Increasing Your Vitality
Perhaps we can now return to our initial question with a revived sense of its paradox why are the 1970s seen by some critics as the unique and special highpoint of the American cinema, and by others as more like a brief interlude in an overall development of self-regulation and self-renewal which has allowed Hollywood not only to survive but to reassert its hegemony in the global business of mass-entertainment At one level the answer is, of course, that 'art' and 'commerce' once more appear to confront each other in implacable incompatibility. At another level, the present collection also challenges the very terms of this opposition and tries to sketch a model for a third possibility that art and commerce are always in communication with each other. What makes the cinema unique is that it is an art form owing its existence to the particular interplay of capitalism and the state, at any given point in time. Perhaps more than any other creative practice, then, the cinema's potential and...
The first signs of a renewed debate around national cinema in Britain took place in the early 1980s, on the fringes of emerging film studies, as part of a polemic about the relation between two kinds of internationalism that of Hollywood and its universalizing appeal, and that of a counter-cinema avant-garde, opposed to Hollywood, but also thinking of itself as not bound by the nation or national cinema, especially not by British cinema. At that point the problem of nationality played a minor role within academic film studies, compared to the question of authorship and genre, semiology, the psychoanalytic-linguistic turn in film theory, and the rise of cine-feminism. With the shift from classical film studies to cultural studies, however, the idea of the nation once more became a focus of critical framing, almost on a par with class and gender. Broadly speaking, the term national cinema thus fed on oppositional energies derived from the avant-garde and the new waves, in parallel to...
Nied the establishment of film studies in British universities since the 1970s. As a question about what is typical or specific about a nation's cinema, and its obverse what is the function of cinema in articulating nationhood and fostering the sense of belonging, the debate owes it productive vitality in Britain to a conjuncture that could be called the interference history between film studies, television studies and cultural studies. Several phases and stages can be identified in this history, and they need to be recapitulated, if one is to understand what is at stake also in any substantive move from national cinema to what I am calling New Cinema Europe, and to appreciate what new knowledge this move can be expected to produce. Paradoxically, it may have been the very fact that by the mid-1990s the discussion around national cinema had - depending on one's view - hardened into dogma or reached a generally accepted consensus around a particular set of arguments that encouraged the...
It would be folly to attempt to predict the future of TV noir. But its pervasiveness and the tenacity of its hold on the imagination suggest the vitality of what might be called the noir dimension of human experience and the relevance of that dimension to questions of who we are and how we are to live.
WE LIVE ALONG a cultural fault line that constantly threatens the vitality of the arts in America. On one side of this fault is the commonplace complaint that there is too much sex, violence, and offensive material in art and media. On the other side is an equally strong force that defends speech and expression in absolute terms, that resists anything that smells of censorship, and that elevates art of all kinds to an irreproachable level. Occupying but often lost in the cultural space between these two positions is a delicate ironic stance. This is an irony that contextualizes the concerns of both sides but remains independent enough to resist the Manichean terms of the debate. Without such irony we get riots over cartoons, churches boycotting movies with gay characters, and museum curators staunchly defending urine-soaked crucifixes.
We did not know when we started that it would take three years of hard work to finally achieve the best of what we then felt we could accomplish. In the course of three years, the tide of outside enthusiasm dwindled and finally turned into rejection. The Shadows people continued, no longer with the hope of injecting the industry with vitality, but only for the sake of their pride in themselves and in the film that they were all devoted to do.
The reception of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities was mixed. It was not critically acclaimed. It was serialised weekly in All the Year Round, but Dickens came up with what he called the 'rather original and bold idea' to publish at the end of each month a shilling monthly part in a green cover with two illustrations.3 Sales were good. By March 1859 monthly instalments totalled 35,000. Nevertheless the general feeling seems to have been that while Hard Times and Little Dorrit showed signs of Dickens's magic beginning to fade, A Tale of Two Cities was frankly dull to the readership which had greedily lapped up David Copperfield and the earlier novels. But the novel did subsequently enjoy a vigorous life of its own as play, film, radio, television and opera, an enduring vitality shared by very few novels, possibly only rivalled by War and Peace4
Later, Peter plays and Molly sings 'Kys mig, nar du vil' (Kiss me when you want to), which has a lightness signalled by the title but is here performed by Molly with an almost desperate vitality, connecting it to the unpredictability of the suicide plot.
For Farber, the great achievement of Hopper, Fonda, and Southern is that they feel the pulse of young America. They are very good at reflecting the fantasies of alienated youth, less astute at shaping these fantasies into artistic form.11 I would certainly agree that for many viewers, the tour of an alternative America was the key element of Easy Rider. The film encompasses the drug culture, bikers, hippies, the commune movement, a revived interest in the American Indian, and an excellent rock and roll soundtrack. In itself, the soundtrack suggests the vitality and diversity of American youth culture in 1969, via such performers as the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Steppenwolf, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, and so on.
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