Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 22: On the Cultural Circulation of Contemporary European Crime Cinema

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    The Troubles crime thriller and the future of films about Northern Ireland
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Gallagher, Richard; Baschiera, Stefano
    Troubles-based crime thrillers were once a staple of Hollywood cinema in the 1990s. However, these types of films have become something of a subgenre of European crime films in the last few decades given that films produced over the period have all been produced and financed by either the United Kingdom, Ireland, France or Germany. Owing to both the financial and critical success of these films, relative to other types of films about Northern Ireland, and the more market-driven approach adopted by policymakers, the crime thriller genre has also become the primary way that audiences engage with cinema about Northern Ireland. Although some encouraging developments have come with this transition away from, at times, exploitative Hollywood-produced films, continued reliance on genre in this new dispensation—specifically the crime thriller—is still a development that is not without problems. The type of films about the conflict produced today also contrasts significantly with those produced during the “first wave” of Irish cinema in the 1980s.
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    Capturing European crime: European crime cinema at European film festivals
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Hunter, Russ; Baschiera, Stefano
    As “shop windows” for newly produced but not-yet-released films, the study of festivals is one measure by which it is possible to assess the nature, presence and relative quantity of European crime films made in any given year. This article explores the presence of European crime films at European film festivals by examining the complete festival programmes from Cannes, Berlin and Venice. These three festivals are widely regarded as the most prestigious and largest in Europe (forming part of the global “Big 5” alongside Sundance and Toronto) and as such are premier destination for films of all types, particularly European productions. The prestige and visibility afforded by them means that they are key sites of exhibition, marketing and potential distribution to any film that is programmed there. The aim is to begin substantiating the numerical, national and transnational make-up of European crime cinema by using its presence on the European festival circuit as means to highlight its contemporary production status. A systematic analysis of all films programmed at Cannes, Venice and Berlin in order to identify the European crime films present identified a total 289 films (8.05% of the total films programmed at these festivals) out of 3587 films surveyed across a five-year period (2016–2020).
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    The distribution and promotion of Dogman (2016) in the United States
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Garofalo, Damiano; Baschiera, Stefano
    This article will analyse the distribution and promotion strategies of Matteo Garrone’s Dogman (2018) in the United States. It will reconstruct the singularity of this case study in a comparative perspective, considering both the international circulation trends of European national cinemas and the distribution of contemporary Italian films in the United States. An integrated methodology will be adopted, combining film and media industry studies, cultural studies, and the field of art and culture economics. After an analysis of the tendencies of the distribution of Italian contemporary arthouse cinema in the United States, the specific distribution strategies adopted for Dogman will be considered against the background of the financing system within which the production model of the film is embedded. Further, the role of Magnolia Pictures, the North American distributor of Garrone’s film, will be inspected through the discussion of some interviews with professionals directly involved in the promotion and distribution of the film.
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    On the cultural circulation of contemporary European crime cinema
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Baschiera, Stefano; Baschiera, Stefano
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    Cosmopolitan crimes: Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria (2015) and the distribution of European crime films
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Schleich, Markus; Baschiera, Stefano
    German crime films usually only find wide international circulation when they deal with either the two World Wars or the country’s unique position during the Cold War. Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015) is an exception. The film, shot in one continuous take, tells the story of a young woman from Madrid who meets four local Berliners outside a nightclub in the middle of the night and ends up robbing a private bank with them. Without an established auteur or any sizeable star power attached to it, the film managed to travel widely within Europe, made possible by Creative Europe’s funding schemes for distribution. The first section of the article examines the struggles of German crime films to cross the borders, despite the abundant national production of crime films, television series, and literature. The second section focuses on the importance of the distribution scheme that helped Victoria travel and explores how the policies of the MEDIA programme have shaped the European cinema landscape. In the third section, the paper examines how Victoria evokes images and discourses of European society such as disenfranchisement, solidarity, and precarity set in a cosmopolitan Berlin. By analysing the promotional texts, this final section explores how Victoria’s ideal combination of genre, auteurial ambitions and “added European value” granted the film access to support mechanisms which are usually out of reach for a film.