The Scene (5.2)

Cinephile 5.2, The Scene

Deadline Extended to February 23, 2009

How is it that ‘the shower scene’ epitomises Hitchcock’s style and psychological preoccupations?What is it about Robert DeNiro’s “Are you talking to me?” scene that has such lasting cultural resonance? How does Gene Kelly dancing in the rain embody an entire ethos of escapism?Is there much more to Tarantino than Travolta and Thurman cutting a rug at Jackrabbit Slims?Just as ‘the scene’ has become one of the primary sites of fandom, it is also one of the first points of entry for scholarly analysis.A sequence analysis is one of the first key skills a film student learns, before turning to a more rigorous research and rhetoric-based argumentation, but is there value in returning to such an ‘amateur’ exercise?

The current information age of portable media devices, YouTube clips, DVD deleted scenes, and downloadable movies and trailers has altered our viewing habits.Our memory of certain films, directors, performers, and so on, is frequently stored as a repertoire of key scenes.So, too, a scene may be isolated as a synecdoche for a whole film, genre, director’s oeuvre, national cinema, or otherwise.In this changing climate of spectatorship and cinephilia, can scene studies offer an opportunity to reconcile cinephilic appreciation within film scholarship?What new meanings or problems arise when studying a scene alone, extricated from its filmic context?

As a celebration of its fifth anniversary, and a utilization of its new web presence*, for its Summer 2009 issue, Cinephile is calling for a collection of Scene Studies to consider the privileges and limits of this critical approach.Writers are free to explore one or multiple aspects of a single scene, including theme, mise-en-scene, editing, and so forth, of a narrative film of their choice.In addition to strict scene analyses, writers may interrogate broader issues of scene studies by problematising any of the following possible research topics:

  • the homespun re-editing or ‘mash-up’ of scenes as a referential and cinephilic practise.
  • the cultural currency of ‘scene films’, that is, films composed of several stand alone scenes such as Robert Rodriguez’s 9 lives, Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, and Olivier Assayas’ Paris, je t’aime.
  • the replacement of film viewing with scene viewing and the impact of YouTube anddownloadable movie clips on fandom and reception studies.
  • while the music video itself has perhaps lost pre-eminence in the music industry, what impact, aesthetically or economically, does music video logic – the over-reliance of montage sequences cut to popular music – have on filmmaking?
  • is there a cult of the scene?Is there a canon of viral video?
  • how has DVD technology, particularly the ‘scene selection’ function, changed spectatorship?

* Articles will be published on our website with clips of their respective scenes.

Cinephile is the University of British Columbia’s film journal, published with the support of the Centre for Cinema Studies.Since its inception in 2005, Cinephile has been steadily broadening its readership.Starting in 2009, the journal will be published biannually and available online and in print via subscription.

Submission Criteria:

  • We accept both faculty and graduate submissions.
  • Papers should be approximately 1500-2500 words, formatted in MLA, and submitted with a works cited and brief biography.
  • The deadline for submissions is February 23rd 2009
  • Submissions and inquiries should be directed to: info [at] cinephile [dot] ca.