By James Naremore
In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly acknowledged that cinema is "an invention and not using a future." James Naremore makes use of this mythical comment as a place to begin for a meditation at the so-called loss of life of cinema within the electronic age, and as a manner of introducing a wide-ranging sequence of his essays on videos prior and current. those essays comprise discussions of authorship, version, and appearing; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and stories of newer paintings through non-Hollywood administrators Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. vital topics recur: the family among modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the altering mediascape and demise of older applied sciences; and the necessity for strong serious writing in an period whilst print journalism is waning and the arts are devalued. The e-book concludes with essays on 4 significant American movie critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.
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Additional resources for An Invention Without a Future: Essays on Cinema
My particular focus is 1940s and 1950s Britain. There are several reasons for this choice of period. One of them is my own personal interest in Hollywood cinema at this time. My own love of Hollywood stars developed when I watched films on television with my mother. The Sunday matinée remains a ‘treasured memory’ for me (see Chapter 3), particularly in contrast to watching ‘the football’ to which we were otherwise subjected. Many of these were 1940s and 1950s films; my mother had, of course, grown up seeing them for the first time ‘at the pictures’.
As Mary Ann Doane has argued: ‘The cinematic image for the woman is both shop window and mirror, the one simply a means of access to the other’ (Doane, 1989a: 31). What is puzzling, however, is that feminist work on Hollywood cinema has paid little attention to stars. This is striking since female stars seem to be an obvious focus in the analysis of the construction of idealised 31 femininities within patriarchal culture. 4 In addition to the relative lack of feminist analysis of Hollywood stars, there has been even less interest in how women look at images of femininity on the cinema screen.
49 The magic of the Hollywood style at its best . . arose, not exclusively, but in one important aspect, from its skilled and satisfying manipulation of visual pleasure. (Mulvey, 1975: 8) For almost two decades now feminists have been debating the ‘peculiar power and pleasure of the cinema’ (Williams, 1989: 335). Central to this debate has been a critique of the forms of visual pleasure offered by Hollywood cinema, and of the ways in which these visual pleasures address a masculine spectator. Laura Mulvey’s critique of the ‘male gaze’ and its visual pleasures for the cinema spectator has been the springboard for much feminist film criticism since 1975.