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So Close to the State/s

So Close to the State/s: The Emergence of Canadian Feature Film Policy, 1952-1976

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    So Close to the State/s
    Book Description:

    Examines the formation of feature film policy in the Canadian context of the 1950s through to the present, paying special attention to the role played by producers, filmmakers and government agencies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8001-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-2)

    The centenary of cinema has come and gone. There was, surprisingly perhaps, little fanfare in 1996 to celebrate the anniversary. Handsome commemorative stamps were struck by various nations. Public television networks ran retrospectives of old films. In theNew York Times Magazinethe writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag published a belated obituary for the medium.¹ Given the ubiquity of moving images in contemporary life, cinema, a one-hundred-year-old technology, was just something that had happened long ago.

    But the cinema whose passing Sontag and others mourned was, in fact, largely that of only one period, from the end of the Second...

  4. 1 Problems of Writing Canadian Film History
    (pp. 3-18)

    Compared to the equivalent scholarship in any number of other countries¹ not only is the writing of the film history of Canada underdeveloped but also it remains entangled in conceptual difficulties largely of its own making. These difficulties have manifested themselves in the kind of film scholarship that has been produced in Canada; they have also had repercussions on the kinds of policies in support of filmmaking that have been adopted over the years by agencies of the state. The reasons for the difficulties are, of course, complex, and the pages that follow attempt to make some of them clearer....

  5. 2 The Canadian State and the Problem of Knowledge Formation
    (pp. 19-35)

    In the previous chapter it was shown that the difficulties in writing film history in the Canadian case stemmed, in part, from the instability of production genres as well as from the instability of sites of production. In other words, whatisCanadian cinema and where was itlocated? As well, the open-endedness of both questions had given rise to a number of possible answers, including the one predominantly articulated by Canadian film studies that ʹCanadian cinemaʹ is an idealized national cinema, the narration of which consists in evaluating the extent film texts incarnate that ideal. Another way to put...

  6. 3 A New Policy Field, Television, and Changing Production Practices
    (pp. 36-57)

    In the perspective of the Foucauldian analysis of governmentality, governmental practices gave Canadian political culture and organization a distinct configuration. The domination of Canadian federal politics by the Liberal Party from the 1930s to 1984, except for two brief Conservative interludes, had created a strong, highly centralized and quasi-omnipresent structure of political organization. As Reg Whitaker has observed, this left extra-political organization ʹweak and underdevelopedʹ;¹ in other words, outside the dominant structures, there were few countervailing organizational forces. In turn, this situation had strongly reinforced the predominant institutional tendency to transform not only politics into bureaucracy but also party into...

  7. 4 Reconfiguring the Public Sphere
    (pp. 58-84)

    As was suggested at the end of Chapter 1, what was fundamentally at issue in Canada throughout the 1950s was a protracted struggle, first, over positions, and then, on the basis of these positions, over words on the limits, responsibilities, and divisions of state power. As Foucault has pointed out, governmentalization can be viewed as the limitless extension of governmental rationality throughout a multiplicity of social practices. Although governmental rationality does encounter limitations to itself, such as laws, Foucaultʹs analysis is particularly concerned with the limitations on governmentality as they developed within governmental practices, notably in the form of critiques...

  8. 5 Discoursing on Cinema within the State
    (pp. 85-114)

    The preceding chapter showed how the discourse of an emergent private sector in film production took shape within the changing logic of governmentalization, as a result of which the concerns of private film producers rapidly became the object of a new field of government policy. This is not to say that the state simply took on as its own the interests of the private producers. Rather, in response to the discourse of the private producers, a separate state discursive formation developed surrounding the Canadian feature. However, what distinguished the state discourse from the one of the producers was that, with...

  9. 6 Filmmakers, Critics, and the Problem of the Critical Voice
    (pp. 115-136)

    As was seen in the previous chapter, the development of a policy on feature films, in particular in the continental or transnational framework given to it by the discourse of the administrative state, was broadly consensual. It was a consensus, however, that was especially attentive to the views of the established producers and distributors. As well, as was evident in the two studies by francophones, Côté and Cadieux, commissioned by the Interdepartmental Committee, different conceptions of the role of the state were possible but they did not have a noticeable impact on either the committeeʹs deliberations or its recommendations. One...

  10. 7 Discoursing about Canadian Cinema
    (pp. 137-150)

    The preceding chapters have described in some detail the formation of the economy of talk within which the Canadian feature film emerged in the 1950s and early 1960s as an object of policy discourse. A verbal universe was established in which a Canadian film industry was conceived, argued, and legislated, and then put into public circulation. However, rather than the processes of development being the differentiation of respective objects of talk – say, the feature film as an aesthetic object or the industry as an economic object in both its Canadian and Québécois variants – what emerged was a still...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 151-176)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 177-188)
  13. Index
    (pp. 189-199)