Writing Samples

Book Review

Paul Elliott’s Hitchcock and the Cinema of Sensations has us return once again to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. However this time it is with a shift away from traditional theoretical approaches such as psychoanalysis, gender, and semiotic theories. Drawing heavily upon the theoretical framework of what is a comparatively slim body of work, Elliott argues that embodied film theory will bring a rich reading of Hitchcock’s films by examining the multi-modal sensory experience of the spectator. Despite the exclusive focus on Hitchcock’s body of work, Hitchcock and the Cinema of Sensations will be helpful for those interested in film theory beyond Hitchcock, as half of Elliott’s book provides an introduction to embodied film theory that clearly outlines the theoretical underpinnings of this volume.

 

Forget the Original, Make a New Copy: Relocating Abbas Kiarostami

When journalist Françoise Giroud in 1958 coined the term New Wave when speaking about a new trend in French cinema, she unexpectedly gave a name to a series of subsequent national film movements. The term New Wave is largely nondescript and is generally affixed to any collective shift in film style, often by a group of young filmmakers. In some cases after a cinema has experienced a new wave, a secondary movement is often given a slightly altered name such as New Iranian Cinema. The tendency, in both naming schemes, however will have in common their refusal to adhere to Hollywood conventions. The affixation of the term New Wave or similar titles to different national cinema contexts implicitly categorizes these films into bodies with shared aesthetic concerns. The link that is preserved in this process of categorization is any given new wave cinema’s affinity to European art cinema. This is not to say that European art cinema is influenced by other national cinemas, however, European art cinema maintains its position as a locus for a certain set of cinematic traits. In this way European art cinema can be said to function as a source upon which other national cinemas are inspired by.