CineAction

An academic journal that examines film from a variety of viewpoints, with each issue focused on a central theme. Publishes scholarly articles on film theory, plus interviews with filmmakers, film reviews, book reviews, and reports from international film

Articles from No. 68, Winter

Articulating the Violence Debate: True Lies, Natural Born Killers, and the Terms of "Cultural Contamination"
On May 31, 1995, Senator Bob Dole, the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination, condemned the entertainment industry at a routine campaign stop in Los Angeles for what he termed "cultural contamination." In particular, Dole critiqued...
Elephant: The Physics of Violence
Most discussion of Gus Van Sant's Elephant (2003) has presumed it attempts an objective recreation of the 1999 Columbine high school shootings in the U. S., which would suggest the film's deliberate aestheticisation is stylistically inappropriate....
Firepower: Herzog's Pure Cinema as the Internal Combustion of War
I. Firepower At the ostensible conclusion of 1991's Operation Desert Storm, the US's intangible, informational combat mission which time has only recently designated Gulf War I, CNN's real-time coverage of the events made a constant spectacle of...
Heading South (Vers le Sud): No Exit
Laurent Cantet established an international reputation with Time Out (2001). The film, like Human Resources (1998), his first feature, is set in contemporary France, male-centred and concerns the professional and personal pressures imposed on the protagonist....
Jia Zhangke: Life and Times beyond the World
The following article has been assembled from material gathered during three conversations I had with Jia, between September, 2004 and August, 2005. The interviews were conducted in Chinese and I'd like to thank Winny Zhang for transcribing the Chinese...
Michael Haneke's Cache (Hidden)
Michael Haneke's Cache is, as its title suggests, an exploration of what lies beneath the surface, hidden within the bourgeois myths of nationhood, culture, family. It borrows the form of a mystery thriller (not solving all of the enigmas presented...
Natural Born Killers
The theme for this issue of CineAction came to me as the repercussions of the second Gulf war were beginning to percolate through the very same media that had accepted so uncritically the Bush administration's claims about the imminent threat of Saddam...
Shanghai Dreams
If Jia Zhangke has been accepted unequivocally by most critics as an incipient 'modern master', his compatriot and fellow 'sixth generation' filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai has had a more tenuous grasp on international acclaim. Some of the debate invariably...
Takeshis'
In one of those marvels of synchronicity that can only be brought about by the extraordinary lags of cultural exchange, an exceedingly rough translation of Casio Abe's 1994 critical study Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano appeared in North America shortly...
The Brutal Beauty of Labour: Workingman's Death
Austrian filmmaker Michael Glawogger's powerful and moving documentary, subtitled "5 Portraits of Work in the 21st Century", takes spectators around the world to view the havoc capitalist globalization has wrought in the lives of working men and women....
The Sun
Gus Van Sant has cited the work of the Russian director Alexander Sokurov as a major influence on his current aesthetic project, and the formal similarities are readily apparent. Since Gerry (2002), Van Sant's films have been organized largely around...
The Unattainable Narrative: Identity, Consumerism and the Slasher Film in Mary Harron's American Psycho
The aim of this essay is to reaffirm the significance of Mary Harron and Guinivere Turner's 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho. With an intricately crafted script and a near-perfect performance by Christian Bale, Mary Harron...
Toronto International Film Festival, 2005
For the second year running I was ill (and in hospital for two days, undergoing tests) for most of the festival. I missed most of the films I'd been most looking forward to (Hou, Tsai, Haneke ...). Happily, I've managed to catch up with some since...
Trauma and Violence; Different Sensibilities: Nanni Moretti's the Son's Room and Todd Field's in the Bedroom
The present paper examines questions of trauma, violence and mourning by comparing two feature films with the same basic subject, namely, the way in which a family copes with the death of an only son: Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room (La stanza del figlio,...
Violence, Actions and Words in Million Dollar Baby
"All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story." (1) --Isak Dinesen BACKGROUND: Turning violence into money An important part of the interest of the Hollywood boxing movie is as an American narrative of success. It charts the rise of a...
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