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[ecrea] CFP: Experimentation, Avant-garde, and Deviation from the Norm in Classical Hollywood Cinema
Mon Feb 26 13:52:30 GMT 2018
We are pleased to announce the call for papers of the next issue of
/L’Atalante. Revista de Estudios Cinematográficos/ which, under the
title of “Experimentation, Avant-garde, and Deviation from the Norm in
Classical Hollywood Cinema”, is open to contributions. You can find
detailed information at:
The deadline for article proposals for the “Notebook” section is April
30th 2018. The issue will be published in January 2019.
We sincerely hope that this information may be of your interest. Please
feel free to share this call among your contacts. Thank you in advance.
/L’Atalante. Revista de estudios cinematográficos/
(info /at/ revistaatalante.com) <mailto:(info /at/ revistaatalante.com)>
*EXPERIMENTATION, AVANT-GARDE, AND DEVIATION FROM THE NORM IN CLASSICAL
Acceptance of articles for the section “Notebook”:*from March 15^th to
April 30^th *
Classical Hollywood cinema is one of the better-defined periods with
regard to style and mode of production. Its greatest achievement was its
largely unproblematic conciliation between art and industry and between
quality and commercial viability. That was precisely what allowed its
world dominance and its conversion, in the cinephile imaginary, into an
almost mythical Golden Age, an age that is less and less known and
understood by younger generations (even in academia). Even if critics
from /Cahiers du Cinéma/ insisted on defining “authors” (specially in
the figure of directors) in classical Hollywood, the pictures produced
under the studio system were primarily a collective art, made under a
strongly specialized and hierarchized organization. That is what makes
defining who is responsible of each contribution inside a film such a
Classical Hollywood cinema’s style was very uniform and stable in
essence, even after all the mutations suffered from the mid-1910s to the
end of the 1950s (or even the beginning of the 1960s). Obsessed with the
mass influx of people into the theatre so as to obtain the highest
profits possible, and focused on the narrative, everything in these
films concentrates on two key principles: do not bore the audience, and
tell the story in the simplest way possible. Lighting, mise-en-scène,
editing, camera movements, sound processing, etc.—everything was
designed to serve the narrative structure. That is precisely what has
been called transparency: nothing can distract the attention from the
most important thing, the story.
But, at the same time, this well-defined and delimited system was less
rigid and more flexible than it seemed and than has frequently been
asserted. In fact, it always allowed for experimentation in all the
elements of the creation of cinema, ever since the silent film era. Let
us consider, for example, D. W. Griffith, who contributed to the
development and settlement of the language of narrative continuity (what
has been defined by Noël Burch as IMR), thanks to innovations that would
influence all other national cinemas. Griffith himself would experiment
beyond the allowed limits in /Intolerance/ (1916), leading to the
public’s rejection and to the financial collapse of the project.
Many of the original solutions of classical Hollywood cinema still
surprise us, seeming very modern and fresh even today. These experiments
were almost always designed for the narrative structure, adapted to work
in its favour. In other cases, though, they were devices that emphasized
a certain self-consciousness of film language, including complex
artifices. Even in those cases, these examples were deviations within
the norm, and never radical departures or real alternatives to the
system. That is, (almost) everything was permitted, since everything was
perfectly integrated inside Hollywood’s characteristic style, a machine
able to devour (in the good sense) all the filmic novelties from other
other national cinemas, assimilating them and making them its own
Hollywood, while influencing all the film industries in the world, has
always paid attention to what was happening in other countries, being
very receptive to their contributions, even when they seemed like
alternatives to its own system. Hollywood has also tried to hire the
most successful international filmmakers, as it happened —with varying
results— during the 1920s with Ernst Lubitsch, Victor Sjöström, Mauritz
Stiller, F. W. Murnau, E. A. Dupont, Paul Leni, and Jacques Feyder. In
addition to this, the European diaspora due to the ascendance of Nazism
in Germany made a little town in California the centre in which some of
the most privileged minds in the History of Cinema gathered. These
foreigners both adapted (with fewer or more difficulties) to the
Hollywood mode of production and introduced some of their own ideas
about filmmaking; ideas that most of the time were very different from
the style of American cinema. As Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson explain
(2005 : 74): “Hollywood has perpetually renewed itself by
assimilating techniques from experimental movements”. Thompson (1993:
188) even asserts that “Hollywood could assimilate, among other things,
aspects of avant-garde art”. Now, “[t]he question, though, is what
principles governed this search for differentiation. What limits were
set upon variety?” (Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, 2005 : 72).
Considering all this, some of the themes and proposals for this
monographic issue are:
·The diversity of experimentalism inside Hollywood’s classicism in any
part of the film creation process: the technology, the cinematography
(both illumination and the use of colour), the mise-en-scène (from sets
to camera movements, including costume design), the editing, the sound,
the narrative structure, the visual aspects, the treatment of time, the
acting, the conception and development of the star system, etc.
·The influence of the avant-garde and other national cinemas in the
innovations made in Hollywood. German cinema from the Weimar Republic
and early Soviet cinema were, of course, the most influential,
especially in regard to camera movements, editing, and cinematography.
Likewise, the impact of Italian Neorealism was decisive in achieving the
higher degree of realism demanded by the American audience after WWII.
At the same time, the enormous amount of foreign professionals working
in Hollywood allowed the studio system to be receptive to other national
·The controversial role of authorship in the innovations inside of the
system. Are these experiments attributable to a few very creative
filmmakers or should we take other professionals into account?
·The role of the studios, the producers, and the production team in the
experimentation: between freedom and the limits to creativity. Or,
better said, who could be creative and to what degree? And, of course,
we must not forget that some of the most original innovations in
classical Hollywood were due to producers such as Irving Thalberg,
Samuel Goldwyn, David O’Selznick, Walt Disney, Walter Wanger, Val
Lewton, or Arthur Freed.
·Differences in the experimentation depending on the different decades
of classicism. The cinema of the 1930s is not the same as it was in the
1920s, nor is the cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. And yet, they are all
part of classical Hollywood cinema. Therefore, we will accept texts that
analyse the modes of experimentation in classical cinema during the
whole period, but we will primarily value those proposals that focus on
the presence of deviations from the norm in the first decades of
classicism (including silent cinema), and not only those that resulted
from the crisis of the classical model in its last years.
·Experimentalism in silent films and experimentalism in sound films. The
possibility of establishing differences between both types.
·Differences in the innovations depending on genre. Are there genres
that are more creative than others?
·In relation to the previously mentioned, we encourage the consideration
of the possibilities inherent in B-pictures. Sometimes lower budget
films were the ones that, due to a less economically risky mode of
production, allowed for greater expressive audacity.
·The integration of experiments in the narrative structure of classicism.
Bordwell, D., Staiger, J., Thompson, K. (2005 ). /The Classical
Hollywood Cinema. Film Style and Mode of Production until 1960. /London:
Thompson, K. (1993). The Limits of Experimentation in Hollywood.
/Archivos de la Filmoteca/, /14/, 186-201.
/L'Atalante. Revista de estudios cinematográficos /accepts submissions
of unpublished essays on topics related to film theory and/or praxis
that stand out for their innovative nature. Articles should focus on
approaches to the cinematographic fact made preferably from the
perspectives of historiography or audiovisual analysis. Those texts that
approach novel objects of study with rigorous and well-evidenced
methodologies will be appreciated. Articles that take as their main
reference the processes of signification through the analysis of the
audiovisual form and/or the narratological elements specific to our
field, focusing on methodologies specifically related to the treatment
of the image will be favoured in the selection process. Although we
accept works with other methodologies that approach the filmic fact from
transversal perspectives (Cultural Studies, philological approaches,
etc.) we consider that the main interest of the journal is located on
the studies that take the specifically cinematographic expressive tools
as the main elements of discourse. Likewise, texts that are not limited
to describing, enumerating or summarizing details of the plot, but that
rigorously apply a specific and well-evidenced analysis methodology,
reaching particular and novel results, will be given priority.
Below are a few aspects to keep in mind:
·Submissions must be original and must conform to the submission
guidelines of the journal
to the standards and scientific rigour expected of an academic publication.
·Submissions will be evaluated for the originality of the topic
explored, especially if it relates to an issue not previously addressed
in the publication. Submissions dealing with topics previously addressed
in the journal may be rejected. The content of the issues published to
date can be consulted on the journal's website
·All submissions will undergo an external peer review process that will
respect the anonymity of both authors and reviewers (double blind peer
review) in an effort to prevent any possibility of bias. In the event of
a very high number of submissions, the Editorial Board will make a prior
selection of the articles to be peer reviewed, choosing the articles
deemed the most appropriate for the issue. Failure to observe the
submission guidelines and/or standards of originality and academic
rigour will result in rejection of the submission by the Editorial Board
without external review.
·Authors of accepted submissions will be contacted within six months.
·Articles (which should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words including all
sections) must be submitted via the website of the journal as .rtf, .odt
or .docx files, using the template provided for the purpose. Files
containing the author's statement (.pdf) and any images (.psd, .png,
.jpg, .tiff) must be uploaded to the website as complementary files. A
detailed version of the submission guidelines can be found at the
Any articles that fail to meet these requirements will be rejected
/·/If the /L'Atalante /team decides to publish the “Notebook” section of
the present issue in a bilingual edition, authors will be required to
provide the translation and cover the costs of translating or
proofreading the text (in some cases, this cost may be waived for
students and unemployed researchers who provide proof of status).//
·/L'Atalante/ does not offer any compensation for published articles.
For more information: (info /at/ revistaatalante.com)
<mailto:(info /at/ revistaatalante.com)>
<mailto:(info /at/ revistaatalante.com)>
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