Mette Hjort interviews Danish Director Lone Scherfig about her experience directing the film An Education...
Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard in An Education. Photography: Kerry Brown.
To celebrate the forthcoming release of the third volume in our Directory of World Cinema series, Intellect are offering the Directory of World Cinema: Australia & New Zealand as a free, downloadable pdf (for a limited time only).
Visit the website to get your free download and find out more about the Directory Project. www.worldcinemadirectory.org.
17 – 21 June, 2010
Intellect was pleased to exhibit at the 8th Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference. Hosted by Lingnan University and organized by its Department of Cultural Studies and Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme this was the first Crossroads Conference to be held in East Asia.
Lingnan University is the first university in Hong Kong to establish Cultural Studies as an academic department and its department celebrated its 10th anniversary at the conference.
Although the weather was repressively hot and humid throughout the period, the conference was extremely well organised and attendance was high with an estimated 750 delegates representing all corners of the globe.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank members of Lingnan University for the wonderful hospitality I enjoyed. The conference provided an excellent platform to promote Intellect, its publications, authors and editors and I look forward to welcoming the many potential new authors and editors I met at the conference.
We look forward to attending the 2012 ACS Crossroads Conference in Paris, France.
A book launch for Phenomenology's Material Presence: Video, Vision and Experience was held on Friday 16 April 2010 at the National Library in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.
And if you missed that event, there will be another launch event for the book in Toronto, Canada on Wednesday July 14th...
John Berra is the editor of the recently published Directory of World Cinema: American Independent (2010), the latest volume in Intellect’s Directory of World Cinema series which examines all aspects of American Independent Cinema from dysfunctional families, to homicidal maniacs and Generation-X slackers. He is also the author of Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production (2008) and the editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Japan (2010). John also contributes reviews and interviews to Electric Sheep, Film International, The Big Picture and Scope. To coincide with the publication of the Directory of World Cinema: American Independent, John picks his Top Ten American Independent films.
DiG! (Ondi Timoner, 2004)
The balance - or battle - between art and commerce is often discussed in relation to American Independent Cinema, and it is an argument that is both philosophically and commercially exemplified by the riveting documentary DiG! Filmed over a lengthy period, DiG! follows the contrasting fortunes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, two West Coast bands that seem destined for the big time, only for the former to implode due to in-fighting and drug abuse which the latter achieves commercial success. The egocentric, and occasionally abusive, personality of Brian Jonestown front-man Anton Newcombe is captured by in all its self-destructive glory, although the fact that DiG! revitalised interest in his music proves that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from Tartan.
Drugstore Cowboy (Gus Van Sant, 1989)
Bob (Matt Dillon) is a lifelong junkie who feeds his habit by robbing drugstores and hospitals with the assistance of his wife (Kelly Lynch) and a crew of younger addicts who look up to him as a surrogate father figure. Adapted from an unpublished novel by James Fogle, Drugstore Cowboy follows their Portland-based exploits until the bad karma caused by a hat on the bed suddenly forces Bob to consider the shortcomings of his lifestyle. Following his striking debut Mala Noche (1985), Gus Van Sant laces his second feature with dark humour and subverts the ‘indie’ staple of the road genre; Bob and his crew may be on the move, spending their nights in cheap motels, but their chemical dependency means that they are rarely far from a pharmacy, and never venture outside the familiarity of their own zip code.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from
Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)
Five Easy Pieces was developed by BBS Productions following their breakthrough success with the counter-culture road movie Easy Rider (1969), but while the presence of Jack Nicholson and the tagline ‘He Rode the Fast Lane on the Road to Nowhere’ suggest an unofficial sequel to Dennis Hopper’s biker odyssey, Bob Rafelson’s film is comparatively understated and serves as a cinematic bridge between the idealism of the 1960s and the cynicism of the 1970s. Nicholson is compelling as Bobby Dupea, the self-contradictory music prodigy who has turned his back on his gift and his family to live a blue collar lifestyle of beer, bowling and loose women and Rafelson’s deft direction identifies the insecurities which make prevent Bobby from maintaining personal relationships and professional goals.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
A box office phenomenon that cost a mere $320,000, and effectively invented the format of the ‘slasher’ movie, John Carpenter’s Halloween is a master-class in big screen suspense. On the anniversary of his murder of his parents, masked lunatic Michael Myers breaks out of the asylum that has been his home for decades and returns to his home town of Haddonfield to stalk his younger sister, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis); from this simple premise – succinctly summarised by the tagline ‘the night he came home’ - Carpenter delivers a lean, mean, scare machine that was ripe for imitation. Hollywood swiftly jumped on the bandwagon, picking up such independently-produced rip-offs as Friday the 13th (1980) whilst developing their own entries into an almost immediately over-populated sub-genre.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from Anchor Bay.
Lone Star (John Sayles, 1996)
In the small Texas border town of Frontera, located on the Rio Grande opposite its poor Mexican cousin Ciudad Leon, the body of a sheriff who went missing in the 1950s is discovered, leading to an investigation which sheds light on the darker aspects of community history. Although this relatively simple unsolved mystery occupies the narrative centre, Lone Star is a sprawling cinematic tapestry that finds writer-director John Sayles taking a typically leisurely yet sure-footed approach to the intertwined subjects of historical identity, education and politics within the context of an ethnically diverse community. Sayles works wonders with his ensemble (including Chris Cooper, Elisabeth Peña, Joe Morton and Kris Kristofferson) to make Lone Star a richly satisfying experience.
Currently Unavailable on DVD in the UK.
Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
Martin Scorsese is often cited as the ‘godfather’ of American Independent Cinema, although to assign such status to the Bronx-born maestro is to overlook the fact that such classics as Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990) have been made within the economic confines of the Hollywood studio system. However, Mean Streets is the real deal, a semi-autobiographical account of growing up on the lower East Side of New York that was shot on a shoestring budget and remains a visceral slice of lowlife drama, propelled by a dynamic soundtrack sourced from the director’s record collection. Robert De Niro’s incendiary, star-making performance as the self-destructive Johnny Boy is the perfect counterpoint to Harvey Keitel’s spiritually-conflicted debt collector Charlie.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from
Mystery Train (Jim Jarmusch, 1989)
The films of Jim Jarmusch have often observed American culture from the perspective of oddballs and outsiders, and his third feature Mystery Train offers the Memphis experiences of a Japanese couple who argue about whether Carl Perkins was superior to Elvis Presley and an Italian widow who must spend the night in the city before taking her husband’s body back home, while punk icon Joe Strummer turns up as a small-time crook who holds-up a liquor store. Mystery Train is perhaps the best example of the ‘portmanteau’ format favoured by many American independent filmmakers before the emergence of the ‘network narrative’, but Jarmusch’s sense of humour is so deadpan, and his sense of time and place so spot-on, that any structural trickery almost goes unnoticed.
Currently available on DVD in the UK as part of The Jim Jarmusch Collection Vol. 2 (also including Night on Earth and Dead Man) from Optimum Home Entertainment.
Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)
Filmed at weekends over a lengthy period and not reviewed by the mainstream press until it had been playing on the drive-in circuit for over a year, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead deals with the social breakdown that occurs when a strange epidemic causes the dead to walk the Earth as zombies. The film exhibits a documentary aesthetic which separates it from other exploitation items and enables Romero’s scathing critique of the American presence in Vietnam to rise above the threadbare production values. Night of the Living Dead has more in common with the American underground than the zombie features of Monogram Pictures, with the casting of a black actor as the most sympathetic character enabling Romero to immediately establish his marginal credentials.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from Network.
Suture (Scott McGehee & David Seigel, 1995)
Bizarre and brilliant, the sparse genius of Scott McGehee and David Seigel‘s debut feature recalls such ‘cosmetic nightmare’ movies as Seconds (1966) and The Face of Another (1966) but adds a unique conceit that is emphasised by its black-and-white cinematography: the beneficiary of the plastic surgery is an African-American male, but a case of mistaken identity following a car accident leads him to be identified as his white half-brother. Surprisingly little-seen, Suture is a fascinating commentary on how physical reconstruction can also lead to personal alteration in that the central protagonist finds his persona shifting from open and easy-going to cold and cautious as he gradually immerses himself in the identity of a businessman from the other side of the social-economic fence.
Currently unavailable on DVD in the UK.
Trees Lounge (Steve Buscemi, 1996)
Taking inspiration from John Cassavetes, who pioneered the independent film movement by investing Hollywood paycheques in personal productions, character actor Steve Buscemi parlayed the cult status he acquired from playing Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs (1992) and the hard cash earned from studio assignments into this portrait of a small town barfly. Trees Lounge offers no easy answers regarding alcoholism, and the closing shot of Buscemi staring into space whilst sitting at the bar of his neighbourhood watering hole is appropriately ambiguous. However, the film also has the laid-back vibe of an after-hours drinking session and terrific supporting turns from Chloë Sevigny as the jailbait niece of Buscemi’s former girlfriend and Mark Boone Junior as a fellow alcoholic caught in mid-life crisis.
Currently available on DVD in the UK from BMG.
The work of acclaimed German artist Christoph Schlingensief spans three decades and a diverse range of fields, including, film, television, activism, opera, and theatre. Christoph Schlingensief: Art without Borders is the first book to be published in English on Schlingensief’s groundbreaking, politically engaged body of work.
‘Anyone interested in the most innovative and politically oriented European theatre and performance should be informed of the work of the imaginative and provocative contemporary German artist Christoph Schlingensief. This introduction to his work, the first in English, is therefore much needed and most welcome.’
Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
We are very pleased to welcome to the team Amy Damutz and Kyra Kordoski, our new North American representatives.
Punk & Post-Punk is a new peer-reviewed journal serving the international
academic, industry and journalistic communities engaged with punk and
post-punk culture. It explores the concepts of ‘alternative’ and ‘independent’
established during the punk explosion and developed through the ensuing
post-punk era. Punk remains among the most significant and influential popular
culture phenomena of the last forty years. Complementing the journal’s historical
focus, therefore, is a prominent contemporary aspect. This considers how punk
and post-punk’s ethos and aesthetic are absorbed into the present and projected
into the future.
We invite students of the punk and post-punk eras, as well as those from related
disciplines into which punk’s influence has fed – including researchers, teachers
and practitioners – to contribute to the first issue of Punk & Post-Punk. We
welcome papers exploring punk’s impact on the wider culture beyond music,
including the arts, language, iconography, sociology and gender and race
issues. We particularly encourage papers discussing regional and international
differentiation and contribution. Similarly, each issue will aim to feature at least
one paper in which relevant visual imagery will be a major component.
Articles should be between 4,000 and 6,000 words in length.
Topics may include (but are not limited to):
• Etymology and Language
• Genre Definition and Development
• Antecedents and ‘proto-punk’ influences
• Methodologies and theories appropriate for research and study in this field
• Industrial structures and practices in relation to production
• Gender, class and race issues
• Comparative study between nations or regions, cultures and industries
• Associated cultural industries including fanzines and fashion
• Performance of Style
• Concepts of Independence
• Modernist and Post-Modernist influence
• Global impact and Inclusion
• Performance authenticity
• Archival Approaches
Potential contributors should send a 200-word abstract to co-editor Dr Philip
Kiszely at. A prompt response will assess eligibility for inclusion and provide writer’s guidelines. The deadline for submitting completed articles for peer-review is 31 December 2010.
Punk & Post-Punk will be officially launched at the University of Leeds in
The University of Warwick, with the support of its Humanities Research Centre and the British Society of Aesthetics, is hosting Film-Philosophy III: the third annual conference of the Film-Philosophy journal, 15-17 July 2010.
Confirmed Plenary Speakers: James Conant, Thomas Wartenberg, Sarah Cooper, Erica Carter, John Mullarkey and Richard Dyer.
Click for timetable details
Details of conference registration (day rates available), on-campus accommodation, and conference dinner arrangements can be found on the conference website.
Please Note that the final date for registration is Friday 25/6/10.
For general enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
We had a great time at the Performance Studies International conference in Toronto – the three days there were filled with interesting people, good conversations and exciting new proposals for books and journals...