its number one debut in China at the end of July registered as the sixth biggest ever for a Hollywood title, subsequent foreign openings were predicted as a measure of the likelihood (read “financial viability”) of a sequel. Surprisingly, however, box office returns from Japan’s August 13 release saw the giant monster/giant robot action film come in a disappointing sixth below international flop The Lone Ranger (2013), a Disney adaptation of the American radio drama widely regarded as promoting racist stereotypes of Native Americans. One of the year’s few aspiring summer blockbusters not directly linked to a remade or adapted studio property, Pacific Rim unabashedly embraces two distinct youth-oriented science fiction entertainment genres from Japan: the “kaiju” film genre of fighting monsters begun by Ishiro Honda’s Gojira (1954), as well as the “mecha” anime genre featuring human-piloted mechanical giants typified by Hideaki Anno’s sprawling Evangelion …

Panda: of Desire and Abjection

Short film production has become more popular in the Arabian Gulf region recently, when compared to the predecessors in other regions of the Arab World. Aspiring young directors are finally beginning to receive the support they need for their creations. What matters to me more as a postcolonial feminist scholar is not the availability of funding — however important that is — but the issues presented within the short films themselves. I will take for example Panda (2012), an Omani/Kuwaiti short film directed by Jassim Al-Nofally to discuss from my point of view the transformative concepts these films are adapting and bringing into the picture. Panda is an 8 minute film about Ziad, a young man about to get married and facing the emotional dilemma of having to get rid of his beloved stuffed panda bear. Ziad eventually murders his Panda friend and buries him in the desert, leaving him behind and heading towards married life. While this film may carry different impressions to Arabic and international viewers, I believe that the basics can be …

La Orquesta Sinfonica Infantil de la Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez

“My name is Angie. I’m eight years old and I am playing the bass violin. The bass violin has four strings. It’s a really big violin that can be used to do this,” as she demonstrates by playing. This is the first captioned line of a short documentary in Spanish titled Cornflakes: Desayuno en Juárez (Cornflakes: Breakfast in Juárez). In the scene that follows, we see Angie, Cornflakes’ protagonist, sitting against a green wall holding the bass violin, taller and wider than her eight-year old frame, telling us how many strings the instrument has. She looks down with concentration to pluck each with the petite fingers of her right hand. With each sound, she offers a description: “One is called ‘Sol,’ another ‘Rey,’ another ‘La,’ another, ‘Mi.’” The scene ends with Angie’s pronouncement: “that’s how my life began” [Fig. 1]. Angie is one of 195 youth musicians in La Orquesta Sinfónica Infantil de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), the Children’s Symphony Orchestra of the University of Juárez. Over the course of an academic …

Announcement Concerning Film and Exhibition Reviews

IVC is expanding its reviews section! InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal of Visual Culture (IVC) now welcomes film and exhibition reviews from emerging and established scholars and critics in addition to book reviews. IVC accepts both contemporary and historical works of film criticism. Submissions that engage with current academic and popular discourses in film, media, visual and cultural studies and place particular aspects of film and filmmaking within broader social, political, and historical contexts are especially encouraged. For exhibition reviews, IVC invites work that addresses the organization, presentation, and curatorial rationale of a particular exhibition. Exhibition reviews should also consider how viewers engage with the exhibition, focusing on specific artworks and themes within the exhibition. Comparative reviews and critical essays on histories, theories, and practices of artmaking, exhibition, and curatorial models – i.e. biennials, retrospectives, social practice in the public sphere, politics of display, etc. – are also welcomed.All submissions should be between 1000 and 1500 words, and should follow IVC style guidelines. Only original, previously unpublished submissions will be considered. For more information and for IVC’s reviews call for submissions, please visit the contribute section of our …

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and the Problem of the ‘Rape Scene’

Although somewhat late to the party, I recently viewed the American adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Like many viewers, I found the unapologetically graphic and confrontational rape scenes to be troubling. Popular blogs such as The Stir echoed a commonly-held sentiment that the scenes were too graphic or too disturbing, making it difficult to enjoy the film as entertainment. My initial reaction to the scene was similar. It is difficult to participate as a spectator when watching the scenes in which Lisabeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is raped or coerced into performing sexual acts in return for government support. The revenge scene is equally disturbing. Although Lisabeth subjects her tormentor to the same torture she endured, there is no sense of triumph and the victory feels hollow. Moreover the passive audience feels implicated for “enjoying” a movie with such intentionally disturbing material. 1 Having never read any of Stieg Larsson’s novels, I cannot speak to the ways in which the text differs from its cinematic interpretations. However, …