Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 25: Spotlight on Early Career Research in Film Studies

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    Spotlight on early career research in film studies
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2023) Mulvey, James; Mulvey, James
    In recent years, individuals and groups from inside and outside of academia have called for greater diversity on screen, resulting in campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #OscarsSoWhite. In particular, the gender imbalance that exists on screen and behind the camera has been a particular point of focus. Our aim for this special issue is to present research that suggests a way forward for practitioners, educators and members of the broader screen industries from all over the globe with regard to improving gender and diversity imbalances. We note important prior studies and projects exploring screen diversity in industry and educational contexts. We then explore ongoing issues and barriers for the fostering of diversity, such as practitioner perceptions of slow change, organisational initiatives, the impact of caring duties, and television cultures. The editorial ends by presenting an overview of strategies to effect change through screen education.
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    Illuminationist cinema: How Islamic mysticism inspired Morteza Avini’s Sacred Defence documentaries of the Iran–Iraq War and his attempt at constructing a film theory
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2023) Abbasian, Kaveh; Mulvey, James
    ‘Sacred Defence cinema’ is the official title given to Iranian pro-establishment war films concerning mainly the Iran-Iraq War [1980-1988]. The most prominent figure of this filmmaking movement who both made films and wrote about them was the documentary filmmaker, Morteza Avini [1947-1993]. In his search for a new Islamic inspired cinematic language, Avini argued that Islamic mysticism could inspire a mode of filmmaking which he called ‘illuminationist cinema’. He used this term mainly in order to reflect on the filmmaking techniques he developed and used during the making of his own documentaries, but also proposed it as a filmmaking method to be adopted by other Islamic filmmakers. Avini’s early death in 1993 put a stop to his theorisation of ‘illuminationist cinema’; however, his films and his writings continue to inspire new generations of Iranian propaganda filmmakers. In this paper, by analysing Avini’s films and writings, I lay out a definition of his ‘illuminationist cinema’ and explain what aspects of Islamic mysticism inspired which filmmaking techniques developed and theorised by him.
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    Reframing diaspora cinema: Towards a theoretical framework
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2023) De Man, Alexander; Mulvey, James
    This article reviews how the concept of “diaspora cinema” has featured in academic discourses over the past 30 years, examining its underpinning paradigms. In the wake of a transnational and postcolonial shift within film studies, “diaspora cinema” has been increasingly understood in its imbrication with Third Cinema, postcolonial cinema, transnational cinema, accented cinema, intercultural cinema, cinema of transvergence, etc. While critically mapping out these descriptive conceptualisations and models, this article advances an understanding of “diaspora cinema” as an instrumental framework to grasp how diaspora identities, cultures, and spaces are discursively co-constructed through cinematic practices, rather than as a cinematic category per se.
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    Freedom smothered: Gang rape as patriarchal punishment of emancipated women in Yugoslav new film
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2023) Vuković, Vesi; Mulvey, James
    This paper investigates how women, and their roles in changing Yugoslav society, were represented in Yugoslav New Film (1961-1972). Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia legalized gender equality in the wake of the Second World War, but the tentacles of patriarchy, which were difficult to eradicate, still lingered from pre-socialist times. In many movies there is a recurring pattern of sexual violence towards women. One possible interpretation of depicted sexual violation, for example gang rape in contemporary-themed Yugoslav New Films, is as a patriarchal punishment for emancipation of women in terms of education, work, or their sexuality. In order to examine this, the feature-length fictional films: Povratak/The Return (Živojin Pavlović, 1966) and Horoskop/Horoscope (Boro Drašković, 1969), in which the freedom of women’s emancipation was smothered by gang rape, are selected for the case study and analysed. The films are explored through the lens of feminist film theory, via close reading. Besides, the concept of the gaze is applied. Furthermore, I scrutinise whether these representations of rape and their aftermaths condone, or condemn brutality toward female characters, or have rather ambivalent stance toward it.
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    Constructions of race in advertising archives: The “silent” Chinese minority
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2023) Chan, Sally; Caston, Emily
    What do historical representational imageries of the Chinese in television commercials tell us about Britain’s perceptions of this ‘silent’ community? The power of advertising to distort reality and misrepresent ‘the Other’ is well documented. This report addresses colonial constructions of race in advertising using historical archival evidence of the Chinese as a hidden ethnic minority community in Britain. The arguments, drawn from my doctoral thesis, emphasises the importance of archival analysis in historical research on race. In particular, cultural commodification of Chinese culture is evidenced by their depiction during 1960s television commercials for Guinness Export. These interrogations provide clues to how Chinese people and culture have been constructed onscreen, and the political and hegemonic influence of racial politics in Britain. The report also considers the methodological implications of archival holdings in contributing to our understanding how and why race on screen advertising is produced, consumed, and reproduced.