The English Theatre Group, under the direction of Peter Bennett, will be performing Oscar Wilde’s Salome and The Fisherman and His Soul (an original dramatization of Wilde’s fairy tale) as a double-bill. Please note that there is a new venue this semester: “die hinterbuene” at Hildesheimer Str. 39A. Performances are on July 17, 18, 20, and 21 at 7:30pm. Contrary to the information on the above flyer, advance ticket sales begin on Monday, July 2, and run through Friday, July 13, in the foyer of the Conti-Hochhaus at Königsworther Platz 1.
(click on image for larger view)
“During the first decade of the 21st century, film style changed profoundly.”
This, at least, is the thesis put forward by Matthias Stork in a series of highly controversial video essays that have circulated recently on the Internet. According to Stork, “Contemporary blockbusters, particularly action movies, trade visual intelligibility for sensory overload, and the result is a film style marked by excess, exaggeration and overindulgence: chaos cinema.”
In a series of film screenings, we would like to engage critically with Stork’s notion of chaos cinema. We shall begin by viewing Stork’s video essays themselves, before moving on to some of the films he discusses and others that exemplify and/or challenge the paradigm of chaos cinema.
For those interested, here are some links to useful background and discussion:
First, Stork’s thesis must be seen against the background of David Bordwell’s notion of “intensified continuity,” which is seen to mark a change from the classical Hollywood style that dominated American cinema from around 1920 until (at least) the 1960s. Chaos cinema, according to Stork, goes further in effecting a radical break with continuity principles, whether classical or intensified.
Another important context is Steven Shaviro’s book Post-Cinematic Affect, which introduced the term “post-continuity.” (A Google Books preview can be found here, but note that approximately two-thirds of the book appeared in the open access journal Film-Philosophy under the title “Post-Cinematic Affect: On Grace Jones, Boarding Gate and Southland Tales“.) More recently, Shaviro has returned to the topic and reflected explicitly on Stork’s notion of chaos cinema in a talk given at the 2012 annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, reprinted in full on his blog The Pinocchio Theory.
And here, finally, is the schedule of screenings (note that all screenings will be held in room 615 of the Conti-Hochhaus, at 6:00 pm):
April 26, 2012: “Chaos Cinema” (Matthias Stork, 2011)
May 24, 2012: Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000)
June 21, 2012: Transformers (Michael Bay, 2007)
July 5, 2012: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright, 2010)
July 19, 2012: WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
Films will be shown in English original with subtitles where available. Screenings are open to all, so feel free to spread the word!
An interview with me on the subject of memes, conducted by Manuel Behrens, appears in today’s Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung as part of a full-page spread on Boromir, Philosoraptor, Admiral Ackbar, and Rage Comics. True story! Check it out here: Was sind eigentlich Memes? (The interview, “Jeder kann mitmachen,” is at the bottom of the page.)
The Film & TV Reading Group at the Leibniz Universität Hannover will be meeting this Wednesday, November 30, 2011, to discuss Lynn Spigel‘s “Television, The Housewife, and the Museum of Modern Art” (in Television after TV: Essays on a Medium in Transition, ed. Lynn Spigel and Jan Olsson; Durham & London: Duke UP, 2004; pp. 349-385).
Lynn Spigel will be one of our keynote speakers at “Cultural Distinctions Remediated: Beyond the High, the Low, and the Middle,” December 15-17, 2011. Her talk is entitled “Designer TV: Television and the Taste for Modernism in Mid-Century America” (click for abstract).
The reading group will meet at 6:00 pm in room 609 (in the “Conti-Hochhaus” at Königsworther Platz 1). New members are always welcome to join us!
Here is the final poster (above) that Florian Groß and I put together for our conference “Cultural Distinctions Remediated: Beyond the High, the Low, and the Middle.” As mentioned before, artist James Hance graciously allowed us to use his “Dark Starry Knight” for our conference materials. For this we are very grateful. (And if you like his artwork, please consider making a donation to the fund that James has set up to help pay the medical bills for his daughter Maddy.)
Here (below) is the final program as it will be printed (as a 6-sided folded flyer):
Click to enlarge. (And see here for links to abstracts for all the presentations.) Finally, in case you missed it, here’s the unofficial promo video for the conference:
This is a reminder that our Bollywood Nation film series will begin on Thursday, October 27, 2011, at 5:00 pm in room 615 (in the “Conti-Hochhaus” at Königsworther Platz 1).
The first film will be Swades: We, the People [Homeland] (Dir. Ashutosh Gowariker, 2004, 187 mins.), a late renegotiation of the “brain drain” paradigm that could serve as a contrast to the new global NRI films.
The film, which stars Shah Rukh Khan, is summarized at imdb.com thus:
Set in modern day India, Swades is a film that tackles the issues that development throws up on a grass root level. It is to this India, which is colorful, heterogeneous and complex that Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan), a bright young scientist working as a project manager in NASA, returns to on a quest to find his childhood nanny. The film uses the contrast between the highly developed world of NASA, which has been at the forefront of advances in space research, and this world back home in India, which is at the crossroads of development. Mohan’s simple quest becomes the journey that every one of us goes through in search of that metaphysical and elusive place called “home”.
The Film & TV Reading Group at the Leibniz Universität Hannover will be meeting next Wednesday, October 26, 2011, to discuss Jason Mittell’s oft-cited article “Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television” (from The Velvet Light Trap 58 (Fall 2006), also downloadable from Mittell’s website at Middlebury College here). We will meet at 6:00 pm in room 609 (in the “Conti-Hochhaus” at Königsworther Platz 1). New members are always welcome to join us!
The Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research and Jatin Wagle (in conjunction with his seminar “Long-Distance Hindu Nationalism and the Changing Figure of the Expatriate Indian in Contemporary Bollywood Cinema”) are proud to present a series of screenings this winter semester:
From the first silent feature made in 1913, one of the many appeals of commercial Hindi cinema has been its persistent and multifarious staging of the Indian nationalism. It has been argued that the Bombay film constitutes a significant site for the popular negotiation of the Indian nation and that its history could even be told as an eccentric allegory of the checkered, postcolonial career of the Indian nation-state. In the 1960s and 1970s, for instance, when the “brain drain” paradigm ruled the official and dominant view of emigration in India, in the Hindi films the emigrant was portrayed as a sort of deficient Indian. His Indianness corrupted by Western decadence, he was someone who needed to be reformed, if not reviled. But, all this changed after the processes of economic liberalization were set in motion in 1991 and the Indian state started wooing the non-resident Indian (NRI). The new Bollywood NRI is not just an exemplary Indian, but even excessively so. In other words, he is more Indian than Indian, because he is both ultramodern and hypertraditional; he has a hugely successful career in the West, but his home is still an improbable oasis of Indian values and religiosity. Thus, the new Bollywood NRI embodies a deterritorialized cultural nationalism which utilizes the rhetoric of India’s alleged emergence as a global superpower. But, with the unprecedented global recognition and popularity of Bollywood, the rise of the new NRI has also been accompanied by an upsurge of Hindu nationalism within India and in the Indian diaspora. Does the changed socio-economic context and cinematic form account for Bollywood’s growing global appeal?
We plan to engage with these and other related issues in our series “Bollywood Nation” with five films to be screened between 27.10.2011 and 26.01.2012 at 18:00 in room no. 615.
27.10.2011 – Swades: We, the People [Homeland] (Dir. Ashutosh Gowariker, 2004, 187 mins.): A late renegotiation of the “brain drain” paradigm and could serve as a contrast to the new global NRI films. (more here)
24.11.2011 – Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge [The Big Hearted Will Take the Bride] (Dir. Aditya Chopra, 1995, 192 mins.): First successful new global NRI film, considered a classic of its kind. (more here)
08.12.2011 – Pardes [Foreign Land] (Dir. Subhash Ghai, 1997, 195 mins.): Another commercial success, both in India and abroad.
05.01.2012 – Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (Dir. Aparna Sen, 2002, 120 mins.): An English language, Indian film and not a Bollywood production; offers a contrasting aesthetic and another kind of negotiation with the composite idea of the Indian nation.
26.01.2012 – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… [Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness] (Dir. Karan Johar 2001, 210 mins.): One of the biggest commercial hits outside of India and the first Bollywood film to be released simultaneously in Germany, under the title In guten wie in schweren Tagen.
Under the direction of Dr. Peter Bennett, the English Theatre Group at the Englisches Seminar will be performing Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas from Tuesday 12 July through to Saturday 16 July 2011, starting at 19.30.
Tickets will be on sale in the foyer of the Conti Tower from 9.45 until 16.15 each day this week (Mon. 4 – Fri. 8 July).