John Thomas McGuire
Rending the Veils of Illusion: W. Somerset Maugham’s The Letter and Its Two Definitive Film Interpretations
Retelling Polish History through the “Soft Avant-Garde” Films of the 1960s
Picturing The Postmaster: Tagore, Ray, and the Making of an Uncanny Modernity
The Work of The Image: Cinema, Labor, Aesthetic
Elena Gorfinkel, Guest Editor
John David Rhodes
Belabored: Style as Work
Wastrels of Time: Slow Cinema’s Laboring Body, the Political Spectator, and the Queer
The Body’s Failed Labor: Performance Work in Sexploitation Cinema
The State of Labor and Labor for the State: Syrian and Egyptian Cinema beyond the 2011 Uprisings
Working Life Now and Then
Ewa Mazierska, Guest Editor
Introduction: Cinema and the Realities of Work
French Film and Work: The Work Done by Work-Centered Films
Michael Goddard and Benjamin Halligan
Cinema, the Post-Fordist Worker, and Immaterial Labor: From Post-Hollywood to the European Art Film
“Heroes of the Working Class”? Work in Czechoslovak Films of the New-Wave and Postcommunist Years
What Happened to the Polish Multitude? Representation of Working People in Polish Postcommunist Cinema
This issue’s dossiers focus on labor and film—onscreen and offscreen, above and below the line. Labor is an easily abstracted word, and the two dossiers—“The Work of the Image: Cinema, Labor, Aesthetics,” guest edited by Elena Gorfinkel, and “Working Life Now and Then,” guest edited by Ewa Mazierska—offer complex perspectives on what labor is and how it is treated. Labor is viewed through ways in which cinema refashions actual work with an intention to disguise, ignore, aestheticize, laud, or make blatant. Both guest editors cite Lumiere’s actualité Workers Leaving the Factory (FR, 1895) as a starting point, but each dossier diverges its focus. “The Work of the Image” examines labor within the industry of cinema itself and “Working Life Now and Then” examines depictions of labor by cinema. Each dossier emphasizes labor’s “screen presence” and discusses it as laborious and everyday, but also as something subtle and critical. Gorfinkel describes it as “ambiguously central”to film. Yet the nature of that centrality is in question because, in Mazierska’s words, there is so little in film to “account for the true, living experience of work.”
Another elusive state is discussed in the three additional essays— what happens to history when a story is retold. Ewa Mazierska’s essay “Retelling Polish History through the ‘Soft Avant-Garde’ Films of the 1960s” newly interprets the codes in Poland’s experimental cinema. John Thomas McGuire’s “Rending the Veils of Illusion: W. Somerset Maugham’s The Letter and Its Two Definitive Film Interpretations” and Mrinalini Chakravorty’s “Picturing The Postmaster: Tagore, Ray, and the Making of an Uncanny Modernity” analyze the symbiosis of a writer’s writing and its visualization—as painting, theater, film, or acting— and how that affects its era.
Georges Méliès: Anti-Boulangist Caricature and the Incohérent Movement
The Experimental Film Remake and the Digital Archive Effect: A Movie by Jen Proctor and Man with a Movie Camera: The Global Remake
Experimental Film and the Experimental Word
P. Adams Sitney
Markopoulos and the Temenos
Small Books about God: The American Artistry of Jonathan Edwards and Robert Beavers
A Cinematic Alchemy: Lawrence Jordan and the Palimpsest of Cinema
Sorting Facts; or, Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker
Without Words, What Are Facts?: Looking at Susan Howe Looking at Marker
This issue is devoted to transitions of one medium’s flow into another, with a focus on the experimenting talents of Gregory Markopolous, Robert Beavers, Susan Howe, Lawrence Jordan, Georges Méliès, Bruce Conner, and Jen Proctor.
The work of these artists burgeons and interacts with ideas of others, especially around concepts of form and perceptions of the presentation of form. Matthew Solomon uncovers influences inset in Georges Méliès’s newspaper caricatures, which were made during an era when satirical cartoons were one of the strongest modalities for political comment and political clout. Solomon shows how the multimedia, avant-garde movement of the day, L’Incohérent, suffused Méliès’s drawing. The dossier, Experimental Film and the Experimental Word, weaves work of the image-making writer with that of the literarily driven filmmaker. P. Adams Sitney reveals that the voluptuous films of Gregory Markopolous, rarely screened in the United States, were underpinned by complex internal structures, such as the sound patterns of ancient Greek poetry. Rebekah Rutkoff compares the dense, eloquent writing and handmade books of eighteenth-century American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards with the hands-on work of filmmaker Robert Beavers (Markopolous’s partner of many decades). Richard Deming follows the multiple constructions of poetry embedded in the films of Lawrence Jordan. I examine the elliptical, elegiac, personal exegesis on film and mourning by poet Susan Howe in her essay “Sorting Facts; or, Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker” (reprinted, in Framework 53-2, for the first time since its 1996 publication in Beyond Document). With wit and detail, Jaimie Baron matches the digital “copy” with the celluloid prototype. Baron uses the rich examples of A Movie by Jen Proctor (US, 2010)—Proctor’s remake of Bruce Connor’s 1958 A Movie (US)—and the online project of Perry Bard—Man with a Movie Camera: The Global Remake, begun in 2008—which re/creates daily versions of Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (USSR, 1929). She argues that these kind of “remakes” open new ways to discuss the inter-relationships of digital and film media and how they—together and separately—“mediate” our experience of the world.
Paul Willemen, one of Framework’s founders and editors, died May 13, 2012. His ideas were a force in film theory, and he argued all his life for a circumspect and open-minded discourse on cinema and its impact. His support of the journal was very welcome. My close friend, Sally Coverdale, a woman with an intense and generous spirit, died June 2, 2012.
This issue, with its love of transformative art, is dedicated to them both.