‘The musical has a rich and varied history on television, where full length musicals, Broadway performances on variety shows, and musical episodes of non-musical programmes have all experienced cycles of success over the years. However, adapting the genre for serialised storytelling has been an immense challenge until the current decade. Prior to the unexpected success of Glee (2009-2015), musical television series were always cancelled a few episodes into their first season [see Cop Rock (1990), Hull High (1990), Viva Laughlin (2007)]. In examining the trend of non-musical shows containing one-off musical episodes at the turn of the new millennium, Kelly Kessler observes that these series “capitalized on millennial television trends as they embraced generic tropes of stage and the big screen that reconfigure the musical as something intertextual, self-conscious, and somewhat suspicious of its own historical idealism” (2015). Post-network era television and twenty-first century musicals share an increasing slant towards meta-narrative and generic hybridity, causing them to be a better suited match than in past decades. This paper will examine the traditional challenges of applying the musical genre to a serialised format and the factors that led to recent musical programmes like Smash (2012-2013), Galavant (2015-2016), and particularly Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015- ), succeeding in outliving the midseason cancellation curse through the use of self-reflexive texts that are both faithful to established genre rules and also intentionally deconstruct the musical.’
Wednesday, 18 April, 5:15 pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19)
Refreshments to follow.
‘Moving Beyond Boundaries: Dance, Politics and the Moving Image’ will bring together QMUL postgraduate film forum PostProduction and the Centre for Film and Ethics for a research event, focusing on challenges, possibilities and multidisciplinary aspects arising from and related to the field of interaction between dance, politics and film.
The event will showcase the ground-breaking work of political theorist Dr Dana Mills, whose book ‘Dance and Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries’ provides the first ever over-arching analysis of dance based on political theory, alongside the current research of QMUL doctoral candidate Alice Pember, whose thesis ‘”In Her Hips are Revolutions”: The Dancing Girl in Contemporary Cinema’ applies Mills’ political reading of dance to dance on screen.
Drawing connections between political philosophy, dance studies and film theory, the research seminar will engage academics and postgraduate students working within these diverse fields, providing a forum for inter-disciplinary discussion and debate and initiating future collaboration. It is hoped that this will be the first of a series of ‘Moving Beyond Boundaries’ talks in which postgraduates and academics in the film department invite speakers from outside film theory to discuss their research and possible applications to film studies.
5.00-5.20 – Arrival and introductions from Lisa Duffy.
5.20-5.40 – Dr Dana Mills introduces book ‘Dance and Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries’
5.40-6.00 – Alice Pember presenting paper ‘Dancing Dissensus in Catch Me Daddy (2014)’
6.00-6.15 – Q&A
Tickets to the event are free, but booking is essential. Please visit Eventbrite to book.
Our event is kindly supported by the Queen Mary Centre for Film and Ethics (http://filmstudies.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/filmstudies/research/the-centre-for-film-and-ethics/) and PostProduction (https://postproductionqmul.wordpress.com/).
“This research is examining a specific aspect of the relationship between film and dreams. The focus is on films that aren’t necessary about dreams, nor do they feature explicit dream sequences, but they are nonetheless described as dreamlike. Often, there is another key descriptor for this group of films, ‘poetic’, that always seems to be in close proximity to terms such as ‘dreamlike.’ This has led me to believe that there might be a deeper philosophical relationship between the poetic imagination and dreams. I have chosen the holistic term ‘oneiric’ to help define this ambiguous group. The philosophy of Gaston Bachelard is indispensable in understanding this relationship but I am also looking to early film theorists such as Maya Deren, whose ideas shed further light on what it is about film that can explore the ‘oneiric imagination.’
In this presentation, I will be discussing James Spinney and Peter Middleton’s recent documentary, Notes on Blindness, which gives compelling insight into the relationship between waking and dreaming worlds from the perspective of a blind man.”
Thursday 15 February, 5:15 pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).
Drinks to follow. ALL WELCOME.
The PostProduction dates for the spring semester will be as follows:
15 February- Simon Dickson: “The Oneiric Imagination – Exploring the dreamlike and the poetic in documentary film”
22 March- Alice Pember & Dr. Dana Mills (Oxford): “Moving Beyond Boundaries: Dance, Politics and the Moving Image”
19 April- Lisa Duffy: “The revolution will be sung: Musical television series and the disruption of genre”
17 May- Tashi Petter
21 June- MA Showcase
All meetings will be held in the Hitchcock Cinema in ArtsOne from 17:15.
“In the ideological project of the musical, gender identity has a central role in determining its political significance. Considering the period that spans between 1980 and 2012, the shifts in gender politics and debates have played a key role in reshaping the forms of the musical for new audiences. At the same time, the genre has increasingly focused on subjectivities who assert their gender identity through a performance that gestures towards a fluidity between gender positions, thus escaping “normative” identity categories.
In this talk, I will analyse the interdependence of gender and genre by focusing on the relationship between identity and the construction of space and time in the musical through a paradigmatic case study: Flashdance (A. Lyne, 1983). Starting from Bakhtin’s theorisation of the chronotope, I will examine how the focus on the female protagonist redefines the time and space characteristic of the fairy tale musical subgenre in relation to the setting in 1980s Pittsburgh, in which hip hop music and dance play a key role.
Adopting an intersectional framework, my analysis will demonstrate how the opposition between overly-masculine and upper-class spaces on the one hand and the street and postindustrial landscapes on the other informs the protagonist’s ambiguous gender and racial identity, while problematising her role in the gentrification of Pittsburgh. Further contextualising the film in contemporary debates on gender and the regeneration of the city, I will show that the film offers more nuanced identity politics than the common critical reception has attributed to it, recuperating Flashdance as a site of negotiation of both identity and cultural anxieties.”
Wednesday 15 November, 5:15 pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).
Refreshments to follow.
We are pleased to announce the first annual QMUL Film Studies Postgraduate Conference. Please join us as our PhD candidates showcase their current research. Full abstracts will be posted shortly.
The schedule for the day is as follows:
2:00-3:00: Welcome/ Panel 1
–Adam Plummer: “The British Trauma Film: The Cultural Circulation of Psychoanalysis in the aftermath of the Second World War”
–Tashi Petter: “Sponsored silhouettes- the advertising films of Lotte Reiniger”
3:00-3:30: Tea Break
3:30-4:30: Panel 2
–Lisa Duffy: “Projections of desire: Impossible gender constructions in musical fantasy montages”
–Cathy Lomax: “‘Not a Good Likeness’: Anxiety, Idealisation and Disappointment in Painted Representations of Vivien Leigh”
4:30-5:00: Comfort break
5:00-6:00: First Year PhD showcase (participant information to follow)
–Keynote address: Dr. Lavinia Brydon (University of Kent): “Seaside Spectacles: Visual Pleasure and the British Coastline”
6:00-7:00: Drinks reception
All talks will be held in the Hitchcock Cinema, ArtsOne Building, Mile End campus.
Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance at Eventbrite.
I’m very excited to announce the upcoming PostProduction dates for the fall semester.
25/10: QMUL Postgraduate Conference (information in the next post)
15/11: Eleonora Sammartino (King’s)- “Femininity, Race, and the Postindustrial City: Flashdance as a site of negotiation and debate”
13/12: Dr. Guy Westwell- Topic TBD
All meetings (except for the Postgraduate Conference) will be held in the Hitchcock Cinema starting at 17:15.
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