rss_2.0Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies 's Cover Metamodernist Utopia: The Neo-Romantic Sense and Sensibility of the Series<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper addresses the cultural paradigm of metamodernism as conceived by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker (2010). Ontologically, metamodernism is perceived as oscillating between the modern and the postmodern, whereby the tools of postmodernism (such as irony, sarcasm, parataxis, deconstruction, scepticism and nihilism) are employed to counter (but not obliterate) modernist naivety, aspiration and enthusiasm. This oscillation results in what the above authors have termed “informed naivety,” a phrase denoting a state of wilful pragmatic idealism that allows for the imagining of impossible possibilities. Vermeulen and van den Akker’s two key observations about the shift from postmodernism to metamodernism in contemporary art are discussed in this paper, namely the (re)appearance of sensibilities corresponding to those of Romanticism and the (re)emergence of utopian desires, in an attempt at a metamodernist analysis of the Netflix adaptation of the <italic>Bridgerton</italic> book series, aimed primarily at elucidating its popularity as one of the most watched programmes of the global Covid-19 pandemic.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00They Live: Violence, Horror and Spectres in Four Contemporary Argentine Films<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the Argentine film <italic>The Headless Woman</italic> (<italic>La mujer sin cabeza</italic>, Lucrecia Martel, 2008), the protagonist Vero is haunted by the possibility of killing someone in a hit-and-run. Although hinting at the crimes committed during the last dictatorship in Argentina, <italic>The Headless Woman</italic> refers more to a mechanism of the past that is transformed and updated within contemporary society. In this essay, Martel’s film acts a starting point in the exploration of recent Argentine films that deal with spectres from the past that pervade everyday life in the present: <italic>Clementina</italic> (Jimena Monteoliva, 2017), <italic>One Sister</italic> (<italic>Una hermana</italic>, Sofía Brockenshire and Verena Kuri, 2017) and <italic>The Returned</italic> (<italic>Los que vuelven</italic>, Laura Casabé, 2019). In a decade in which we can notice a remarkable growth of the horror genre in Argentine cinema, these films embrace several codes and characters from the horror genre to approach the Argentine reality. The author discusses how these filmmakers adopt similar aesthetic features from the horror genre to invoke and address the violence that permeates Argentine society today, with special attention devoted to ghosts, a key figure to understand an ongoing history of brutalities that usually go unresolved.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00Cinema from the End of Time: by Cristi Puiu and Vladimir Solovyov<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Arguably Cristi Puiu’s most intricate film so far, <italic>Malmkrog</italic> (2020) comprises nearly three and a half hours of intense discussions about some of the most pertinent questions of our times since the Industrial Revolution – about the ethics of war and progress, the inevitable end of history, and the elusive nature of Good and Evil – posited by the Russian religious philosopher Vladimir S. Solovyov in his seminal book <italic>War, Progress, and the End of History</italic> (subtitled <italic>Three Conversations Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ</italic>) and published in 1899. The article looks at the screen rendition of Solovyov’s three dominant discourses – statist-militarist, bourgeois-liberal, and religious-philosophical – through the grid of <italic>katechon</italic> (or “that which restrains”) in its Biblical, and above all, in its political philosophic meaning (following Carl Schmitt, Georgio Agamben and Sergei Prozorov). Furthermore, by introducing the concept of intermedial <italic>katechon</italic>, the article argues that while Puiu’s audio-visual rendition remains congenially faithful to the original, it transcends its allusions to the tragic 20th century, and illuminates our murky times of ubiquitous (bio-)political, social, intellectual, and above all ethical angst.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00The Flagrance of the Sacred. Notes on the Miraculous Event in by Carl Theodor Dreyer<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Can the transcendence of the sacred be represented through the potential of cinema, a medium based on the ontological reproduction of the Real? Can the dimension of the completely Other, whose limits and boundaries are hardly identifiable, come to the screen and become sensitive and perceptible? This contribution, taking as references the phenomenological dimension of the sacred proper to the investigation of Father Amédée Ayfre and the more stylistic one studied by Paul Schrader, intends to propose a reflection on how the miraculous event, understood as an objective suspension of physical laws, of narrative verisimilitude, in which the procedures of representation and rendering in images are configured as a fracture with respect to the customary nature of aesthetic expression of reality, are made evident in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s <italic>Ordet</italic>.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00The Goddess, Daenerys Targaryen and Me Too Values<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this article the author interprets the image of Daenerys Targaryen from the HBO television series, <italic>Game of Thrones</italic> (2011–19) as an allegory for the Me Too movement and as a symbolic depiction of the concepts of women regaining their power. She follows the connection between the emerging visualization of Daenerys with the tiny dragons and ancient depictions of Goddesses and dragons, and connects this motif to feminist scholars who researched the revival of feminine language in the 1970s and the 1980s of the 20th century. The article also suggests that the nudity of women depicted in fantastic art, particularly in images with women and dragons, are not necessarily titillating but representative of the early feminist stage of women seeking a symbolic power figure. The author also contrasts Daenerys’s visualization with those images, suggesting how she demonstrates the evolution of the motif in light of the changing focal points of feminist movements. Daenerys’s image, she suggests, reflects one of the central issues of the Me Too phenomenon – considering the female body as a sanctuary, which even if exposed and suggestive, is dangerous and forbidden to touch.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00Between Troubles and Peace in Northern Ireland: Cinematic Divisions in Kenneth Branagh’s (2021) and Terry Loane’s (2004)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Troubles officially ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, but the conflict left such profound scars in the history of the region that making a film about Northern Ireland tends to almost automatically assume a discourse informed by division. The question that arises, then, is how this context may be tackled so as to simultaneously do justice to its traditionally rendered black-and-white reality and offer a more complex, contemporary understanding of the past that embraces reconciliation, openness and multiplicity of perspectives. Thus, the paper offers a close analysis of multiple types of division featured in Kenneth Branagh’s <italic>Belfast</italic> (2021) and Terry Loane’s <italic>Mickybo and Me</italic> (2004) by making use of John Hill’s and Fiona Coffey’s theoretical categorizations that distinguish traditional Troubles productions from the more recent Peace Process cinema. This genre-based inquiry allows for a probing of the films’ positioning in relation to the Troubles paradigm, as well as a revealing of difference at the heart of two otherwise very similar films, whose employment of conventional vocabulary may not allow for their unproblematic alignment with the politics of peace.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00The Aesthetics of the Spectral and the Permanent Crisis in Tsai Ming-liang’s Art<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper focuses on the motif of permanent crisis and the “ghost” in Tsai Ming-liang’s art through a close analysis of films such as <italic>I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone</italic> (<italic>Hei yan quan,</italic> 2006), <italic>What Time Is It There</italic>? (<italic>Ni na bian ji dian</italic>, 2001), <italic>Vive l’amour</italic> (<italic>Ai qing wan sui</italic>, 1994), <italic>The Skywalk is Gone</italic> (<italic>Tian qiao bu jian le</italic>, 2002), <italic>The Hole</italic> (<italic>Dong</italic>, 1998), and the relevant discourse of Jacques Derrida and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, pointing out new, previously undiscussed connections between <italic>What Time Is It There?</italic> and François Truffaut’s <italic>The 400 Blows</italic> (<italic>Les quatre cents coups</italic>, 1959). The aesthetics of the spectral is presented as a possible way of approaching films that not only reckon with the increasing immaterialization of the medium in the digital age, but also extend this to understand and represent new qualities of human relationships and existence in the world, using the motif of the ghost as an allegory of the medium and a “haunting” of traditional cinematic plot organization and narrative.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00Crisis Narrative and Affective Intermediality: Figuring Disaster in Michael Haneke’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Michael Haneke’s <italic>Time of the Wolf</italic> (<italic>Le temps du loup</italic>, 2003) depicts a grim vision of the world in the aftermath of an unnamed catastrophe. Haneke turns the genre of dystopia into an experimental terrain where he can test the limits of the cinematic medium in the sense of “negating cinema in order to let reality speak for itself” (Nagib 2016, 147). An existential parable, <italic>Time of the Wolf</italic> envisions a sombre post-millenium age. It is a sharp analysis of what remains of man and society when the frame of civilization collapses. It scrutinizes the functioning mechanisms of the individual, the family and the social community in times of civilization undone. A harsh experiment towards a negative dialectics of the image, the film’s exceptionally austere cinematic language confronts the spectator with the aesthetics of the “unwatchable” (Baer et al., 2019) and “cinematic unpleasure” (Aston 2010). The paper explores the ways in which Haneke’s “intermedial realism” (Rowe 2017) also manifests in this film through photo-filmic images and painterly compositions, perceptions of stillness and motion, and cultural remnants of the past, giving way to affective sensations of intermediality.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-11-10T00:00:00.000+00:00Recontextualizing : Masculinity in Totalitarian Spaces in Hungarian Film History<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>As a result of its radical approach to the topic of the Holocaust, as well as due to the long list of prestigious prizes it won, <italic>Son of Saul</italic> (<italic>Saul fia</italic>, 2015, directed by László Nemes Jeles) has put the relation between Eastern European societies and totalitarianism in the centre of public and academic discourse. Though most reviews and articles placed the film in the history of Holocaust-representations, this is not the only context in which the film can be understood. In the present article I argue that <italic>Son of Saul</italic> can also be read outside (or at least at a distance from) the context of a Holocaust-film, as it also belongs to another, quite different and internationally much less known local cinematic canon. There is an unclaimed heritage behind Nemes Jeles’s controversial masterpiece, a trend in Hungarian cinema that explores the crisis of masculinity in totalitarian political regimes, thereby performing an allegorical critique of modernity and modern subjectivity. My recontextualization of Nemes Jeles’s work indicates the ways it is influenced by a local, Eastern European filmmaking tradition (which includes the work of his own father, the filmmaker András Jeles as well), and is supported by three interrelated conceptual focus points: a post-Foucauldian understanding of cultural and cinematic space, an awareness of the workings of modern cinematic allegory, and finally the use of male protagonists as prime sites for the inscription of social crisis and historical trauma.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00Singularity and the Open-Ended Crisis<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The study aims at investigating the phenomenon of crisis in the intersection of three areas: simulation, singularity and temporality. The argument develops a theory of the singular crisis whose instances are demonstrated and proved by the American thriller, <italic>Take Shelter</italic> (2011, Jeff Nichols). The applied concept of crisis is based on the argument that any critical period is treated by models derived from earlier crises. The theoretical background to the simulated operating mechanisms of the crisis is Jean Baudrillard’s and Gilles Deleuze’s appropriations of simulation and simulacra. In case the simulated problem-solving patterns fail in a critical period, the singular characteristics of the crisis can be observed. Based on examples taken from the film, the article argues that reaction to any given crisis is essentially built up by both hyperreal patterns governed by simulation and singular elements that simulation cannot account for. The description of the temporal nature of crises is heavily dependent on interpretation, thus their temporal span is observed from the vantage point of their singular characteristics. The study argues that crises are characteristically open-ended but their endpoint is predominantly designated in hindsight to render the crisis as a finished time period for the sake of manageability.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00Narratives of Historical Memory and Their Touristic Function: The Case of Sergei Loznitsa’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article discusses a documentary film, <italic>Austerlitz</italic> (2016), by the Ukrainian film director Sergei Loznitsa. The film shows massive flows of tourists visiting Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, therefore, it is interpreted through the prism of dark tourism. The article argues that by functioning as a piece of virtual dark tourism, <italic>Austerlitz</italic> is constructed as a re-enactment of a collision with places of death. By refusing to moralize or condemn bored concentration camp visitors, Loznitsa enables the viewer to understand how radical experiences of mass destruction and death are being recorded in tourism practices in today’s society. The French semiotician and philosopher Roland Barthes argues that death is most clearly perceived when it opens up as an act that has already taken place in the past, but at the same time will also take place in the future – <italic>this has been</italic> and <italic>this will be</italic>. The article concludes that exactly this is the effect of the documentary film <italic>Austerlitz</italic>. By showing crowds of visitors walking in the empty spaces of concentration camps, Loznitsa opens up a tragedy of mass destruction and death that has already taken place, but at the same time will also happen.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00Finance Film on Must-See Lists: A Tale of Positivization<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article shows the way must-see film lists hosted by financial publications positivize, after the 2008 crisis, the message of feature and documentary films representing finance. Here positivization refers to the detouring or softening of the critical edge of the message of a film in the interests of the hosting website and the profession of finance in general. Emphasis falls on financial literacy and on a film’s artistic prestige and entertainment potential. The author argues that positivization is a semantic strategy indicative of a neoliberal business ontology that informs the interpretation of cultural artifacts. It instrumentalizes signification processes in order to foreground exchange value and present film reception as an investment in human capital.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00Spectres of War in Deimantas Narkevičius’s and Sergei Loznitsa’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This text discusses Deimantas Narkevičius’s <italic>Legend Coming True</italic> (<italic>Legendos išsipildymas</italic>, 1999) and Sergei Loznitsa’s <italic>Reflections</italic> (<italic>Отражения</italic>, 2012), two films by contemporary artists and filmmakers that revisit war traumas – the Holocaust in Lithuania and the Siege of Sarajevo in Bosnia – indirectly, without narrative reconstruction of the events or use of the archival images to display their atrocities of these two tragedies. Instead, these two experimental films, I argue via Jacques Derrida, evoke spectres of the war in the contemporary urban setups to activate the half-mourning in the present. Aesthetic strategies used to expose the haunting past are closely scrutinized and compared in order to demonstrate the films’ aesthetic potential of walking the spectator through war traumas without departing the present.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00The Exquisite Corpse of History. Radu Jude and the Intermedial Collage<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article argues for the relevance of intermediality in the interpretation of Radu Jude’s films made after 2016: <italic>The Dead Nation</italic> (<italic>Ţara moartă</italic>, 2017), <italic>I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians</italic> (<italic>Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari</italic>, 2018), <italic>The Marshal’s Two Executions</italic> (<italic>Cele două execuţii ale Mareşalului</italic>, 2018), <italic>To Punish, to Discipline</italic> (<italic>A pedepsi, a supraveghea</italic>, 2019), <italic>The Exit of the Trains</italic> (<italic>Ieşirea trenurilor din gară</italic>, 2020), <italic>Uppercase Print</italic> (<italic>Tipografic majuscul</italic>, 2020), <italic>Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn</italic> (<italic>Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc</italic>, 2021). Instead of framing Jude’s aesthetic in terms of the Eisensteinian montage, as many reviewers have done, the article addresses the way in which these films insist on the tensions between media, on creating an ontological collage, not only a cinematic montage. The collage effect of the films materializes in sensuously and intellectually layered permutations that connect different media and shares some traits with the Surrealist play of the <italic>cadavre exquis</italic>. The mixture of heterogeneous materials becomes a strategy (informed by the ideas of Walter Benjamin) to reflect on history in the conditions of postmemory as well as a way to explore the relationship between media and reality through various positions of spectatorial engagement and the affective metalepsis between reflexivity and immersion.<sup>1</sup></p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00Crisis, Sociology and Agency in 1970s Hungarian Documentary Cinema<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article explores synergies between Hungarian critical sociology in the 1960–70s and the documentary films made in Balázs Béla Stúdió in the same period. It treats the rationalization of social phenomena as a battle ground for meaning and claims that both representatives of the social sciences and filmmakers, on the one hand, called upon deficient social mechanisms and the inner contradictions of existing socialism and, on the other hand, pointed to the discrepancy between ideological and empirical perceptions of reality as the root cause of the crisis characterizing the consolidated Kádár regime. Adopting Clifford Geertz’s conceptual matrix of the experience-near and the experience-distant production of social meaningfulness, the article explores how sociologists and makers of sociographic documentaries alike resisted the prevailing epistemic regime, more specifically how they punctured and undermined the ideological meanings of such concepts as maternity, the Romani, and cooperative democracy.<sup>1</sup></p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00In the Captivity of the Present. Approaches to by László Nemes Jeles<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p><italic>Son of Saul</italic>, the Hungarian director, László Nemes Jeles’s film about Holocaust was released in 2015 with great international success: Grand Prix of the Cannes Film Festival, the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best foreign-language film. In my essay, I approach the film from a variety of perspectives. First, by analysing the visual and aural level of the film I intend to show how – in a very original way – <italic>Son of Saul</italic> is capable of depicting the understandably limited perspective and numb state of mind of the protagonist, a member of the Sonderkommando. In the second section, I compare <italic>Son of Saul</italic> with the Nobel Prize winner novel, <italic>Fatelessness</italic> (1975) by Imre Kertész. I argue that these two works show strong similarity in their storytelling and staging of the Holocaust. Both works miss a looking back in hindsight and the historical perspective, confining their protagonists to the present. Thirdly, I examine the relation between the absurd mission of Saul saving the dead boy and the problem of remembering and commemorating the Holocaust. Finally, I try to map the traces of popular genres in <italic>Son of Saul</italic>. I recon the film applies – on the one hand – the audiovisual techniques of the POV-horror genre while – on the other hand – the media and presentation tactics of first-person-shooter video games. The application of well-known media procedures can thus bring the historical event that can be hardly visualized or verbalized closer to the younger generation. With the Holocaust fading away in the past and the number of survivors and witnesses radically decreasing, this is certainly becoming more and more important.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-08-05T00:00:00.000+00:00Silence as a Metaphor in the Polish Radio Reportages during the COVID-19 Pandemic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Silence became one of the important aspects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article discusses how this social experience was presented in radio reportages, for which silence is not only a topic but also an element of the construction of the message. The reports of the Polish Radio, produced in lockdown conditions, document silence in a double perspective: the transformation of the broadcast sphere of large metropolises and the private sound space of the characters. Silence, as a phonic phenomenon, functions as a universal metaphor for fear, threat, “curse of isolation,” but also hope. Experiencing silence goes beyond the individual feeling thanks to a metaphoric line through which the recorded stories gain a universal context. The analysis of audible materials shows the mechanism of the constitution of these meanings, as well as selected media functions of silence as a tool for modelling content and managing the recipients’ attention.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-15T00:00:00.000+00:00A Tale of Sound and Fury Signifying Everything: Argentine Tango Dance Films as Complex Self-Reflexive Creation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article equates the multidimensional artistic form of Argentine tango (dance, music and song) with the innately hybrid form of film. It compares Argentine tango culture to the height of French cinephilia in the 1950s Paris, France, arguing that they are both passionate, erotic and nostalgic ways of life. In Carlos Saura’s <italic>Tango</italic> (1998) and Sally Potter’s <italic>The Tango Lesson</italic> (1997), the intertwining of the related skills of tango practice and filmmaking are an audio-visual treat for the senses and a cognitive challenge for the mind. Their self-reflexivity promotes excess and the result is a highly expressive and complex form. They evince a cross-fertilization of reality and fiction, of art and life, typical of a perfect <italic>mise en abyme</italic> as described by Christian Metz. These films are also art musicals, although they depart from the Hollywood musical conventions. Yet, one cannot speak in their case of intermedia reflexivity, according to Petr Szczepanik’s definition, because both of them retain their qualities in a symbiotic relationship of likeness that highlights their mutual aura.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-15T00:00:00.000+00:00The Role of Experimenting with the Human Voice in Film Music in the Representation of the Human/Alien Divide: the Case of (2016)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article focuses on the musical dimension of experimentation in the creative space of science fiction film, concerning its uncanny, new and fantastic places, and otherworldly encounters within fictional, but possible worlds. The aim is to consider the function and potential of the audible – to examine how sound is used in the filmic exploration of the boundaries between the human and the alien (the unknown). More particularly, we are interested in the role that human voice-like and human vocal sounds can play in this divide, as we believe manipulations with such audible qualities contribute greatly to the emotional dimension of cinematic stories of otherworldly encounters. For that purpose, we concentrate on Denis Villeneuve’s <italic>Arrival</italic> (2016) and its soundtrack composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, who resorts to different singing practices and vocal techniques to accompany a story charting the territories between the human and the alien.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-15T00:00:00.000+00:00Circular Causality of Emotions in Moving Pictures<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the framework of predictive coding, as explained by Giovanni Pezzulo in his article <italic>Why do you fear the bogeyman? An embodied predictive coding model of perceptual inference</italic> (2014), humans construct instances of emotions by a double arrow of explanation of stimuli. Top-down cognitive models explain in a predictive fashion the emotional value of stimuli. At the same time, feelings and emotions depend on the perception of internal changes in the body. When confronted with uncertain auditory and visual information, a multimodal internal state assigns more weight to interoceptive information (rather than auditory and visual information) like visceral and autonomic states as hunger or thirst (motivational conditions). In short, an emotional mood can constrain the construction of a particular instance of emotion. This observation suggests that the dynamics of generative processes of Bayesian inference contain a mechanism of bidirectional link between perceptual and cognitive inference and feelings and emotions. In other words, “subjective feeling states and emotions influence perceptual and cognitive inference, which in turn produce new subjective feeling states and emotions” as a self-fulfilling prophecy (Pezzulo 2014, 908). This article focuses on the short introductory scene from Steven Spielberg’s <italic>Jaws</italic> (1975), claiming that the construction / emergence of the fear and sadness emotions are created out of the circular causal coupling instantiated between cinematic bottom-up mood cues and top-down cognitive explanations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-11-15T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1