Film India archive

Pretty excited to find parts of the FilmIndia archive online, especially 1948 with a (idiosyncratic) review of Sunny’s Mela (stars Nargis and Dilip Kumar). Also I am quite taken by the concept of ’emotional masochism’ used to describe the film. Other films reviews are in a caustic tone, with the phrase ‘hotch-potch’ appearing in at least three article titles I read, and ‘hotch-potch of coincidences’ possibly the most often repeated phrase. But great details, covers, and things not to be forgotten. Full credit for making this available (John McElwee donation to the Media History Digital Library, scanned from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art Library). A lock on resources, but opened up a little, thanks heaps.



Orientalism for kids – again

Orientalism for kids – again

Am gearing up for another round of kiddy tv and hoping there are new programmes since the mind worms of Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig did their damage. This time Theodor and I are reviewing the options for Annabel’s rapidly arriving toddler indoctrination sessions. First exhibit on review is Nicklodious’s ‘Shimmer and Shine’.

Flying carpets, shalwar kameez, wayang kulit shadow puppets, princesses and dragons (with bad breath). The two genies have 3 wishes an episode to bestow, of course wishes go astray, are wasted frivolously, but a lesson is learned. Nothing new then, and some pretty standard 1001 nights fare, along with a geography-hopping sampling of almost any magical tradition anywhere. Ok, not so worried about that, but there is a dad who eats popcorn – very suspicious. He may work in films. Big eyed anime influence, suburban values and cinema in-jokes. Does the obvious fun they had making this mean the stereotypes are somehow undone? Nope, but a popcorn munching genie is better than that 60s comedy dream of Barbara Eden.

Oh damn, there’s a prince in it, daft boy in specs – and now sitar fusion cartoon songs. I preferred the Beatles cartoon trip to India bit posted on my film course blog.
This is what we do on Sunday mornings…

trashed film paragraph on Reagan-Arnie-Trump

I dunno where else to dump this, which will now not be used in a review I was writing on regional film traditions:

Yet here is a topic ripe for serious comparative consideration if one, as necessity needs must, thinks across to the USA where a movie star became president, another became state governor – and only missed his ultimate ‘I’ll be back’ moment of becoming president because he was ineligibly born in Europe. Presently a real estate mogul is republican frontrunner on a virulently crazy platform of thinking Jesus wants him for a sunbeam (hat-tip Gore Vidal), his finger itching to blow immigrants, Moslems, Mexicans, Ruskies and whoever else to kingdom come. Reagan was a comic actor after all, Schwarzenegger a muscleman, or mechanical robot – his nuanced performance as a machine is itself interestingly dialectical. There are, nevertheless, distinct kinds of heroes in the social films – the robin hood character, the working class hero, the prince among fools – such that affection can build upon identification of repeated performance in such roles. Reagan did not benefit from the monkey movies perhaps, but the muscle man for California makes a certain Sky-net sci-fi sense.

Review of Ewa Mazierska and Lars Kristensen (eds.) (2014) Marx at the Movies

This very good review by Bruce Williams in Film-Philosophy.


Ewa Mazierska and Lars Kristensen (eds.) (2014) Marx at the Movies: Revisiting History, Theory and Practice, London: Palgrave Macmillan. 293 pp.


includes a nice summary of my chapter:

In the realm of the classical cinema, John Hutnyk’s ‘Citizen Marx/Kane’ draws a parallel between Citizen Kane and Marx’s book (218-243). When read together, these two seemingly disparate works symbiotically enrich the viewer’s understanding of both. Through an exploration of such notions as the allegory of property, philosophic biography, and the fetishisation of objects, Hutnyk asserts that a Hollywood classic like Kane can render Capital relevant to the present day. He illustrates that what we see in the film that is not in Marx’s book ‘is the personification of a class system’ (240). For Hutnyk, a Marxist reading of Welles’ film serves to debunk the obscuring of the oppressive regime of capital and the alibis in the name of philanthropy that capitalists deploy ‘for their acquisitive plunder’ (240).



Read the whole review: Bruce Williams in Film-Philosophy.

Europe for President (2008)

Excellent. I love films about presidential campaigns, <so am downloading this for sure>. Remember the one with Warren Beatty, yeah, then there was Travolta in one, wasn’t he like being Clintonesque – Bill not Hilary – and doing the whole Southern fried handshake from the elbow thing. <Only one hour of downloading to go before I can watch this, yaay>. Oh, and Josiah Edward Bartlett, the greatest US president ever, of course he was more European, but I watched the West Wing all though like twice, at least – <just 323 mb to go – exciting> – and then there was the one with Michael bloody Douglas. Ok, that was a bit like pulling teeth, but because I am mad for President films, I watched it all the way through. Hell, I even watched All the presidents Men, hoping that was a comedy too, like Primary Colours was. And Independence Day, that had a believable president. The very idea – hopefully addressed in your film Thomas? – of the entertainment of the Oval Office. I mean, I grew up with Nixion. <1 hr to go>. I am going to keep on writing about President films until its watchable – because you know, vimeo is slow unless its downloaded and I want my own copy to post and share, because we do need a Europea for prez. <God, vimeo has a 1000 character limit on comments so I am continuing here>. There was Nixon/Frost of course, and the Nixon film proper by Oliver Stone. One of the first things I can recall ever being played over the school announcement system, besides the British National Anthem, which was the Australian one then too, was Nixon’s I am not a crook speech. Formative. Then, the Kennedy Assassination, and the Kennedeys box set series and the Kennedy this and that. Oh, fuck it, once you get to that you are really scraping the barrel. Zapruder? Get a tripod, hold that camera still – it just cries out fake authenticity doesn’t it. Donald Duck cartoon president campaign, I should mention that. Maybe not. Might do a search as I think there was a Bugs Bunny one too, with Elmer Fudd as Dick Cheney – or did I make that up? Well it is an election year, or, no, its not, but it always seems like it. Fake democracy shovelled down our throats all the time, as if New Hampshire were the fount of all democracy – should try actual democracy for a change, it takes a lot more meetings I am sure. And time <more time than it takes to download this vid>. What is democratic about delegating decision making to an unrecallable cabal of high finance lobby-group selected preening puppets? Oh, you already got the puppetry metaphor going strong in this film. <Yep I’ve watched the first couple of minutes now, settling in for the long haul, just 58 minutes of downloading to go>. <a brief word from our sponsors while I post this on Trinketization> And I am back. <81MB downloaded>. I think its actually unloading, I had more downloaded before the break. What about the Lincoln film? I should talk about that, he was a prez, but his media savvy was way up on today’s candidates. I mean, even getting a letter written by Marx from the IWMA. Vote-winer that for sure – and really, I guess Marx’s tone is a bit mocking hyperbole. I bet he would have loved the golden era ot television we live in that brings us all these great presidential tv things. I mean, Geena Davis as the Commender in Chief we would want but will never get her and there is no way HC could be like that, and of course it was just a cash-in really, on Borgen. Now, you used to be Danish right, so you gonna give that a run for its money? <98mb> Oh, just remembered that Star Wars has-been Harrison Ford was president on a hijacked plane in one Presidential film frappery. Talk about your war on terror Air Force one spooky allegory/bad pun potential. I don’t think it was intended as a comedy that one, but it was. The problematic of movie stars as candidates was trialled of course in South India with MGR and NTR, never having the momentum to win national office of course, I don’t even know if they desired such, but they took their states with huge margins well before Arnie Governator paved the way for the rerun of Bush Wacker George – <wheeee 104 mb downloaded>. I am on this like a rash on an interns… No, lets not go there. I was trying to remember the Warren Beatty prez character, but it was just bad, didn’t he go a bit rogue? Not anywhere close to Josiah there. Jammy Foxx in White House Down – the less said about that one the better. <AND this is getting old… so, folks, download this film, it is gonna brighten up your day>. Four More Years Four More Years <I hope that is not how long it takes> Go TA.