Prof. Lucia Nagib
Lúcia Nagib is Professor of Film and Director of the Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures at the University of Reading. Her research has focused, among other subjects, on polycentric approaches to world cinema, new waves and new cinemas, cinematic realism and intermediality. She is the author of World Cinema and the Ethics of Realism (Continuum, 2011), Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo, New Cinema, Utopia (I.B. Tauris, 2007), The Brazilian Film Revival: Interviews with 90 Filmmakers of the 90s (Editora 34, 2002), Born of the Ashes: The Auteur and the Individual in Oshima’s Films (Edusp, 1995), Around the Japanese Nouvelle Vague (Editora da Unicamp, 1993) and Werner Herzog: Film as Reality (EstaçãoLiberdade, 1991). She is the editor of Impure Cinema: Intermedial and Intercultural Approaches to Film (with Anne Jerslev, 2013), Theorizing World Cinema (with Chris Perriam and Rajinder Dudrah, I.B. Tauris, 2011), Realism and the Audiovisual Media (with Cecília Mello, Palgrave, 2009), The New Brazilian Cinema (I.B. Tauris, 2003), Master Mizoguchi (Navegar, 1990) and Ozu (Marco Zero, 1990).
Lecture: Regurgitated Bodies: re-enactment as the production of reality in The Act of Killing
One of the many revolutions accomplished by The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012) is the use of re-enactment of mass murder in order to force perpetrators into the skin of their own victims. Unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads fashion themselves after the image of their favourite Hollywood heroes and genres in order to represent their crimes. But the spectator is denied empathy thanks to a Brechtian focus on the mask in the making and on the reality of the medium, including the audible shooting instructions and the interviewer’s voice. Distanciation is thus elicited through the unveiling of the cinematic apparatus and of the actors as real-life criminals. As a result, cinema turns into non-cinema, that is, into reality itself. Conversely, the protagonist Anwar fully identifies with his victims, in the classical voyeuristic way, whilst performing and then watching the rushes of his film within the film, a process that Sobchack (2004) once called ‘interobjectivism’, or ‘the subjective realisation of our own objectivity, in the passion of our own material’. Viveiros de Castro (2002) resorts to the concept of ‘perspectivism’ to address an ethos among the anthropophagic Tupi-Guarani, which he defines as ‘the ability to look at oneself as the Other – a point of view from which one arguably obtains the ideal view of oneself’. Considering that cannibalism is part of the horrors staged in The Act of Killing, this paper will look at the ways in which the film uses pretence to produce the real, culminating in a harrowing sequence of long takes of Anwar’s uncontrollable retching, regurgitating, though alas only symbolically, the devoured bodies.
Dr. Julian Ward
Julian Ward is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Edinburgh. After completing his PhD on the celebrated Ming dynasty explorer/travel writer Xu Xiake, he turned to the research of the cinema of Communist China, publishing on recent propaganda films about the Anti-Japanese War such as Zhang Side and Qixia Temple 1937. He is currently Associate Editor of The Journal of Chinese Cinemas, and co-edited The Chinese Cinema Book, published in 2011.
Lecture: “We would be wise to understand them a little better than we do now”: A Scottish Cameraman’s 1971 Trip to China
Lewis McLeod was a professional cameraman whose career covered an astounding range of subject matter from wildlife documentaries to the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. In 1971 McLeod travelled to China, at a time when the country was closed off to an extent that is unimaginable today, and a year before Richard Nixon’s historic visit. After being kept in storage for many years, the 10,000 feet of film that he shot, as well as a series of short essays describing various aspects of his trip, were donated to the University of Edinburgh in 2012. Digital copies of the film have now been made, revealing images that switch from the utterly distant to the reassuringly familiar.