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.
This article examines the modernist medievalism of Georg Kaiser’s From Morning to Midnight (Von morgens bis mitternachts), discussing the influence of the morality play genre on its form. The characterization and action in Kaiser’s play mirrors and evokes that of morality plays influenced by and including the late-medieval Dutch play Elckerlijc and its English translation as Everyman, in particular Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann, first produced in Berlin in 1911. The medievalism of Kaiser’s play is particularly evident when it is compared to Karl Heinz Martin’s film version of the text, produced in 1920. The play’s allegory and message, though contemporary, are less specifically historically contextual than the film’s, while its central protagonist is more representative of generic capitalist subjectivity. The detective film shapes Martin’s adaptation, obscuring the morality play conventions and therefore medievalism of Kaiser’s earlier text.
Robert Bresson did not only distribute musical excerpts and sounds in his films, but also often conceived the whole film running in a general rhythm, including the repetition and variation of shots in their contents and length. David Bordwell (1985) considered Bresson’s films as examples of the style centred “parametric mode of narration.” More than that, after Jean-Louis Provoyeur (2003), we consider that many shots in Bresson’s films have a characteristic of “denarrativization,” a conception based on musicality, devoid of representational constraints. One example is the tournament sequence in Lancelot of the Lake (Bresson, 1974), in which visual and sound elements are repeated as a “cell” with variations in length, angle of shot and with addition or suppression of elements. The author also analyses some aspects of The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962), in which the rhythmic sensation is created by the procedure of repetitive alternation of image, speech and space.1
The article looks at German Expressionist cinema through the eyes of contemporary, non-commercial filmmakers, to attempt to discover what aspects of this 1920s approach may guide filmmakers today. By drawing parallels between the outsider nature of Weimar artist-driven approaches to collaborative filmmaking and twenty-first-century non-mainstream independent filmmaking outside of major motion picture producing centres, the writers have attempted to find ways to strengthen their own filmmaking practices as well as to investigate methods of re-invigorating other independent or national cinemas. Putting their academic observations of the thematic, technical, and aesthetic aspects of Expressionist cinema into practice, Ells and Saul illustrate and discuss the uses, strengths, and pitfalls, within the realm of low-budget art cinema today.
The article attempts a brief overview and evaluation of the main theoretical approaches that have emerged in the study of cinematic intermediality in the last decades since intermediality has become an established research term in media studies. It distinguishes three major paradigms in theorizing intermedia phenomena and outlines some of the directions of change in the intermedial strategies of recent films. It identifies in contemporary cinema a tendency to add new dimensions to the relations of in-betweenness regarding both the connection of cinema to reality and its inter-art entanglements. Finally, the article describes a new type of intermediality, which integrates elements of trans-textuality, creating a format of expanded cinema within cinema. This strategy is presented in the context of Eastern European cinema through a short case study of Cristi Puiu’s film, Sieranevada (2016).
In close intratextual connection with earlier pieces of Jafar Panahi’s oeuvre, pre-eminently The Mirror (Ayneh, 1997) and Offside (2006), his recent films made in illegality, including This Is Not a Film (In film nist, Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2011), Closed Curtain (Pardeh, Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi, 2013) and Taxi Tehran (Jafar Panahi, 2015), reformulate the relationship between cinema and the “real,” defying the limitations of filmmaking in astounding ways. The paper addresses the issue of non-cinema, pertaining to those instances of cinematic “impurity” in which “the medium disregards its own limits in order to politically interfere with the other arts and life itself” (). Panahi’s overtly confrontational (non-)cinematic discourse is an eminent example of “accented cinema” (). His artisanal and secret use of the camera in deterritorialized conditions and extreme limitations as regards profilmic space – house arrest, fake taxi interior – gives way for multilayered reflexivity, incorporating non-actorial presence, performative self-filming and theatricality as subversive gestures, with a special emphasis on the off-screen and remediated video-orality performed in front of, or directly addressed to the camera. The paper explores the ways in which the filmmaker’s tactics become powerful gestures of “politicized immediacy” (, 6) that call for the (inter)medial as an also indispensably political act (().