Discuss the ways in which the film culture of contemporary world cinema is promoted through journals, magazines and film festivals

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Giles Jacob, former Cannes Film Festival director, once said “for twelve day a year in May, Cannes recharges the batteries of world cinema”. Stars, producers and press flock annually to the southern French city on the Rivera to preview the latest films throughout the genres. Cannes film festival has hit headlines since the start, from 1954 when French actress Simone Sylva flashed her bare chest for the cameras to Sacha Baron Cohen wearing a mankini on the beach in 2006. Cannes is, said Agnes Varda, ‘at once the pinnacle of cinema, and a big, vulgar bazaar’ (McGill, 2013). What started as a response to Fascist and Nazi propaganda is now is one of the most highly regarded, glamorous media events.

There are two other main competitive international film festivals as well as Cannes, both located in Europe, they are Venice and Berlin. The history of the international film festival is a very turbulent one, the Venice film festival was created by Benito Mussolini as a nationalist agenda to promote his fascists ideas of the time and “as part of his effort to make Italy the centre of European cinema” (Wollen, 2001). Whereas the first Cannes film festival, created to oppose and stand against the Venice counterpart, was interrupted on its first year by the Second World War but started up again in 1946.  In the post war period, festivals displayed films that could attract foreign distributors. Being successful at a festival gave a film an economic advantage and helped directors, producers, and actors became prominent and affluent. “Film festivals are important to the considerations of world cinema, as they facilitate cultural exchange between different “national” cinemas and provide an alternative global distribution network” (Chaudhuri, 2005, p3). As well as the profitable benefits of winning awards also it can boost an actors or directors credibility as an artist and creator.

As well as film festivals, journals and magazines can promote the culture and one of the most important journals on film is called Cahiers du Cinéma (Notebooks on Cinema). This magazine invented a fresh method of analysis of cinema and as well as starting the idea that ‘pop culture’ should be taken seriously as a part of artistic and philosophical reflection. Emilie Bickerton states that “Cahiers managed to build on the New Wave and redefined itself on successive occasions throughout the sixties and seventies, generating consistently radical critical writing and ideas on film” (Bickerton, 2011, p4). One of those most influential points that could be taken from the French magazine is that promoted the director as individual creator.

A nation’s film festival may create a new wave of film making, with the best coming from France and the Cannes festival. This point can relate back to Dudley Andrew’s Atlas of World Cinema and he use of the demographic maps as the Cannes festival is the central hub to all contemporary world cinema and, in turn, makes France more powerful than it would otherwise be in film making and cultural terms. Andrew states in his An Atlas of World Cinema essay that “the Parisian press of the 1920s invented a national tradition of French cinema with the support of the government and citizen-spectators” (Dennison, 2006, p12). France compared to Romania has nine times more cinemas so smaller countries such as the later need another ways to promote their national identity or culture through film. Winning at a foreign film festival is one way of promoting a state’s arts and literature, this could also help the start or enhance a new wave, with waves from Iran, South Korea and Argentina that were promoted by festivals. Other cases started with a single film, such as Cristi Puiu’s 2006 film The Death of Mr Lazarescu, that was premiered at Cannes 2012. The film won the Cannes Prix Certain Regard as well as awards at the Toronto Film Festival and others to help create a new Romanian wave. James Bell from Sight and Sound Magazine has stated that “Puiu’s film cut through the chatter at festivals across the world as piercingly as the siren from the ambulance that carried its dying protagonist from hospital to hospital had sounded through an uncaring Bucharest night.” (Bell, 2010). Films such as Corneliu Porumboiu’s 12:08 East of Bucharest and Cristian Mungiu’ 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days have came through this wave and remained successful, winning the Caméra d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and Won the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival respectively.

The British Film Institute are trying a more strategic approach of promoting at foreign film festivals, they have set up an organization called We Are Film UK, where “UK’s national and regional film agencies have come together for the first time to create a new internationally facing brand for UK film” (The British Film Institute, 2013). This set up has been initiated so that UK film makers can be showcased at film festivals to a wider audience, this then should in turn expand and escalate the profile of UK film industry and talent that surrounds it. BFI’s Head of International Isabel Davis states that “this exciting new brand will raise the international profile of UK film’s Gold Standard and ensure it continues to punch above its weight on the global stage. (The British Film Institute, 2013). We Are Film UK was launched at Berlin film festival 2012 and featured 19 UK produced films

International film festivals can create and promote a sense of community and identity when niche film festivals are curetted. The International Freethought Film Festival and The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival are some of the most well known niche festivals. There are other niches such as disability festivals and human rights festivals. Paul Schradar, scriptwriter of Taxidriver, states that “by separating a select group of art works from the larger Dead White Male panorama, a critic can study the works as part of a subset, evaluating them by how they function in the subset.” (Film Comment. 2006). These specialized film festivals also serve for the widespread markets and, in a post-Fordist cultural economy, as well as niche and segmented markets.

With all these constructive and productive points coming out promoting contemporary world cinema through film festivals and the presentation of international films, there are some negatives. Some filmmakers, mainly non-western countries, have been criticized for producing their films specifically for film festivals to compete with their western rivals, Mark Cousins states that “Let me not be coy. We still parse the world by nations” (Dennison, 2006, p26). Some world cinema commentators suggest that the choices of the film producers such as subject matter and imagery are accommodated for western film festival tastes, and in a sense, have learned to play the game of how to create a film just for the festivals. Other critics suggest that even though this may happen, it is only used as a strategic tactic for surviving in the western climate and to be able to compete for production funds, but these films that are being distributed at film festivals may not be the representative of the film making or film culture coming out of that nation.

It can be conclude that the use of journals, magazines and film festivals can promote countries to showcase their talents in ways other platforms cannot, whether that’s a certain actor, director or style of making film. These three media outlines provide a financial and illustrious stepping stone for filmmakers to be able to exhibit their films to a wider audience and around the world. The festival film as Peter Wollen terms it, films that appeal to ‘festival audiences’. Emerging out of the negatives of the international film festival, it is as so far to say that a separate genre and style of film has been created, considered as the Festival Film genre. This is true of Wollen as he goes on to state that there is whole new genre of films – the Festival Film genre. Films in this genre were specially made according to their own rules and traditions in order to win prizes at Festivals. They were immediately recognizable as Festival Films by juries, critics and audiences alike. (Wollen, 2001). Jean-Michel Frodon identifies that “film festivals have become the circuits through which an idea of cinema other than that valorized by the market constantly circulates” (Cahiers du cinéma). Festivals, journals and magazines are significant and commercial centers supporting contemporary world cinema.

Bibliography

Bazin, André. Doniol-Valcroze, Jacques. Lo Duca, Joseph-Marie. 1951. Cahiers du cinéma. 1st ed. Paris: Phaidon Press.

Bell, James/The British Film Institute. 2010. Eastern promises. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/festivals/eastern-promises. [Accessed 18 November 13].

Bickerton, Emilie, 2011. A Short History of Cahiers du Cinema. 2nd ed. London: Verso.

The British Film Institute. 2013. UK film industry unites with new brand ‘We Are UK Film’. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/bfi-news/uk-film-industry-unites-new-brand-we-are-uk-film. [Accessed 18 November 13].

Chaudhuri, Shohini, 2005. Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia And South Asia. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Dennison, Stephanie, 2006. Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film. 1st ed. Bognor Regis: Columbia University Press.

McGill, Hannah/Film List. 2013. Cannes Film Festival 2013 highlights. [ONLINE] Available at: http://film.list.co.uk/article/50598-cannes-film-festival-2013-highlights/. [Accessed 21 November 13].

Schrader, Paul/Film Comment. 2006. Cannon Foder: Paul Schrader’s Cannon Criteria. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.filmcomment.com/article/cannon-foder-paul-schraders-criteria. [Accessed 18 November 13].

Wollen, Peter/New Left Review. 2001. An Alphabet of Cinema. [ONLINE] Available at: http://newleftreview.org/II/12/peter-wollen-an-alphabet-of-cinema. [Accessed 21 November 13].

In his book Youth Culture in Modern Britain, David Fowler has suggested that the Beatles were ‘young capitalist who, far from developing a youth culture, were exploiting culture by promoting fan worship, mindless screaming and nothing more than a passive teenage consumer.’

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The Beatles main contribution to youth culture, it seems, was to generate what the Daily Telegraph christened ‘Beatlemania’

– David Folwer (2008, p168)

During the 1960s there was not a band as successful as The Beatles, during 1965 their Official Fan Club reached 80,000 members and the band gained number one hits on both side of the Atlantic. Even with all the commercial and critical triumphs there has been a lot of criticism of the integrity of their music. David Fowler proposed in his book, Youth Culture in Modern Britain, the idea that the band were just popular entertainers and questions wether they were had an influence on British youth culture. He stated that the Mod artists were more influential to the young generation around the country. On the other hand, other critics such as Ian McDonald believe The Beatles defined the 1960s, they produced the culture and single-handedly created pop music as we know it. Even the early Beatles records were more than standardized pop songs, they represented the general mood of the youth, emotions of liberation, joy and freedom.

Youth culture is described as a group of young people ranked together by their interests within their generation, this is backed up by Bryan Wilson, a sociologist who discussed youth culture in 1960s. Wilson (1970) defined the term as the autonomous behavior of the young. Fowler develops this point and states “youth culture transcends class; but age caused fractures within British youth culture at certain periods” (2008, p5). Youth culture is closely associated with the term fandom, which derives from the word fanatic. A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause or person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for a particular activity. This term can directly be used for Beatlemania in 1960s. John Fiske presents the idea of “fans create a fan culture with its own systems of production and distribution that forms a shadow cultural economy that lies outside the culture industries” (1992, p30). There were two stages to The Beatles’ career, the first stage for the group being a standardized pop boy band and the other period being drug and peace loving hippies. The progression into the second stage of their music career came around 1965 with their sixth album Rubber Soul as McDonald states “the day after the second session of Norwegian Wood, McCartney informed New Musical Express that he and Lennon had found a new direction” (2008, p162). This LP helped the band break away from their boy band roots of Motown covers and love ballads to instrumental experimentation and more meaningful ambiguous lyrics. Certainly before 1965 there is evidence for Folwer’s argument that the Beatles created their fan worship, they used a standardized pop formula to create three minute songs about love. These tracks appealed and targeted to younger females, who were a passive listening audience and Ehrenreich et. Al. goes on state there has been “no culture so strenuously and shamelessly exploits its children as consumers” (1997, p100). Artists like Elvis and Sinatra came before them with pre teen girl audiences but the difference with the Beatles is there was more teenagers around after a baby boom in early 1950s living in a more sexualised society and the band pounced on this situation. The Beatles were not apart of the counter culture of 1960s as many critics proclaim, they distrustfully exploited their youth culture audience for commercial gain as Fowler (2008) claims “they did about as much to represent the interests of the nation’s young people as the Spice Girls did in the 1990s”, who were the most successful group since the Liverpudlian band in 60s.

The Beatles created the film A Hard Days Night to coincide the release of the LP with the same name in 1964 as a marketing tool to advertise the album. The group used the film as a catalyst to carry on their fandom and portray how they wanted their fans to behave. The first scene in the film shows John, George and Ringo being chased around Marleybone station and they enjoy the chase as they laugh and joke while the group flee from thousands of pre teenage girls. This scene can be read as the Beatles encouraging their fans to act in this manor and create a frenzy and hysteria, Fowler goes on state “British beatlemania did generate some disturbing behavior. At several concert venues they played during 1963 and 1964, it was discovered afterwards that the seats were stained with urine” (2008, p2). The film captures beatlemania with shots of genuine fans as extras and using closes up them when the band are performing. Along with portraying scenes of beatlemania, the film was commercially successful with Slide stating that the film “set records at the London Pavilion by grossing over $20,000 in the first week, ultimately becoming so popular that more than 1,600 prints were in circulation simultaneously” (1985, p188) and “by 1971 the film was estimated to have earned $11 million worldwide” (Walker, 1974, p241). The success on this film helped advertise the score of film which was all Beatles records from the A Hard Days Night album and the record went straight to number one on its first week release.

The Beatles were not were not a voice of the youth culture during 1960s, critics such as Fowler explain all they cared about was selling records to their fans. He goes on further to say “The Beatles were not in any meaningful sense a reflection of youth culture during 1960s, Their appeal was chiefly to pre-teenage girls” (2008/p197-98). Other successful bands of the same era such as the Rolling Stones did not care much about voicing an opinion through their music, they were not concerned in acting as mouthpieces for young people. The leader singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger was quoted on saying in a TV interview with William Rees-Mogg that they were only interested in selling records and Fowler goes on to state…

The working-class youth were alienated by the representations of youth culture made in speeches by middle-class pop stars like Mick Jagger; and, to working class youth in Liverpool, the Beatles dalliance with hippie values in the late 1960s was too much to bear. (2008, p198)

This was a similar school of thought for the Beatles as later on his career, Paul McCartney commented on the lyrics to the his own penned song Can’t Buy Me Love, the lyrics go “can’t buy me love / everybody tells me so / can’t buy me love / no no no, no.” McCartney was later quoted “it should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love'” when reflecting on the perks that money and fame had brought him” (Badman, 2000). Statements as such determine the group be focused on selling records and looking to profit commercially. The group did not lead to rise to a youth culture, they had a following of a youth audience of passive teenage, mainly female. These fans who became surplus when the band finished touring Britain in 1965, Fowler goes on to state “in Britain Beatles fans were, in the main, girls of 10-14 who lost interest in pop culture at around 20 it is unlikely that group had as much of an influence older teenager” (2008, p168). By the end of 1960s they became detached with all from youth culture as they individually came recluses and only met up for studio sessions around London or at Lennon’s house.

David Fowler has a strong argument on The Beatles exploiting the culture and fans that surrounded them but others theorists and critics display contrasting views. Ian MacDonald believes The Beatles were at the forefront of the counter culture of 1960s, with a message they wanted to spread to the world of peace and love. The counter culture of the 1960s was the culture of those, especially of the young, who opposed the dominant values on the war in Vietnam, race relations, sexuality and women’s rights. Corry goes on to state “the Beatles became a major symbol of cultural transformation and the veritable leaders of the 1960s youth movement” (2010, p1). The Beatles personified the communal message of the 1967 Summer of Love through their music and fashion style, the band established major attributes of the embryonic counterculture. Corry explains the band attributed to “the maturing sensibility of rock music and [to the] greater personal freedom as expressed by physical appearance” (2010, p1). Earlier in their career, the Beatles fan base was mostly young pre-teenage girls but around the Summer of Love they were performing to an slightly older audience who wanted to make a change to the society they lived in. The band also contributed to attraction and interest in experimentation with drugs like LSD and heroin and Grunenberg expands this point by stating “one essential ingredient of the US counterculture was LSD” (2007, p45). The band went on to become the biggest commercial advocate for the psychedelic revolution with their revolutionary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, later being named the number one greatest album of all time in numerous music critiques.

To conclude, The Beatles used their fandom to cash in and gain commercially instead of being the voice for the youth, Fowler claimed “the Beatles, who emerged in 1963 and generated a form of fan worship not seen in Britain before or after” (2008, p2). The fandom was needed to create the uncontrollable emotion and excitement for their fans of anticipation of seeing the Beatles live or buying their albums on release day as Ehrenreich et. al. go on to say “hysteria was critical to the marketing of the Beatles” (1997, p99). The fandom that was created by the band themselves may have been the making of their downfall as The Beatles feared for their personal safety while touring in the later stages of their career. The hysteria and commotion they birthed became too much to handle, they became “the first musical celebrities to be driven from the stage by their own fans” (Ehrenreich, Hess and Jacobs,1997, p86). Restricting themselves to the studio, the group lost their core fan base later on in their career and lost touch with their followers, Fowler explains “the Beatles alienated ‘Liverpudlians’ as their careers developed” (2008, p172) and therefor never really became the voice of the youth that they performed in front of. The Beatles needed to start their career as a standardized pop band in a need to gain a foothold within the music industry and they used a standardized pop formula to gain this, by releasing three minute songs of love and wearing identical clothing and hair styles. Once the group gained a fan base and critical recognition, they began to experiment and use techniques that were not seen in pop music before them. More importantly they created the music they wanted to play, but in the end their own manufactured fandom went too far as it resulted in death for the Beatles as a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman, who idolized John Lennon, shot the star in back on 8th December 1980.

The scene is nothing but absurd–a thousand groupies caught in an endless cycle of pathetic hero worship

– Daniel Nathan Charness (2010, p88)

Bibliography

Badman, Keith (2000). The Beatles Off The Record.

Barry, Peter, 2002. Beginning Theory – An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. 3rd ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Charness, Daniel Nathan, 2010. BeatleBoomers: The Beatles in their Generation. 1st ed. Connecticut: Wesleyan University.

Corry, Jessica, 2010. The Beatles and The Counterculture. Journal of Student Scholarship, [Online]. Volume XII. Available at: http://joss.pages.tcnj.edu/files/2012/04/2010-Corry.pdf [Accessed 07 March 2014].

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Hess, Elizabeth. Jacobs, Gloria. Beatlemania. A Sexually Defiant Consumer Subculture? In Gelder, Ken and Thornton, Sarah, The Subcultures Read, Routledge, London and New York, 1997, pp.523-536

Fiske, John, 1992. Cultural Economy of Fandom. The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, 30-49. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Fowler, David, 2008. Youth Culture in Modern Britain, c.1920-c.1970: From Ivory Tower to Global Movement. 1st ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Grunenberg, Christoph, 2007. Summer of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis and Counterculture in 1960s: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis and Counter-Culture in the 1960s. 1st ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Horkheimer, Max. Adorno, Theodor W. , 2007. Dialectic of Enlightenment (Cultural Memory in the Present). 1st ed. Redwood City: Stanford University Press.

Jarniewicz, Jerzy. Kwiatkowska, Alina, 2010. Fifty Years with the Beatles. The Impact of the Beatles on Contemporary Culture. 1st ed. Poland: University of Lodz.

MacDonald, Ian, 2008. Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties. 2nd ed. London: Vintage Books.

Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.

Slide, Anthony, 1985. Fifty Classic British Films, 1932-1982: A Pictorial Record. 1st ed. Dover: Dover Publications.

Walker, Alexander, 1974. Hollywood England: British Film Industry in the Sixties . 1st ed. London: Orion.

Wilson, Bryan, 1970. The Youth Culture and the Universities. 1st ed. London: Faber.

George Merrick (Harlequins) Interview

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I studied Sports Journalism as module at University, a part of this module was to interview a local sports person. I was lucky enough to interview George Merrick, an up and coming English rugby player at Harlequins.

George Merrick Interview – Friday 17th April 2014

George Merrick today described himself as unique and he states: “I never compare myself to another player, I have my goals and just see everyone else as competition.”

Merrick faces Leicester Tigers tonight and is confident that Harlequins will gain the victory as the 21 year old comments: “with the tempo and ambition that we play with we will come away with a result.”

Quins have won three of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby games and are currently fifth in the table, a win against the Tigers at Twickenham Stoop will keep their play-off dreams alive.

Merrick is very aware of the threats the opposition hold as he describes Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi as “a wrecking ball” and that Flanker Julian Salvi “is a very good player at getting low over the ball and turning it over.”

The young forward stated that if his team are psychical from the start it will stop these two players from playing, he stated: “By getting in early and taking them out of the game, we will win the match.”

Sutton-born Merrick, who is 2.01 m (6′ 7″) tall and weighs in at 120 kg (18 st. 12 lb.), joined the Quins academy when he was 17 after representing Surrey at U15 and U16 in 2008/2009.

The Harlequins lock is likely to start in tomorrows game and has had a encouraging season for the Twickenham based team, making 12 appearances along the way.

Merrick, nicknamed The Fridge, played down his accomplishments of starting in the Heineken European cup at such a young age, he commented: “Can’t say I was a nervous or had any other different feelings, just viewed it as another important game.”

The forward, who turns 22 in October, has represented England at U18, U19 and U20 level but does not plan to stop their, with the senior team is his sights.

Merrick stated: “Well my long term goal is to play for England senior team, hopefully within the next 5 years and then see my career out aboard.”

The future is bright for the young England starlet with impressive performances for Quins justifying suggestions he will be England’s future first-choice lock in years to come.

My University Dissertation

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Conducting a dissertation offers the opportunity to produce a detailed piece of academic study. It allowed myself to engage with a specialist area in Media Arts and develop in further depth issues I have studied in previous years.

Gathering information required myself to engage in the different stages of research. This entails formulation, design, organisation and interpretation. At each stage, I was expected to demonstrate my analytical skills and critical judgement. The project offered myself the chance to synthesise elements from the theory, research methods and the substantive areas I have studied for in my degree.

U.N.I.T.Y, You Gotta Let Him Know – The Analysis of Misogyny Within Hip Hop Lyrics (From the Golden Age to the Contemporary)

Abstract – While politics and social activism have been at the forefront of Hip Hop music, it is perceived the genre glorifies misogyny, with multi-million record selling artists sending messages of dislike of women through their lyrics to a global audience. Female Hip Hop artists have to fight for equality against their male counterparts as well as overcoming all the prejudices that come with the genre. Starting from the birth of Hip Hop, throughout its rise through the golden age, misogyny has been a present theme in many of the highest regarded rappers ever to hold a mic.