61.1 Fall 2021


Spotlight: Animated Media Scholarly Interest Group

Cristina Formenti, Timothy Jones, Mihaela Mihailova

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Spotlight: Teddy Pozo

Interview by TreaAndrea M. Russworm

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Research Articles

Rethinking Format in the Amazon: Ecology and El abrazo de la serpiente

Martina Broner

Abstract: A call for greater attention to format’s ecological scale, this article employs an interview-based method to examine the material problems that the affordances of 35mm film create in El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra, 2015). Understanding the finished work as co-shaped by human and non-human entities, I address the forest not only as the setting for this story about the Colombian Amazon’s extractivist histories but also as an active participant in the film’s composition. The article thus proposes format as an analytical tool for countering damaging notions of separation between the human and the natural.

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The Right to a Dignified Image: The Fashioning and Effacement of the Refugee within the Celebrity System

Chris Campanioni

Abstract: Through a celebrity studies framework informed by political science, sociology, and postcolonialism, I demonstrate how refugees and celebrities implicate each other by tracing both figures’ deployment as brands contingent upon the organization of capital in humanitarian organizations and the film and television industries. After providing an analysis of cinematic depictions of refugees to show the reversibility of stateless and star, I discuss structural and symbolic processes of colonization and migration codified through reality television tropes and the performance of celebrity charity. This contribution ultimately turns toward the self-representations of refugees, locating resistance in their refusal to participate in the economy of images.

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Epic Cinema: Defining Our Terms

Angelos Koutsourakis

Abstract: Studies in epic cinema have flourished in the past decade, but one senses that scholars take the term to be self- explanatory, without considering its literary origins and the variety of films that can be placed under the rubric of the epic. Furthermore, the question of epic style has received less scholarly attention. In this article, I propose that in order to define epic cinema we need to look at literary, philosophical, and film theoretical discussions of the epic. In doing so, we will be able to appreciate that epic cinema is an exceptionally expansive umbrella term that covers many and diverse film practices, including films (1) with epic subject matter but not epic style, (2) with epic subject matter and epic style, (3) with epic style but not epic subject matter, and (4) films which can be placed under the rubric of the modernist epic.

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Body Talk and the Remediation of Women's Voices in RuPaul's Drag Race

Jennifer O'Meara

Abstract: This article examines the centrality of cis women’s voices to RuPaul’s Drag Race (Logo TV, 2009– 2016; VH1, 2017– ), arguing that the show’s reliance on lip-synch and vocal impersonation reworks historical discourse around queer and cis women’s voices as both symbolically powerful and policed. By presenting RuPaul’s voice as a queered variation on the maternal voice, and by suggesting a voice-based symbiosis between the drag queen and the cis female diva, the show is found to question essentialist links between voice, gender, and body and to use expressive movement to make a visual spectacle of the reembodied voice and its vocal grain.

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Belonging and Distantiation: Reading Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Poulet aux prunes (2011) in Relation to Cinéma-monde

Stacey Weber-Fève

Abstract: Applying the lens of cinéma-monde as laid out by Bill Marshall and developed by others, this article examines Poulet aux prunes (Chicken with Plums, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, 2011) through four critical areas of investigation (borders, movement, language, lateral connections). Bringing new understanding to the central trope of belonging and distantiation in Satrapi’s work, this article also proposes new directions for critical thinking and discussion of cinéma-monde by introducing pop-art cinema considerations in its construction and adding temporal dimensions as a fifth critical area of investigation.

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The Exorbitant Mirror: Violence, Disavowal, and the Logic of Terror in Michael Haneke's Das weiße Band

Kevin Wynter

Abstract: This article explores the nexus of violence, power, discipline, and disavowal in Michael Haneke’s Das weiße Band—Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (The White Ribbon, 2009). Haneke’s film shows how structures of power can pro-duce countermeasures to their own authority while paradoxically disavow-ing the role they play in the oppositional forms of violence that emerge under their watch. This article illustrates how terrorism can flourish in a punitive society as a retributive mechanism to authoritarian rule and how the law of the punisher and the radical violence of the punished orbit a shared, co- constitutive imaginary.

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