Issues

61.4 Summer 2022

Spotlights

Spotlight: Scandinavian Scholarly Interest Group

Mads Larsen, Missy Molloy, and Meryl Shriver-Rice

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Spotlight: Allyson Nadia Field

Interview by TreaAndrea M. Russworm

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Research Articles

The Case of the Option Agreement: Erle Stanley Gardner, Intellectual Property Management, and Radio's Perry Mason

Selena A. Dickey

Abstract: A key turning point in his management of the Perry Mason intellectual property (IP) was author Erle Stanley Gardner’s licensing negotiations with independent producer and syndicator Frederic W. Ziv. Dissatisfied with earlier film adaptations, Gardner wished to exert more control over his IP, but he faced new challenges with Ziv: rather than disagreements over casting or scripts, their battle was rooted in the legal parameters of option and licensing contracts. Tracing Gardner’s evolving contractual acumen allows us to not only complicate our understandings of authorial control but also begin to reconstruct the complicated legal trajectories of IP in their historically specific contexts.

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Sound Corporeality and Multidirectional Acousmatic Music in Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine

Vlad Dima

Abstract: This article explores the sound and music of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (Hate, 1995), focusing especially on an aural and narrative turning point: DJ Cut Killer’s cameo. A materiality of sound emerges in this moment, followed by acousmatic music working both traditionally (nondiegetic sound followed by revealing the diegetic visual source) and in reverse (revealing the diegetic visual source followed by sound that eventually escapes that source). Such compositions suggest that film music might always be acousmatic in some sense. This materiality of sound and the acousmatic quality of music aptly reflect the state of the Parisian racialized body in the mid-1990s banlieue.

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Painting Race: Policing Ambiguity in This Rebel Breed

Suzanne C. Enzerink

Abstract: This article recovers the film This Rebel Breed (Richard L. Bare, 1960), a seemingly pedantic police-sponsored film starring Rita Moreno about race-based high school gangs in Los Angeles. I argue that the film illuminates newly circulating theories of race as a social construct yet inadvertently reifies racial difference through what we might call a discourse of liberal racism. Relying on pseudo-scientific theories, police reports, and earlier racial passing narratives, This Rebel Breed offers a window onto cultural producers trying to grapple with new understandings about race but unable to find either the appropriate vocabulary or genre to articulate these shifting sensibilities.

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The Life of a Film: Medianatures, Camphor, and the Ideology of Technological Modernity

W. Z. Hill

Abstract: By analyzing the discourse of film trade journals from the early twentieth century on “the life of a film” and examining newsreel footage of camphor extraction in Formosa (now Taiwan), this article argues that the value of film as media has been overdetermined by the ideology of scientism and monopoly capitalism, or what might be called technological modernity. Technological modernity understands media such as film in a way that produces a separation between nature and culture while also creating global processes of racialization or dehumanization. I use the term medianatures as a way to connect these severed threads so that it’s possible to be more attentive to the various every-days involved in the production of film, from camphor workers in Formosa to factory workers in New Jersey and even to camphor trees themselves.

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Animating Infection: Simulated Movement and Digital Zombie Hordes

Zachary Price

Abstract: Zombie blockbuster films generate their iconic zombie hordes using the same crowd simulation software biologists use to model cellular infection. These hordes and the humans they chase stage the struggle between two forms of molecular movement: randomized collision versus direction-oriented movement. By thematizing the effects of nonhuman movement within extensive visual effects sequences, these films merge two drastically different scales of the body—interior multitudes and migratory populations—and challenge biopolitical theories that see health as largely regulated by nation-states through controlled transportation networks and policed borders.

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Sound Shimmers, "Luminosity in the Darkness": Ear-Witnessing Cold War Paranoia in Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day

Ling Zhang

Abstract: This article examines the cinematic soundscape and audiovisual interplay in Taiwan New Cinema filmmaker Edward Yang’s historical epic Gǔlǐng jiē shàonián shārén shìjiàn (A Brighter Summer Day, 1991) to initiate a dialogue with scholarship in radio, sound, music, and media and cultural studies. It investigates how the film reconstructs through sound and ear- witnessing the historical memory of early 1960s Taiwan amid pervasive Cold War paranoia. In doing so, the article emphasizes the re-creation of a holistic acoustic experience and the effects of sonic mediation and remediation through audio-visual media such as radio and records, situated in the larger context of Cold War geopolitics in East Asia and beyond.

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