The essay analyses the representation of polyphonic memory in two groundbreaking Hungarian documentary films, made thirty years apart: János and Gyula Gulyás’s I was at the Isonzo, too (Én is jártam Isonzónál, 1984–87) and Bálint Révész’s Granny Project (Nagyi projekt, 2017). The earlier film was made in the 1980s, under the state-socialist system, when doing memory work of both World Wars was limited, if not forbidden. The second film was made recently, in 2017. They differ from each other in many ways, but instinctively they chose the same solution for representing and working out traumas: through transnational dialogue. They focus on traumatic experiences of the past, changing national, so-called monologic memory into a broad perspective, putting theory of dialogic memory into practice.1
The article is based on 20 in-depth interviews with women professionals conducted for a more comprehensive study focusing on gender roles within the film and television industry in Turkey. This study examines the career possibilities for women, the experience of being a woman working in television and cinema, and the working environment, including work-life balance issues, experiences of discrimination and experiences of sexism. The hypothesis of this study is that film industry is male-dominated, and women have to struggle to be able to prove themselves in this industry in the 21st century in Turkey, where the position of women is made even more difficult by the gender role codes and the structure of Turkish society.
The films of Guy Maddin, from his debut feature Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988) to his most recent one, The Forbidden Room (2015), draw extensively on the visual vocabulary and narrative conventions of 1920s and 1930s German cinema. These cinematic revisitations, however, are no mere exercise in sentimental cinephilia or empty pastiche. What distinguishes Maddin’s compulsive returns to the era of German Expressionism is the desire to both archive and awaken the past. Careful (1992), Maddin’s mountain film, reanimates an anachronistic genre in order to craft an elegant allegory about the apprehensions and anxieties of everyday social and political life. My Winnipeg (2006) rescores the city symphony to reveal how personal history and cultural memory combine to structure the experience of the modern metropolis, whether it is Weimar Berlin or wintry Winnipeg. In this paper, I explore the influence of German Expressionism on Maddin’s work as well as argue that Maddin’s films preserve and perpetuate the energies and idiosyncrasies of Weimar cinema.
Prerogative of what Jung calls visionary art, the aesthetics of German Expressionist cinema is “primarily expressive of the collective unconscious,” and – unlike the psychological art, whose goal is “to express the collective consciousness of a society” – they have succeeded not only to “compensate their culture for its biases” by bringing “to the consciousness what is ignored or repressed,” but also to “predict something of the future direction of a culture” (Rowland 2008, italics in the original, 189–90). After a theoretical introduction, the article develops this idea through the example of three visionary works: Arthur Robison’s Warning Shadows (Schatten, 1923), Fritz Lang’s The Weary Death aka Destiny (Der müde Tod, 1921), and Paul Leni’s Waxworks (Wachsfigurenkabinett, 1924).
German Expressionism, although often viewed as a uniquely German phenomenon, was part of a broader crisis affecting the European avant-garde at the time of the First World War. The experience of modernity, so proudly displayed at events like the Universal Exposition of 1900, inspired both hopes and fears which were reflected in the works of artists, writers and musicians throughout Europe. The outbreak of the war was welcomed by many exponents of the avant-garde as the cathartic crisis they had anticipated. The letters and diaries of artists who hastened to enlist, however, reflected their rapid disillusionment. The war had the effect of severing cultural ties that had been forged prior to 1914. This did not prevent a parallel process of cultural evolution on both sides of the conflict. Those who survived the war, of diverse nationalities and artistic affiliations, produced works reflecting a common perception that modern civilization had resulted in humanity becoming a slave to its own machines.
The article investigates two seemingly conflicting critical approaches of haptic and transgressive cinema, which emerged along with the corporeal turn in film studies, in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While haptics operates with undistinguishable figures and demands extreme closeness and an active caressing gaze, transgression is usually seen from a distance and subverts the social, political and ethical order. The paper attempts an examination of the Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Kurt Kren’s Actionist films and enlightens how these two opposing strategies can be present together. Giving a detailed analysis of the films, the article describes an expanded definition of Linda Williams’s body genres, in order to create a new category of horror: the horror of materiality.
An (un)conventional encounter between humans and alien beings has long been one of the main thematic preoccupations of the genre of science fiction. Such stories would thus include typical invasion narratives, as in the case of the three science fiction films I will discuss in the present paper: the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956; Philip Kaufman, 1978; Abel Ferrara, 1993), The Host (Andrew Niccol, 2013), and Avatar (James Cameron, 2009). I will examine the films in relation to postcolonial theories, while attempting to look at the ways of revisiting one’s history and culture (both alien and human) in the films’ worlds that takes place in order to uncover and heal the violent effects of colonization. In my reading of the films I will shed light on the specific processes of identity formation (of an individual or a group), and the possibilities of individual and communal recuperation through memories, rites of passages, as well as hybridization. I will argue that the colonized human or alien body can serve either as a mediator between the two cultures, or as an agent which fundamentally distances two separate civilizations, thus irrevocably bringing about the loss of identity, as well as the lack of comprehension of cultural differences.
This article proposes a cognitive-narratological perspective on David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001) and the numerous contrasting interpretations that this film has generated. Rather than offering an(other) interpretation of the film, we aim to investigate some of the reasons why Lynch’s highly complex narrative has gained a cult – if not classic – status in recent film history. To explain the striking variety of (often conflicting) interpretations and responses that the film has evoked, we analyse its complex narrative in terms of its cognitive effects. Our hypothesis is that part of Mulholland Drive’s attractiveness arises from a cognitive oscillation that the film allows between profoundly differing, but potentially equally valid interpretive framings of its enigmatic story: as a perplexing but enticing puzzle, sustained by (post-)classical cues in its narration, and as an art-cinematic experience that builds on elements from experimental, surrealist, or other film- and art-historical traditions. The urge to narrativize Mulholland Drive, we argue, is driven by a distinct cognitive hesitation between these conflicting arrays of meaning making. As such, the film has been trailblazing with regards to contemporary cinema, setting stage for the current trend of what critics and scholars have called complex cinema or puzzle films.