New Punk Cinema

New Punk Cinema

Edited by Nicholas Rombes
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r28gs
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  • Book Info
    New Punk Cinema
    Book Description:

    New Punk Cinema is the first book to examine a new breed of film that is indebted to the punk spirit of experimentation, do-it-yourself ethos, and an uneasy, often defiant relationship with the mainstream. An array of established and emerging scholars trace and map the contours of new punk cinema, from its roots in neorealism and the French New Wave, to its flowering in the work of Lars von Trier and the Dogma 95 movement. Subsequent chapters explore the potentially democratic and even anarchic forces of digital filmmaking, the influences of hypertext and other new media, the increased role of the viewer in arranging and manipulating the chronology of a film, and the role of new punk cinema in plotting a course beyond the postmodern. The book examines a range of films, including The Blair Witch Project, Time Code, Run Lola Run, Memento, The Celebration, Gummo, and Requiem for a Dream.New Punk Cinema is ideal for classroom use at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as for film scholars interested in fresh approaches to the emergence of this vital new turn in cinema.Features* Offers a comprehensive examination of the term 'new punk' cinema.* Provides several new approaches for the study of digital cinema.* Includes close analysis of several key new punk films and directors.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-7945-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. NOTES ON THE CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-18)
    Nicholas Rombes

    An advertisement for the Samsung VM-A680 video-phone, featuring a beautiful woman standing beneath a movie marquee that reads ‘We All Have a Movie Within. What’s Yours?’ offers a promise of the phone as movie-camera, and the user as star:

    You already have drama in your life. All you need now is a phone that lets you capture it. Enter Samsung’s VM-A680 video phone. It allows you to record up to 15 seconds of digital video and audio as you walk down along the red carpet of your life. You can save it, play it, email it, and send it to...

  6. PART I BACKGROUNDS AND CONTEXTS
    • 1. PUNK CINEMA
      (pp. 21-38)
      Stacy Thompson

      There is nothing sexy about materialist critique which is why it is often ignored in favour of ideological analysis or aesthetic evaluation. That said, it is precisely to materialist critique that I want to turn, as I propose a definition for ‘punk cinema’ in this essay. Two pieces of punk culture should prove instructive toward this end. The first is the famous set of diagrams, from a 1976 issue of the punk-zine, Sideburns, that demonstrates the proper tablature for three guitar chords - A, E, and G. Four short sentences accompany them: ‘This is a chord. This is another. This...

    • 2. ITALIAN NEO-REALIST INFLUENCES
      (pp. 39-55)
      Jay McRoy

      In the United States, punk cinema, like the sonic and cultural matrix from which it arose, has long been defined by a ‘do-it-yourself’ aesthetic. Employing a myriad of relatively inexpensive film-making techniques, from location-shooting with amateur performers to cut-rate special effects and rudimentary editing, talented visionaries, such as Nick Zedd, Beth B and Richard Kern, created a multitude of challenging works. Revelling in film’s materiality and artifice, these visual artists critiqued the dominant culture’s economic, social and political logics. Consequently, in their distinctly counter-cinematic structure, a narrative and visual style marked by the ‘desire to play unrestrained within the terrain...

    • 3. THE FRENCH NEW WAVE: NEW AGAIN
      (pp. 56-71)
      Timothy Dugdale

      The great Spanish director Luis Buñuel loved his Martinis. ‘Today I’m as old as the century and rarely go out at all’, he wrote in his charming autobiography, My Last Sigh, ‘but all alone, during the sacrosanct cocktail hour, in the small room where my bottles are kept, I still amuse myself by remembering the bars I’ve loved.’ (Buñuel 1983: 16)

      Ah, yes. The bar. The cocktail. Buñuel liked to sip away in sustained quiet but there are times when juke-box music is in order. Alas, the juke-box, like the Martini, is under siege. Rare is the bar that keeps...

    • 4. SINCERITY AND IRONY
      (pp. 72-86)
      Nicholas Rombes

      New punk cinema developed during a time when irony became a mainstay in popular culture in the post-1970s era. As such, the moments of intense emotion and melodrama in key films, Magnolia, The Idiots, Breaking the Waves, Fight Club, and Blair Witch Project can be read through conflicting registers that blur the boundaries of sincerity, irony and camp. In his 1993 essay ‘E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction’, David Foster Wallace offers one of the more challenging and insightful readings of the commodification of irony in post-war US culture, especially as it is expressed in literary fiction (notably metafiction)...

  7. PART II SCREENING NEW PUNK CINEMA
    • 5. DVD AND THE NEW CINEMA OF COMPLEXITY
      (pp. 89-101)
      Graeme Harper

      Film, as we have known it for over a century, began its death in the later 1970s. Though it still exists, it is no longer what it was prior to this, and never will be again. Its death continues to be awkward and, religious connotations aside, if this death is to result in a resurrection we must, firstly, remove the veil of nostalgia that attaches itself to the picture palace and celluloid era and we must, secondly, embrace a new way of understanding and reading the moving image and its attendant sounds, styles and strategies, as well as its technical...

    • 6. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND THE POETICS OF PERFORMANCE
      (pp. 102-112)
      Bruno Lessard

      Utopian and dystopian discourses have accompanied the rise of digital techniques of cinematic production and post-production. While some enthusiastic directors, film critics and spectators have found that digital technologies have already reshaped cinema, others, offering a more temperate, almost Luddite perspective, believe that digital technologies have not brought substantial changes and will not modify the cinematic experience as we know it. In other words, a century after the birth of cinema, digital technologies might show the limits of celluloid and traditional montage practices, but they will remain in a state of infancy that does not call for the revolution in...

    • 7. NAVIGATING CHAOS
      (pp. 113-125)
      Silvio Gaggi

      A fly lands on a street and is run over by a car, leaving a small red spot on the road. In a restaurant the wind causes a table-cloth to billow up, making two glasses dance as if by magic. A man returns to his office and erases a name from his address book. Another man’s sperm penetrates the egg of his wife, the wife becomes pregnant, and a baby is born. As these events - including the conception, pregnancy (shown as a fast-motion set of jump-cuts of the woman’s changing body) and childbirth - are shown visually, a voice-over...

    • 8. NON-LINEAR NARRATIVE
      (pp. 126-138)
      Bruce Isaacs

      Charting a revision of - or diversion from - a particular kind of cinema presumes that cinematic trends are coherent and that such trends can be identified through a series of texts, authors and what can loosely be defined as distributors. This is often less instructive than it initially appears, and can sometimes lead to broad and occasionally meaningless generalisations. Contemporary critical writing, however, distinguishes classical narrative cinema as the zenith of the Hollywood studio film of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, exemplified in the work of Frank Capra (Mr Smith Goes to Washington [1939], It’s a Wonderful Life [1946]),...

    • 9. MAKING IT REAL
      (pp. 139-150)
      Steven Rubio

      The Adverts were one of the earliest British punk bands of the mid-1970s that emerged in the wake of the Sex Pistols. The band was formed in late 1976 by two art students, TV Smith and Gaye Advert; early in 1977, several months before the appearance of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the Adverts had released their first single, ‘One Chord Wonders’. In August 1977, Ian Birch wrote up the band for Melody Maker, wherein he described a recent concert: ‘[T]o put it mildly their set was a shambles. But, in a way, that is what has...

  8. PART III CASE STUDIES
    • 10. DOGMA BROTHERS: LARS VON TRIER AND THOMAS VINTERBERG
      (pp. 153-167)
      Shohini Chaudhuri

      When Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration, the first film to be made under the aegis of the Danish film movement Dogma 95, premièred at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, audiences were astounded that what looked like a home movie had ‘somehow wandered onto the screen’ (Kelly 2000a). This was due not only to its story of incest and a dysfunctional family but also to its assaultive style, characterised by unsteady camera-work and shock-cuts - a result of following the ten film-making rules in the Dogma 95 Manifesto, designed to counter ‘ “certain tendencies” in the cinema today’ (Kelly 2000b: 226).

      Known...

    • 11. MIKE FIGGIS: TIME CODE AND THE SCREEN
      (pp. 168-179)
      Constantine Verevis

      In an essay entitled ‘Towards an Archaeology of the Computer Screen’, Lev Manovich describes four developmental stages in the screen’s history: the classical screen of painting and photography, the dynamic screen of cinema, the real-time screen of television, and the interactive screen of the computer (Manovich 1998: 27-34). While this genealogy contributes to a broad understanding of screen technologies and visual cultures, recent new punk cinemas, and the mainstream and experimental film traditions upon which they draw, complicate Manovich’s proposal. More specifically, Manovich claims that the arrival of the television and computer screen displaces the single ‘window’ that completely dominates...

    • 12. WHAT WAS THE NEO-UNDERGROUND AND WHAT WASN’T: A FIRST RECONSIDERATION OF HARMONY KORINE
      (pp. 180-192)
      Benjamin Halligan

      A consolidation of the predominant characteristics of recent Hollywood filmmaking occurred in the success of two late-1990s’ box-office hits: Titanic (1997), the zenith of the film-as-experience strain of ‘High Concept’ North American cinema, and American Beauty (1999), acclaimed for the originality of its approach to its material. The films came across as experiences for the taking, labelled as such for the multiplexes, ‘must-see’ ‘water cooler’ talking points. In this respect, the latter was ‘art as entertainment’, the former, ‘entertainment as entertainment’, a difference of degree between the two but the denominator is common and they both trailed Academy Awards in...

    • 13. REPO MAN: RECLAIMING THE SPIRIT OF PUNK WITH ALEX COX
      (pp. 193-203)
      Xavier Mendik

      Alex Cox is very simply a punk-film phenomenon. He represents that rare breed of film-maker whose love of underground, off-centre and unseen cinema has resulted in him creating a series of defiantly independent works which continually fly in the face of the cinematic orthodoxy.

      As a director, Cox first bedazzled and bemused mainstream Hollywood with his offbeat comedy/conspiracy-theory/road movie-inspired début Repo Man. The film featured an up-and-coming young Emilio Estevez as a disenfranchised punk rocker who is thrown into a number of surreal encounters after joining a vehicle-repossession agency hot on the trail of a nuclear-powered vehicle from outer space....

  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 204-212)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 213-220)