Charlotte Brontë, in her 1847 Victorian bildungsroman novel Jane Eyre, employs the invented figure of Bertha Mason as a kind of fictional entity, or a haunting spectre of a full-fledged character, in order to imbue the central setting of Thornfield Hall with a potent sense of atmospheric dread which is permeated by a colonial subtext related to Bertha’s origins in the West Indies. The Val Lewton-produced, B-movie chiller I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943), which notably interweaves elements of the Jane Eyre narrative into its own tale of a Canadian nurse sent to the West Indies to attend to a “zombified” mad woman, capitalizes on the novel’s appropriation of colonialist subtext as a source of dread, magnifying it into a primary form of terror. (more…)
An iconoclastic talent, Barbara Hammer has been leaving her mark on cinema for over five decades. The author of numerous thought-provoking, audacious works, Hammer has received many awards and honors, while also breaking barriers with her exploration of such topics as lesbianism, aging, the female body, and mainstream portrayals of women and homosexuality. Later this month, IU Cinema and IU Libraries Moving Image Archive will be celebrating this exceptional pioneer of queer cinema with the film series Barbara Hammer: Boundless.
To further learn about Hammer’s career and why she is still an important filmmaker to this day, I interviewed Carmel Curtis, a Film Digitization Specialist from the Moving Image Archive and one of the programmers of the series. (more…)
Every month A Place for Film will bring you a selection of films from our group of regular bloggers. Even though these films aren’t currently being screened at the IU Cinema, this series will reflect the varied programming that can be found at the Cinema, as well as demonstrate the eclectic tastes of the bloggers. Each contributor has picked one film that they saw this month that they couldn’t wait to share with others. Keep reading to find out what discoveries these cinephiles have made, as well as some of the old friends they’ve revisited. (more…)
As the year draws to a close in this decade of the 2010s, that can mean only one thing for various communities who spend all year consuming, proselytizing, and analyzing art: taking something subjective and putting it in an objective ranking order! This isn’t a bad thing. Some people approach these lists as objective quality, but for most it’s a way for people who find these mediums important to get people to spend their holidays reflecting and discovering something they have missed in a breakneck and frequently distracting year. When it comes to film there’s one list I look forward to more than any other list (or quite frankly any other thing) come year’s end: Indiewire Senior Film Critic David Ehrlich’s “Top 25 Films of the Year” video countdown. (more…)
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jesse Balzer, a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Culture (now IU’s Media School), about his current research on movie trailers and the industry creating them.
What was it about movie trailers that first peaked your interest as an area of research?
It was simply how familiar and simultaneously unfamiliar we all are with trailers. We all watch them, we love them, we hate them, they are such an integral part of film culture; yet, unlike the films they sell, we almost never discuss who makes them, how they’re made, and what they mean. I want to correct that. And, as a researcher, I’ve discovered that there’s so much I can do with trailers; I can write about film history, industry, stardom, fandom, genre, aesthetics, gender, race, sexuality, you name it! My goal is simply to deepen public knowledge about trailers, and their cultures, in as many different ways as I can. (more…)
In 1963, aspiring Japanese animator Kihachiro Kawamoto traveled from Japan to Prague to study stop motion animation under Czech animator Jiří Trnka’s direction. According to an interview for Midnight Eye, the young Kawamoto sent Trnka a letter “and waited for over 6 months” for the reply and an invitation to come to Prague to learn from Trnka. Kawamoto spent over a year in Czechoslovakia studying puppet animation at Trnka’s studio.
Trnka likewise influenced Jean Cocteau, Jan Švankmajer (who produced a couple of films for Trnka’s studio), and the Quay Brothers (who purportedly learned puppet animation technique from a couple of Trnka’s protégés). (more…)