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.
Introduction: After Taste: Cultural Value and the Moving Image Part I. Critical Methods 1. ‘An idleness bordering on the wacky’: Paul Cox and the contradictions of an Australian art cinema 2. Hollywood: Bad cinema’s bad ‘other’ 3. Cultural value and viscerality in Sukiyaki Western Django: Towards a phenomenology of bad film 4. S. Eisenstein’s Que Viva Mexico! through time – historicising value judgement Part II. Taste and Value 5. Transitional tastes: Teen girls and genre in the critical reception of Twilight 6. ‘Flesh dissolved in an acid of light’: the B-movie as second sight 7. B for Bruckheimer: The authorial value of ‘Jerry Bruckheimer Television’ 8. Blowing Chunks: Fear Factor, reality television and abjection as a disciplinary practice Part III. Feeling and Affect 9. Labours of Love: Home movies, paracinema, and the modern work of cinema spectatorship 10. Dead time: Cinema, Heidegger, and boredom Part IV. Teaching Bad Objects Forum 11. Teaching Bad Objects: Introduction 12. The State of the Discipline: Film Studies as bad object 13. Beyond good/should/bad: Teaching Australian Indigenous film and television 14. Teaching Australian television studies