In the wake of the debates over high/low culture distinction spilling into the effective dismantling of the boundary that once separated them, the past decade has seen the explosion of ‘bad taste’ production on screen. Starting with paracinema or ‘badfilm’ – a movement that has grown up around sleazy, excessive, or poorly executed B-movies and has come to encompass disreputable and unworthy films – this trend has been evident in various formats: on television and in video-art, low-budget and straight to TV films, amateur and home movies. The proliferation of trash on screen can be seen as delivering the final blow to the vexed issue of taste.
More importantly, it prompts a reconsideration of some critical issues surrounding production, circulation, understanding and teaching of ‘bad objects’ in the media. This collection of essays, written by international film and television scholars, provides detailed critical analysis of the issues surrounding judgements of cultural value and taste, feeling and affect, cultural morals and politics, research methodologies and teaching strategies in the new landscape of ‘after taste’ media. Addressing global and local developments – from global Hollywood to Australian indigenous film and television, through auteurs Sergei Eisenstein to Jerry Bruckheimer, on to examples such as Twilight to Sukiyaki Western Django – the essays in this book offer a range of critical tools for understanding the recent shifts affecting cultural, aesthetic and political value of the moving image.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: After Taste: Cultural Value and the Moving Image Julia Vassilieva and Constantine Verevis, Monash University, Australia
Part I. Critical Methods
1. ‘An idleness bordering on the wacky’: Paul Cox and the contradictions of an Australian art cinema Adrian Martin, Monash University, Australia
2. Hollywood: Bad cinema’s bad ‘other’ Jane Mills, Charles Sturt University, Australia
3. Cultural value and viscerality in Sukiyaki Western Django: Towards a phenomenology of bad film Jane Stadler, University of Queensland, Australia
4. S. Eisenstein’s Que Viva Mexico! through time – historicising value judgement Julia Vassilieva, Monash University, Australia
Part II. Taste and Value
5. Transitional tastes: Teen girls and genre in the critical reception of Twilight Lisa Bode, University of Queensland, Australia
6. ‘Flesh dissolved in an acid of light’: the B-movie as second sight Simon Sellars, Monash University, Australia
7. B for Bruckheimer: The authorial value of ‘Jerry Bruckheimer Television’ Tom Steward, University of Warwick, UK
8. Blowing Chunks: Fear Factor, reality television and abjection as a disciplinary practice Scott Wilson, Unitec, New Zealand
Part III. Feeling and Affect
9. Labours of Love: Home movies, paracinema, and the modern work of cinema spectatorship Minette Hillyer, Victoria University, New Zealand
10. Dead time: Cinema, Heidegger, and boredom Richard Misek, Bristol University, UK
Part IV. Teaching Bad Objects Forum
11. Teaching Bad Objects: Introduction Jodi Brooks, University of New South Wales, Australia
12. The State of the Discipline: Film Studies as bad object Jodi Brooks, University of New South Wales, Australia
13. Beyond good/should/bad: Teaching Australian Indigenous film and television Therese Davis, Monash University, Australia
14. Teaching Australian television studies Belinda Smaill, Monash University, Australia
Julia Vassilieva teaches Film and Television Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. She is an author of Re-thinking the Experience of Immigration: From Loss to Gain (2010). She has published articles in a variety of journals, including Film-Philosophy, Senses of Cinema, Rouge, Cinema Studies, The New International Journal of Humanities and contributed as an editor to Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research.
Constantine Verevis is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He is author of Film Remakes (2006) and co-editor of Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel (2010). He is presently co-editing two further volumes: Film Trilogies (with Claire Perkins) and Remake-Remodel (with Kathleen Loock).