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Re-takes: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages

John Mowitt
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 246
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    John Mowitt investigates the relationship between postcoloniality, national identity, ideology, and filmmaking. Using bilingualism and the concept of foreign film language, Re-takes pushes film studies beyond both linguistics and psychoanalysis to re-situate it within the networks of global cultural communication. Mowitt challenges film studies to reflect on the relation between its organizing analytical distinctions and its position within globalization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8781-7
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Credits
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxxiv)

    The muted “spoonerism” of my title (“foreign film languages” versus “foreign language films”) is not one, to my knowledge, ever uttered by the good Reverend William Spooner. Having ministered during the emergence and subsequent international development of the cinema he, at least in principle, could have. Indeed, one of his best known “spoonerisms,” “Please sew the ladies to their sheets,” not only effortlessly applies to the cinema, but it is worthy of Sam Goldwyn, whose “Anyone seeing a psychiatrist should have his head examined” set the very standard of the studio malapropism. That Freud, who theorized the enabling conditions of...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Return of Enunciation
    (pp. 1-44)

    Like cultures, disciplines invent traditions. These serve to ground and thus stabilize significant features of the disciplinary objects that orient work within and among disciplines. Though much controversy attends the dating of the traditions thought to be relevant to the emergence of the concept of postcoloniality within the discipline of English literary studies and across the disciplinary divide between the humanities and the social sciences (for example, do we or do we not include here Marx and Lenin on imperialism, Hegel on the master/slave dialectic, and so on?), something like a consensus has formed around the notion that culture is...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Foreignness and Language in Western Cinema
    (pp. 45-82)

    The concept of “bilingual” cinematic enunciation called for in the previous chapter must now be confronted with the matter of how the relation between language and foreignness has been forged within the cinematic domain. This matter is pressing not because the familiar critique of relativism (that is, “foreign” relative to what?) needs to be made yet again, but because “bilingualism” embodies a mode of foreignness that is far from simply relative. Only from the standpoint of an imperceptible “monolingualism,” in other words, from within a film culture where a certain enunciative tendency or stance has become normalized, is “bilingualism” intelligible...

  7. Intermission
    (pp. 83-96)

    Before turning to the textual analyses, the comparative readings of Ousmane Sembene and Jorge Sanjinés that conclude this text, a few enabling features of these analyses require additional comment. Specifically, more needs to be said about bilingual enunciation and its relation to the unlivable conditions of postcoloniality. Although my aim here is primarily to clarify the terms of my reading, I will also, for those eager to know, spoil the ending by anticipating at least the concerns of my conclusions such as they are.

    In striking out for the poetics of postcoloniality I have had Edouard Glissant’s “poetics of relation”...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Ousmane Sembene’s Xala
    (pp. 97-132)

    The idea of referring to the works of Ousmane Sembene and Jorge Sanjinés in, as it were, the space of a single sentence is not original. Their work has been compared by none other than Roy Armes in the “Cinema astride Two Cultures” portion ofThird World Film Making and the West. True, four other filmmakers are discussed in conjunction with Sembene and Sanjinés, but Armes literally does place them side by side. However, having set his sights on the task of introducing the corpus of these filmmakers to an Anglophone audience, there is no sustained analysis of any single...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Jorge Sanjinés’s El coraje del pueblo
    (pp. 133-174)

    One of the effects of Roy Armes’s placing Sembene and Sanjinés side by side under the editorial rubric of filmmakers who work “astride two cultures” is that their positions and the cinemas that articulate them are rendered structurally homologous. Armes does not argue that the cinemas of Senegal and Bolivia (as embodied in these “engaged” filmmakers) are the same, but he was writing at a time when some of the most immediately pertinent debates within postcolonial studies were just getting under way. Specifically, he was unable to avail himself of the scholarship that addresses itself to the applicability of the...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 175-194)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 195-202)
  12. Index
    (pp. 203-210)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-211)