Television and Film Network Narratives


The Wire.

David Simon, insisted that The Wire [2002-8] “was never a cop show. We were always planning to move further out, to build a whole city”. (Thanks to Dominic Topp for the reference.)

Acting Out


Last Friday, I was in Reading to attend Acting Out: A Symposium on Film Performance, Inference and Interpretation. Overall, it was an excellent event with evocative and pondered contributions to the study of film performance. It was also an opportunity to catch up with a few friends.

Session 1: A Question of Style:

V. F. Perkins (University of Warwick), “The Eloquence of Bad Acting”

Ronan Paterson (University of Teeside), “A Little Touch of Harry in the Night: An Exploration of the Contrasting Acting Styles of Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh in Their Respective Films of Shakespeare’s Henry V

Sarah Thomas (University of Aberystwyth), “Contrasting Modes of performance in Classical Hollywood Cinema and The Best Years of Our Lives

Session 2: Keynote Speaker:

Andrew Klevan (University of Oxford), “Living Meaning: The Fluency of Film Performance”

Session 3: Interpreting Performance and Performing Interpretation:

Martin Barker (University of Aberystwyth), “How Do Audiences Evaluate Acting on Screen?: A Case Study Using The Usual Suspects

Alex Clayton (University of Bristol), “Acting to Save the World (Fuck Yeah): Team America, Comedy and Performance”

John Adams (University of Bristol), “Interpreting Oneself: Performance, Feedback, and the Digital”

Adam Ganz (Royal Holloway, University of London), “Interpreting Oneself: Performance, Feedback, and the Digital”

Session 4: Acting In?:

Kathrina Glitre (University of West of England), “Still Acting: Doing Nothing as an Acting Choice”

David Morrison (King’s College London), “Performing Loneliness”

Steven Peacock (University of Hertfordshire), “David Lynch, Laura Dern and Crying on Film”

The Magnifying Class #4


The Little Foxes.

Yesterday I was at the University of Oxford for a meeting of the film research group “The Magnifying Class”, of which I am an invited member. These seminars happen once a term and focus on a single film that we discuss and analyse in the course of three hours — this time, the seminar focused on The Little Foxes (1941), directed by William Wyler. According to the group chair Andrew Klevan, the group and these sessions aim at: investigating film style, looking closely at how film sequences work, and expanding our appreciation of films and the people who make them.


“The Magnifying Class”: #3

Serial Forms


The conference Serial Forms will be held at the University of Zurich between June 4 and 6. It is organised by the Institute of Cinema Studies of the university, which demonstrates the increasing interest of film academics in television series (and other serial forms):

Bringing together scholars from various countries and disciplines, the conference takes the recent trend of quality television series as a starting point to explore the phenomenon of serial forms on a broad canvas. While the main focus will be on serial forms in cinema and television from the past and present, we would also like to discuss the role of serial forms in other media and art forms.

Speakers include Jennifer M. Bean (University of Washington), Glen Creeber (Aberystwyth University), Nicola Dusi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Jens Eder (University of Hamburg), Lorenz Engell (Bauhaus-University Weimar), Ursula Ganz-Blaettler (University of Lugano), Wolfgang Hagen (University of St. Gallen), Jason Mittell (Middlebury College), Greg M. Smith (Georgia State University), Jörg Schweinitz (University of Zurich), Jörg Türschmann (University of Vienna), and Rainer Winter (University of Klagenfurt). Trailer here. Further information here.

A personal thanks to Peter Stanfield for letting me know about this event.

A Comment on the Mosaic-Screen


The Tracey Fragments (2007).

Seth Keen, a lecturer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, has recently commented on my essay on the mosaic-screen. According to him, this new term “provides another way to define the use of spatial montage in the creation of moving-image narratives, in addition to the term split-screen”.