Huston School of Film and Digital Media (Scholarly Articles)

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  • Publication
    Don’t Look: Representations of Horror in the Twenty-First-Century Symposium, University of Edinburgh, 28 April 2018
    (Intellect, 2018-10-01) Casey, Máiréad
    Review of Don't Look: Representations of Horror in the Twenty-First-Century Symposium, University of Edinburgh, 28 April 2018
  • Publication
    Fairytale and Gothic Horror: Uncanny Transformations in Film, Laura Hubner (2018)
    (Intellect, 2020-04-01) Casey, Máiréad
    Review of: Fairytale and Gothic Horror: Uncanny Transformations in Film, Laura Hubner (2018), London: Palgrave Macmillan, 206 pp.,
  • Publication
    Folk horror in the twenty-first century
    (Irish Gothic Journal, School of English, Trinity College Dublin, 2020) Casey, Máiréad
    Casey highlights the Folk Horror in the Twenty-First Century conference at Falmouth University. The conference was a two-day multidisciplinary exploration and interconnected discussion of this new and vibrant facet of Horror Studies. The issues of normalcy and Otherness, the re-examination and re-evaluation of national identity, and humanity's relationship with the environment, were common threads throughout the two-day conference. The call for papers had an abundant and enthusiastic response from international scholars and creative practitioners, and was divided into parallel panels packed with diverse content.
  • Publication
    Impossible totalities: Political performance as palimpsest
    (Intellect, 2020-09-12) Putnam, El
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    Sport, representation, and the commemoration of the 1916 Rising: a new Ireland rises?
    (European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS), the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies (RIISS) in Aberdeen, and the University of Leuven, 2018-10-24) Crosson, Seán
    Commemoration is part of what defines nations and their configurations; the considerable investment of the Irish state (and various sporting organisations) during 2016 in 1916 commemorations speaks to the importance of commemoration in both defining and affirming the state itself and the role these organisations play in it. However, this process is neither straightforward nor uncomplicated; it is rife with contradictions, unresolved tensions and paradoxes. Commemoration involves a constant process of writing and rewriting, an ongoing renegotiation of the past in response to contemporary developments and future aspirations in a process that is intrinsically political. This paper considers the mediatisation of one of the largest and most viewed sporting commemorative events in 2016, the Laochra pageant organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), and broadcast live by the Irish medium broadcaster TG4 on Sunday April 24th, exactly one hundred years to the day after the first shots were fired in the Easter Rising. Susan Hayward in her study of French cinema (1993) identified how film may function as a cultural articulation of a nation [it] textualises the nation and subsequently constructs a series of relations around the concepts, first, of state and citizen, then of state, citizen and other (x). It is this process through which Irishness is textualised through the performance and mediatisation of Laochra that is the key concern of this paper. While Laochra may have been primarily a televisual experience, I will argue that the cinematic has now been incorporated and integrated into major sporting events themselves.
  • Publication
    "Ar son an Naisiuin": The National Film Institute of Ireland's All-Ireland Films
    (Irish-American Cultural Institute, 2013) Crosson, Seán; |~|
    On 4 September 1948 the Irish Independent newspaper carried a small announcement on page ten indicating that the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) had authorized the filming of the All-Ireland hurling and football finals of that year. These finals were to be filmed by the National Film Institute (NFI) of Ireland, set up three years earlier, and this announcement marked the beginning of the first sustained period of indigenous filming of Gaelic games in Ireland. Although important research has been done on the crucial link between the codification and popularization of Gaelic games in Ireland and the development of Irish nationalism in the late nineteenth century, the role that filmic representations of sport may have played in this developing process in the twentieth century has as yet been the subject of limited investigation. This article builds on previous research about the representation of Gaelic games in early newsreels between 1920 and 1939 in order to consider the filmic depictions of All-Ireland finals produced by the NFI and their role, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s, in representing and affirming the Irish nation through sport. These films also offer fascinating insights into Irish society in the postwar period, while sharing intriguing links with one of the most accomplished (and controversial) sports films ever made, Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1938).
  • Publication
    Reimagining an Irish City: I am Belfast
    (Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses, Spanish Association for Irish Studies (AEDEI), 2017-03) Crosson, Seán; |~|
    An early shot in Mark Cousin's I am Belfast lingers on a very unusual and unexpected landscape, what appears to be an icy vista reflected in water, with clouds drifting by in the distance. Where s this our narrator asks. Are we at the North Pole? Or in the clouds? Or on an ice planet? As the shot widens, it reveals a Belfast landmark, Shore Road Mill, hiding behind a hill of salt. From the beginning, Cousins film is concerned to provide a different vision of Belfast, to encourage the viewer to look anew at the familiar, or (to the non-local) to familiarise ourselves with the extraordinary richness of place, space and people in this much misrepresented Irish city.
  • Publication
    Defining the heathen Irish and the pagan African: two similar discourses a century apart
    (2008) Bateman, Fiona; |~|
    This article looks at two different missionary projects separated by space and time: British Protestant missions to Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century; and Irish Roman Catholic missions to Africa in the 1920 and 1930s. It argues that in both cases missionary discourses were strongly influenced by prevailing public attitudes towards the 'other', in the earlier case the Irish, in the later case, the Africans. Using evidence from a range of contemporary mission publications, the article highlights the similarity between British Protestant efforts to 'colonise' Ireland in religious terms and later Irish Catholic attempts to create a 'Spiritual Empire' in Africa in the context of the recently-formed Irish Free State and in contrast to the ostensibly materialistic and corrupting influences on Africa of British imperialism. Cet article se penche sur deux projets missionnaires séparés dans le temps et l'espace: les missions protestantes britanniques en Irlande au milieu du 19e siècle, et les missions catholiques irlandaises en Afrique dans les années 1920-30. Il montre que, dans les deux cas, le discours missionnaire a été influencé par la façon dont le rapport à l'«Autre,» qu'il soit irlandais dans un cas ou africain dans l'autre, était généralement conçu. Par l'analyse de nombreuses publications missionnaires, le texte révèle les similarités existant entre les efforts des protestants britanniques pour «coloniser» religieusement l'Irlande et, plus tard, les efforts des Catholiques irlandais pour créer un «Empire spirituel» en Afrique dans le contexte du nouvel Etat Libre d'Irlande et d'un désir de se distinguer des influences matérialistes et néfastes de l'impérialisme britannique en Afrique.
  • Publication
    Horror, hurling, and Bertie: aspects of contemporary Irish horror cinema
    (University of Waterloo, Department of Fine Arts (Film Studies), 2012) Crosson, Seán
    In Ireland, generic international cinematic forms have provided an important means through which filmmakers have attempted to tell Irish stories while engaging international audiences. However, in general Irish filmmakers have been less inclined until recent years to turn to that most overused and familiar of film genres, the horror. Indeed, its over familiarity may well have been a contributory factor in directors' hesitancy to adopt the horror form for their films until the mid-1990s. Since then, and particularly from the early 2000s, Irish filmmakers have increasingly turned to horror as a form through which to explore aspects of Irish society, culture, history and, indeed, their representation. While reflecting providing an overview of these films, this article focuses in particular on a feature film sometimes credited kicking off the most recent series of Irish horror films, Conor McMahon's Dead Meat (2004), a film preceded by his 2001 award-winning short The Braineater. While Dead Meat and The Braineater are heavily indebted to previous international horror work, including films by Sam Rami, Peter Jackson, George A. Romero and Lucio Fulci, a striking feature in both is the use of elements and motifs associated with indigenous Irish culture and sport, in particular the Gaelic game of hurling, within their narratives. These films also, in common with other recent horror works, reject and critique previous touristic depictions of Ireland (an important determinant of representations of Ireland in international productions throughout the 20th century) while providing an 'allegorical moment' both for the exploration of trauma in Ireland's distant and more recent past and a critique of Celtic Tiger Ireland itself.
  • Publication
    From Babe Ruth to Michael Jordan: Affirming the American Dream via the Sports/Film Star
    (University of Waterloo, Department of Fine Arts (Film Studies), 2014) Crosson, Seán
    In the United States, sport stars have provided crucial affirmation of the American Dream ideology despite the considerable evidence that questions the validity and appropriateness of this belief for understandings of American society today. The focus on the individualistic achievement, good character and most importantly humble origins of sport stars in film and other popular representations seems to offer dramatic evidence of the openness of opportunity to those with appropriate values , including hard work and perseverance, within American society. Sports stars, such as Babe Ruth in the past and Michael Jordan more recently, have been crucial to the persistence of this individualist ethic, a central aspect of contemporary capitalist culture internationally.
  • Publication
    “For the honour of old Knock-na-gow I must win”: Representing Sport in Knocknagow (1918)
    (2012) Crosson, Seán; |~|
    Knocknagow (1918) has a special significance for followers of sport in Ireland.[1] Most immediately, it contains one of the earliest surviving depictions of hurling on film—and hurling’s earliest depiction in a fiction film—in the scene where Mat “The Thrasher” Donovan leads his team to victory amid cries of “Up Tipperary!” (Clip 1). The hurling match is followed by a highlight of both the film and the novel on which it is based: the famous hammer-throwing contest between Mat and Captain French, a local landowner’s son and undefeated champion (Clip 2). The film even includes real footage of a hare coursing event, a bloodsport akin to fox-hunting with strong roots in County Tipperary (Clip 3).
  • Publication
    Configuring Irishness through coaching films: Peil (1962) and Christy Ring (1964)
    (Taylor & Francis, 2016-07-12) Crosson, Seán; |~|
    The sports coaching film has a long history, dating from at least 1932 with the production of Paulette McDonagh s How I Play Cricket which featured the legendary Don Bradman. However, coaching films dedicated to indigenous Irish sport, or Gaelic games, are a more recent development, emerging at the beginning of the 1960s. This article considers two such films Peil (Louis Marcus, 1962) and Christy Ring (Louis Marcus, 1964) dedicated to Gaelic football and hurling respectively and produced by the Irish-language cultural organisation Gael Linn. The principal concern in undertaking this examination is to identify the process by which these films configure Irishness, not just through the depictions of the indigenous sports themselves but also through the manner in which these depictions are framed. In configuring Irishness , I am referring specifically to the manner through which these films articulate Irish identity and its constituent properties, particularly in terms of language, geography, politics and religion. The relationship of sport with national culture and identity is a complex yet crucial one in understanding the popularity and passions that sport evokes internationally. A key force in the promotion of nationalism is culture; as Ernest Gellner notes culture is now the necessary shared medium (Gellner, 1983, pp. 37 8) and sport is one of the most popular of such cultural activities, contributing considerably to citizens identification with particular nations. Indeed, in emphasizing the banality of nationalism as a natural and often unnoticed part of everyday life, Michael Billig has argued that modern sport has a social and political significance that extend[s] through the media beyond the player and the spectator (Billig, 1995, p. 120) by providing luminous moments of national engagement and national heroes whom citizens can emulate and adore. As Billig s remarks suggest, the mass media (including the cinema) has had a crucial role to play in the popularisation of sport and, indeed, in asserting its political significance. Film s potential as a powerful vehicle for the articulation and affirmation of the nation has been recognised in critical studies (Higson 1995; Hjort & MacKenzie 2000). Susan Hayward in her study of French cinema identified how film may function as a cultural articulation of a nation [it] textualises the nation and subsequently constructs a series of relations around the concepts, first, of state and citizen, then of state, citizen and other a national cinema is ineluctably reduced to a series of enunciations that reverberate around two fundamental concepts: identity and difference (2005, p. x). This article will examine, through close readings of Peil and Christy Ring, precisely this process whereby these coaching films textualise the Irish nation.
  • Publication
    Irish short films: essential indigenous productions
    (ROPES: Review Of Postgraduate Studies, 1995) Crosson, Seán
    Since the emergence of an Irish cinema of national questioning in the mid-1970s, short films have played an important role in Irish film culture. Not only did they offer Irish filmmakers an opportunity to learn their trade and establish themselves, but often the films themselves made original and provocative contributions to contemporary debates including those surrounding cultural identity. This articles examines some relevant examples, including Withdrawal (1974), Emtigon (1977), Wheels (1976), The Woman Who Married Clarke Gable (1985), Boom Babies (1986), He Shoots, He Scores (1995), The Pan Loaf (1995), and Horse (1993).
  • Publication
    'Croke Park goes Plumb Crazy' Gaelic Games in Pathé Newsreels, 1920–1939
    (Taylor and Francis, 2011) Crosson, Seán; McAnallen, Dónal; |~|
    From the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, and over the next two decades, arose great efforts in Ireland to augment political independence from Britain with enhanced cultural separation. During this period the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) enjoyed a boom in numbers of players and supporters, thus confirming hurling and Gaelic football as the definitively Irish national games and the association itself as the most popular mass movement for the expression of independent Irish identity. Yet paradoxically, given the popular association of Gaelic games with Irish independence, nearly all footage of these games from that time was produced by foreign companies with a strong British bias. This article will focus primarily on the coverage of Pathé, a leading newsreel company in this period, through an examination of the content of relevant films in the online digital archive of British Pathé, and will explore the conditions of their production and reception in Ireland, including by the GAA, which was usually wary of portrayals in the British media.
  • Publication
    Sport and the media in Ireland: an introduction
    (Taylor and Francis, 2011) Crosson, Seán; Dine, Philip
    [Introduction to Media History Special Issue on Sport and the Media in Ireland]. The symbiotic relationship that has existed since the mid-nineteenth century between sport and the media - from the popular press, through newsreels and radio, to television, and beyond - is so well established as hardly to require comment. However, the very familiarity of this long and successful marriage should not blind us to its abiding, and abidingly remarkable, affective power, both for individuals and for communities, real and ‘imagined’, of all kinds. We may thus legitimately pause to reflect on the key role played by the media in establishing the local, national and international significance of what are inherently ephemeral and objectively trivial corporeal practices. This essay considers the historical development of media depictions of sport in Ireland and it's importance for constructions of Irish identities.
  • Publication
    The Theory of Film Practice: Thirty Years Later
    (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013) Stoneman, Rod; |~|
    Jean-Luc Godard prefaced his exhibition Voyages en utopie with the explanation that it was an intimate voyage that is permeable to the world s upheavals; it is from the tension between these two poles: autobiographical fiction and documentary report that poetry is generated. [1] A tenuous biographical trajectory is the starting point for this exposition which tries to understand the activity that is theory at the intersection of movements of ideas in the wider world and the narration of the personal. Pushing the boundaries of orthodox academic formats allows the inclusion of an autobiographical dimension which traces the accretion of age/history, not to mention History itself.[1] Booklet issued to accompany exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Spring 2006.
  • Publication
    Alexander Kluge: Utopian Cinema
    (Rodopi, 2007-10-01) Stoneman, Rod; |~|
    Alexander Kluge's films, television programmes and his other diverse activities contribute to a developed understanding of contemporary politics and culture. He took a version of creative critical theory into spheres of production normally dominated by industrial fabrication. Opportunistic and inventive (and entrepreneurial in the best sense) he made a number of exemplary incisions in the body politic. His radical intertexuality and polysemy reveals the both possibilities and limitations of contemporary cultural spaces.
  • Publication
    Global Interchange: The Same but Different
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013-08) Stoneman, Rod; |~|
    Praxis is a productive basis for international interchange the diversity and pluralism of critical practice offers an implicit challenge to dominant models. The replication of versions of academic tunnel vision is too often a one-way transmission of discourse and power from the North to the South of the world. Practice-based collaborations can transform relations between places and people into reciprocal activity, encouraging an open dynamic where it is possible to extricate what is shared and similar from the different, the contradictory. Change becomes possible by bringing ideology into visibility, relativising and undermining hegemony. The metric league tables between universities and the competition between educational institutions in a global context efface flows of influence and ultimately contestations of power. That knowledge can only be built, not donated, became clear in specific training projects such as: MEDA Film Development, Marrakech, Morocco 2007-2009; Imagine FESPACO Newsreel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 2009, 2011; Beyond Borders, Djerba, Tunisia 2010.These workshops depended on collaborative exchanges between theory and practice and developed approaches which assumed that artistic and cultural aspects are central elements of the creative industries. They attempted to combine an integrated understanding of both the creative and business elements of an extended process. This holistic approach is crucial to a better exchange between film-makers and audiences from different countries.It is important that African, Asian and Latin American filmmakers, and indeed all independents the world over, do not remain permanently relegated to the margins of the art-house festival ghettos, trapped in the margins of the global film industry. Together we can explore and pioneer new ways to produce innovative stories in order to create and reach new audiences.
  • Publication
    Girl chewing gum: the time that cinema forgot
    (Intellect / Ingenta Connect, 2012-02) Stoneman, Rod; |~|
    John Smith's Girl Chewing Gum was made in Hackney, East London and shown at the London Film-Makers' Co-op in 1976. Through its wit and imagination this film extended the forms of British avant-garde experimentation that were pervasive at that moment and mobilized a critique of narrative cinema.
  • Publication
    Chance and Change
    (2010) Stoneman, Rod