The paper explores the representation of ageing white men in 21st-century European art cinema in the socio-cultural context of the series of crises that European societies had to face in the first decades of the new millennium. In Europe ageing is a growing concern, which already influences economic productivity and further endangers the welfare system. Ageing white men, who used to belong to the hegemonic majority of society during their active period, are often disoriented and frustrated by rapid technological development, social changes, shifts in social values or the failures of the welfare system. This paper, through the analysis of Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011), I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016) and A Man Called Ove (Hannes Holm, 2015), explores the ways these issues are represented in contemporary European cinema. The films of this period often depict the disappearance of an old life-world, together with its old sense of community and its old types of men. Thus, these films tend to be critical of globalized modern societies, and often reveal both the vulnerability and the potential destructiveness of these vanishing masculinities.
The paper departs from the assumption that while the analysis of the systematic effect that popular cinema (genres like melodrama, horror or action movies) has on its spectators has been largely discussed by film theorists, little has been written on the affective dimensions of arthouse cinema. The lasting effect of visually compelling films on the individual spectator’s emotions has been addressed only sporadically by cognitive film theory, film phenomenology and aesthetics. Therefore, the author proposes to bring together terms and concepts from different discourses (film and literary theory, intermediality studies and empirical psychological research of the literary effect) in order to elucidate how intermedial, painterly references in midcult and arthouse films mobilize the associative dimensions of film viewing and may have an impact on spectatorial self-reflexion and emotional growth. Moreover, films that rely on the associative power of still(ed) images, painterly references bring into play the personal and cultural experiences of the viewer. As such, they can be effectively used in professional and cultural sensitivization.
The article introduces the collective research project entitled The Social History of Hungarian Cinema, 1931–2015, executed by the staff of Film Studies Department Eötvös Loránd University. This data-driven research aims to examine how and why Hungarian films have changed over time. Using the case study of conflict types in the plots of Hungarian films this study discusses the methodological problems of longitudinal explanations of change in Hungarian film history (periodization and dividing film between genre-based film and auteur films/art cinema). Based on the analysis of statistics and trends, the study presents the most important types of conflict in Hungarian film history. With respect to the political turning points and the periodization of Hungarian film history, the article states that each of the three broad periods (1931–1944, 1945–1989, 1990–2015) is characterized by its own distinctive set of prominent conflict types. The pre-1945 era is characterized by a massive number of love conflicts, the socialist period by the highest rate of political conflicts (and the lowest rates of love and crime conflicts), and the post-socialist period by a high rate of crime and generational conflicts. Furthermore, by analysing the connections between conflict types and genres, the study reveals recurring patterns and trends of shorter periods: it shows how the range of conflicts narrowed considerably over the 1970s and discusses the extent to which this is related to the dominance of auteur films in the era.
The article focuses on Hungarian films produced between 1939–1944 by examining how they tend to refrain from representing conflicts, and scrutinizing the political as well as social issues. However, directors started to revise this avoidance of conflicts by employing a so-called noir sensibility from the beginning of the Second World War in certain films, especially in “doomed love movies” such as Deadly Spring (Halálos tavasz, 1939), Mountain Girl (A hegyek lánya, 1942), and A Woman Looks Back (Egy assszony visszanéz, 1942), or melodramas, such as At the Crossroads (Keresztúton, 1942), Lent Life (Kölcsönadott élet, 1943), and Black Dawn (Fekete hajnal, 1943). The essay also offers a case study of the banned Hungarian movie Half a Boy (Egy fiúnak a fele, shot in 1943, but only shown in February 1946) by D. Ákos Hamza, which represented and protested against the stigmatization of Jewish people. Half a Boy is an often-cited emblematic film of its era. It is also an enigmatic one: it is a work full of social and political-historical reflections. Its humanistic point of view makes it outstanding in its era, nevertheless it is also rather ambivalent in terms of its orientation of values.
The link between avant-garde cinema and painting has always been a conspicuous one but perhaps never as much as in the case of landscape films. However, not only repurposing or evoking specific paintings but constructing entire films with the intention of producing cinematic analogies to certain traditions of landscape painting presents a number of issues, especially when the films in question are inspired by the sensibilities of 19th-century Romanticism and explore similar topics, such as the works of Peter Hutton. The problem is essentially twofold: on the one hand, how to break away from the painterly roots and make an exclusively cinematic pictorial representation of landscape and, on the other hand, how to account for the complicit position of the filmmaker with regard to the nature–technology opposition they address. Within the theoretical framework of the recent speculative turn in philosophy and the implications of this with regard to aesthetics, I argue that an object-oriented approach to landscape filmmaking – as seen in the works of Chris Welsby –, by establishing pre-compositional rules within which landscape itself can intervene in the filmmaking process, provides a solution to both the aesthetic and the ethical anxiety that haunt landscape filmmakers.
The main focus of this paper is on the narrative strategy used by fan writers in the process of interpretation of a modern classic. The research is based on the hypothesis that text-interpretation implements the existing yet implicit narrative lines of an original source. The discussion focuses on Vladimir Nabokov’s œuvre represented by the novel Lolita in amateur writers’ communities. The article’s hypothesis is that due to the existence of English and Russian versions of Lolita, fan texts in both corpora differ in the choice of linguistic means, but use similar narrative structures (Greimas). Whenever the narrative scheme is not oversimplified to resemble the model of a mass literature novel, it follows Humbert’s confession scheme in a way the character himself wants the fictional reader to perceive it. If the name of one of the actants is omitted or the two-actant model is expanded, the amateur text is close to the plot of the novel and its auto-citation structure. The novel, devoted to the story about an erroneous interpretation, is open to any mass-media adaptations. The original narrative strategy of Lolita is more exposed through the fan adaptations: the active reader is an obligatory participant in the artistic creation.
Györgyi Vajdovich’s article aims to describe the representation of female roles in Hungarian feature films of the period 1931 to 1944. The study is based on the analysis of the database that was created within the framework of the research project The Social History of Hungarian Cinema. Concentrating on the representation of female protagonists, this article first analyses the presence and prevalence of female figures in all Hungarian sound films (up until 2015). Then it narrows the scope of analysis to films produced between 1931 and 1944, and describes the typical professions and social and financial positions of female protagonists, as compared to those of male protagonists. The second half of the text examines the representation of female upward mobility in comedies – showing that according to the popular myths of the era, female upward mobility is principally realized through good marriage, with the narratives of the films rarely presenting the professional success of female protagonists and their possibilities of emancipation. Analysing the narrative patterns and gender roles in the films of the time, the text concludes that the narratives of female ascension, which mostly took form in comedies, reflected the desire of middle-class people to transgress the social and financial boundaries in society. As such, the films served to maintain and strengthen the patriarchal order of the era.
The Japanese multimedia artist Ryoji Ikeda’s work can be interpreted as a contact between mediums, but also as a contact between disciplines. Most of his video installations are based on concepts borrowed from the field of mathematics, physics or information technology. In this paper I will examine Ikeda’s audiovisual installations by presenting these multimedial installations as possible methods of visualizing digital data in the context of contemporary art. Considering their digital and abstract nature, these works can also be analysed as unique audiovisual environments built from different media based on the same data-sets, offering the possibility of immersion. By unfolding the medial relations within Ikeda’s work I will try to demonstrate how the combination of sight and sound creates the inter-sensual experience of getting in touch with digital data.
The article analyses Youth, a Chinese melodrama directed by Feng Xiaogang in 2017, as a representation of China during a transitional period in history. It explores issues of nostalgia and nostophobia in connection with the complexities of memory, representation, and viewing pleasure. It discusses how sound and image trigger memories and conflicting emotional reactions. In the film’s nostalgic and elegiac re-enactment of a controversial past, the military art troupe performs songs and dances extolling socialist virtues as their own lives gradually unravel with the dawn of a post-socialist era. The article elaborates on how Youth reflects and enlivens personal and collective social memory as well as how we negotiate our ambivalent feelings towards the representation of a controversial past.