Announcing Themed CFP 10.2

Film Matters is pleased to announce a new themed call for papers — on documentary — for consideration in issue 10.2 (2019), guest edited by Margaret C. Flinn and students at The Ohio State University. Undergraduates and recent graduates, please submit your theme-related research papers today!

The deadline is January 15, 2019.

For more information, please download the official document (PDF):

Submissions should be sent to:

  • filmmatters10.2 AT gmail.com

(questions should be directed to Dr. Margaret C. Flinn: flinn.62 AT osu.edu).

Please note that Film Matters does not accept submissions that are currently under review by other journals or magazines.

Our guest editors look forward to receiving your papers!

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The Wicker Man and the Dangers of Zealotry. Reviewed by Nick Bugeja

Howie (Edward Woodward) in the stolen Punch the Fool costume. The costume is highly symbolic, reflecting his unwitting manipulation at the hands of the people of Summerisle in The Wicker Man (British Lion Films, 1973)

Many accomplished horror films utilize restricted locales to evoke suspicion, anxiety, and dread. The claustrophobic space of the starship Nostromo appreciably contributed to the petrifying mood in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). In Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Roman Polanski centered the filmic action on an affluent New York apartment block, heightening our fears and suspicions. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), in all probability, is the paradigmatic example of this kind of horror film. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a failing writer, accepts the winter caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel, enveloped by deep forestry. The hotel itself is a hulking edifice, composed of myriad rooms, halls, and public sitting areas. Despite this, the locale of the Overlook Hotel retains a feeling of inescapability, of incarceration, especially for Jack’s eventual prey: his son Danny (Danny Lloyd), endowed with remarkable mental powers; and Jack’s neurotic wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall). Continue reading

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FM 8.2 (2017) Now Out!

Film Matters is pleased to announce the release of FM 8.2 (2017) — guest edited by Matthew Sorrento and undergraduate students from Rutgers University-Camden.

In this issue, you’ll find the following features/featurettes:

  • Beyond Morricone: The Other Italian Film Composers by George Kristian
  • Kubrick Becoming: An Interview with Philippe Mather on Stanley Kubrick at Look Magazine by Melissa J. Webb 
  • On The Autopsy of Jane Doe by Constantine Frangos
  • The Squid and the Whale: A Revenge on Childhood by Connor Rothstein 
  • “One of Us!”: Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster by Constantine Frangos 

As well as book and DVD/Blu-ray reviews by Jen Bircher, Damien A. Capps, Nicole JY Chan, Kelsey Davis, Leila Estes, Rachel Hamilton, Frederik Hartmann, Mark P. Heaton, Jessica P. Jackson, Ty Johnson, Leah Rae Kmosko, George Kristian, Luke Lamar, Christian Leus, Tyler Linden, Megan May McCaw, Mina Radovic, Charles Riggs, Jianna Xiong, Hayley Wilson, and Jonathan Wright.

For more information about issue 8.2, please visit Intellect’s website: https://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-issue,id=3436/

We love working with guest editors!  Contact us today if you are interested in bringing the Film Matters experience to your campus, to your undergraduate students!

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Neely Gonidosky’s Behind the Bars, an Animated Short Film, Set for Release Monday, December 11, 2017

Behind the Bars (Monticello Park Productions, 2017)

Behind the Bars is an animated short film by award-winning animator Neely Goniodsky, exploring the themes of racial oppression, prejudice, and the power of art to overcome and communicate one’s struggles to the world. Based on a poem by Edward Smyth Jones.

Aesthetically, the film draws from the materials available at the time of the poem’s publication – 1894 – and uses hand-drawn, 2D, and under-the-camera collage techniques to create a unique world, where Edward Smyth Jones’s intense inspiration to write even during his most difficult moments is captured in a dynamic and constantly evolving environment.

Behind the Bars had its world premiere at the New York City Poetry Festival, its European Premiere at the Encounters Film Festival, and has since screened at additional festivals all around the world. The film is part of the Campfire Poetry project, produced by Max Rothman and Monticello Park Productions, and was selected as a participant in The Independent Filmmaker Project’s 2017 Screen Forward Lab.

Behind the Bars (4:07): Vimeo release: Monday, December 11, 10 AM PST
https://vimeo.com/199041676/2366305c5c

Trailer:
https://vimeo.com/210478339

For more information, please visit:
http://www.monticelloparkprod.com/behind-the-bars-1
http://neelygoniodsky.com/

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L’avventura (1960). Reviewed by Film Matters Fall 2017 Editorial Board

L’avventura Criterion Blu-ray Review from Liza Palmer

Contributors: Catherine Colson, Jamie Foley, JT Fritsch, Sean Gallagher, Danet Grabbe, Breanna Grim, Matthew Johnson, Garrett Neal, Cheyenne Puga, Austin Grey, Ethan Schneier, Anthony Wilson, and K. M. Wise.

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Groundhog Day: The Day Before Tomorrow. Reviewed by Luke Batten

Groundhog Day (Columbia Pictures, 1993)

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”
–Steve Jobs

Phil Connors (Bill Murray) brings a whole new meaning to this carpe diem sentiment in Groundhog Day (1993). Self-centred TV weatherman Phil is tasked with covering the annual February 2nd Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania; the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, is roused and scrutinized to see if he will perceive his shadow. If he does, that signals another six weeks of winter. Due to inclement weather, Phil gets delayed in Punxsutawney and falls victim to an inexplicable time loop which forces him to relive Groundhog Day: indefinitely. Each iteration of the day is marked by his clock radio striking 6:00 a.m. as he awakens in his Punxsutawney bed-and-breakfast to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe,” with the radio commentator inevitably announcing “It’s Groundhog Day!” As the only person affected by this anomaly, Phil is compelled to confront his biggest fear: himself.    Continue reading

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Pluralism as Penance: Pablo Larraín’s The Club. Reviewed by Stephen Borunda

The Club (Music Box Films, 2015)

Pablo Larraín’s unorthodox drama The Club (2015) centers on a company of dishonored parochial members that live just outside a small beach community named La Boca (The Mouth) in central Chile. While the setting of the film may be unfamiliar to many Western audiences, the sins of the former members of the clergy are all too recognizable. Reminiscent of Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight (2015), these shunned sacerdotal individuals have committed heinous crimes ranging from pedophilia to child kidnapping. Ironically, these former church leaders appear to live in a sort of peaceful exile. Continue reading

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“Harv” Documentary to Screen at Greenwich Village Film Festival

Celebrating the Life of One of the Original “Mad Men”

The Greenwich Village Film Festival will host the world premiere of the documentary, Harv on October 25, 2017.

Shot during the final three months of Harvard Toback’s life, this touching short celebrates the life of one of the original “Mad Men” who made his mark during the Golden Age of Advertising and the art legacy he left.

An artist and creative director, Harv lived in New York City from 1929 until his passing in September of 2017. During his battle with kidney disease, undergoing dialysis treatment, Harv found the miraculous strength to fulfill his lifelong dream of starting, not one, but two art galleries.

Having created legendary advertising campaigns with his firms West, Weir and Bartel and later with his own firm Boyce, Smith & Toback for companies such as American Express, News Radio 88, Houbigant and Steinway & Sons, Harv had a passion, not just for creating art, but for encouraging those around him to express themselves as well.

Through friend’s memories, Harv is a heartwarming look at his efforts to spread love through art; curating a 500-square-foot gallery space in Chelsea for everyone and anyone. His final feat was opening an art gallery at his dialysis center. The Gallery at Fresenius Kidney Care grew to exhibit the work of the patients, doctors, nurses and medical staff on five walls of the dialysis unit’s waiting area.

Harv is produced by his son, Adam Toback and directed by Stephen Tucker.

In keeping Harv’s memory alive, The Harv Toback Scholarship Fund for the Arts (http://www.harvtobackfund.org/) was recently created to provide grants to artists living with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities.

What: Harv screening at Greenwich Village Film Festival
When: October 25, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Where: Renee Weiler Concert Hall at the Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

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To Choose in La La Land. Reviewed by Elham Shabani

La La Land (Lionsgate, 2016)

How many times have we had to decide between two seemingly equal opportunities? Probably a great many! Such is the case with the life of the two main characters in the Oscar-winning musical La La Land. The movie was released initially on November 9, 2016. It stars Ryan Gosling as Sebastian and Emma Stone as Mia. The soundtrack includes “City of Stars” by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, “Another Day of Sun” by Justin Hurwitz, “Someone in the Crowd” by Emma Stone, etc. Filming took place in 2015 in Los Angeles; and, this year, the movie received fourteen Academy Awards nominations, making the director Chazelle the youngest filmmaker to win the best director award at his age. Continue reading

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The Dissolution of Naivety is the Dissolution of Transformation: Andrés Wood’s Machuca (2004). Reviewed by Stephen Borunda

“My poor, un-white thing! Weep not nor rage. I know, too well, that the curse of God lies heavy on you. Why? That is not for me to say, but be brave! Do your work in your lowly sphere, praying the good Lord that into heaven above, where all is love, you may, one day, be born – white!” (Du Bois 18)

Near the midpoint of the diegesis of Andrés Wood’s film entitled Machuca (2004), we witness to an emotive scene between three young Chilean friends in close-up (or what Gilles Deleuze in Cinema 1 fittingly terms the affection-image) — a cinematographic decision typical of the film. In this lust-filled moment, teenagers Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) and Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna) share kisses full of condensed milk with their female friend Silvana (Manuela Martelli). Gonzalo – the only fair-skinned and bourgeoisie member in the troika – received the condensed milk as a part of his family’s rations. Such allotments were not even available to his two impoverished friends during Chile’s food shortage. Yet, in this scene, Andrés Wood is showing us more than just three youths exploring their sexuality as their milk and saliva amalgamate. Instead, the talented Chilean director is showing us the raison d’être of his film: economic and social divisions are learned realities; altruistic and caring behaviors are what come naturally. At the fons et origo of the film, these young characters instinctively overcome socioeconomic and color differences. But, instead of encouraging friendship across lattices of class and ethnicity, the Chilean society around them works throughout the film to tear their relationship asunder. Continue reading

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