Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays
Issue 10 - 2022 (2)
This tenth issue marks the celebration of the fourth anniversary of Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays. Since 2018, this project has published more than 60 video essays, with a great diversity of authors from around twenty different countries. To celebrate this milestone, the usual sections (Video Essays, From the Archive, Student Showcase) are complemented with a monograph entitled “Women in Contemporary Media,” promoted by the University Institute of Spanish Cinema of the Carlos III University of Madrid and coordinated by Ana Mejón, Elena Oroz and Asier Gil Vázquez (UC3M).
Like its cinema, feminist film theory has been evolving and raising new questions from which to challenge the ways of making and thinking about the images that surround us. This issue’s monograph looks at “Women in contemporary media.” The Brazilian documentary filmmaker Helena Solberg, whose filmography approaches feminisms from an intersectional point of view, states in an interview that the rebirth of the movement “is gaining humanist contours, assuming guidelines that go beyond the question of equality between men and women: gender struggles, racial issues, and socio-environmental development, among others.” These words are in line with the ideas developed at the International Conference “Women and Cinema in Ibero-America: politics, representations, histories, intersectionalities” organized by the University Institute for Spanish Cinema UC3M, held at the Carlos III University of Madrid in September 2022. Following this meeting, this monograph brings together disparate and interdisciplinary views within the field of film and women’s studies, which seek to go beyond classical formulations.
The entry of women into film industries and cultures goes beyond statistics and figures. From the plurality of individual and collective experiences, new perspectives are opening up from which to think about film and society, where the contribution of women means looking in directions that scholarship has not always acknowledged. Thus, the essay “Three ways to dine well” by Alison Peirse, explores the meanings of food in horror films, questions notions of classical authorship and Eurocentric visions, giving visibility to the work of professionals from different trades and disparate geographical origins. Similarly, aiming to revisit and reshape the contribution of women within creative fields that go beyond directing, Carmen Ciller and Irene Azuaga, in their work “L’unique. Maria Casarès. 1922-2022,” bring to the fore the figure of this Galician actress, exiled in France after the civil war, to reflect on the filmic character of the free woman she composed on the big screen. Next, the piece “Deconstructing the Construction: The Female Images in Chinese Detective Films, 2010-2020” by Ying-Hsiu Chou also gives voice to actresses in order to question tensions of gender and race in the female representations of detective films produced in China. Genre is also the space from which to rewrite life narratives, as Rob Stone explores in the trilogy of video essays “Philosophical Frameworks and Feminist Praxes in Lady Bird” (Gerwig, 2017), where questions of female self-determination and mother-daughter relations (tropes uncommon in coming-of-age cinema) are explored, This dossier closes with “From one shore to the other”, where Valentín Vía Vázquez uses the liminal space of the shore to explore the connections between filmmakers from different geographies on both sides of the Atlantic, breaking away with national conceptualizations of (women’s) cinema.
In the Video Essays section, Maria Hoffman compares the Hollywood film The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965) with the little-known original German film, The Trapp Family (Wolfgang Liebeneier, 1956) in her essay “Maria’s Maria”. Secondly, “Audiovisual Consumption in the 21st Century: Critical Factors in Scientific Dissemination” by Almudena Muñoz Gallego and Suelayne Cris M. de Sousa, questions the scarcity of science-related contents in contemporary audiovisual programming. Finally, Víctor Santos López explores the material dimension of cinema with his work “The Matter that Composes Your Memory. An Essay on Intimacy, Media and Remembrance,” specifically in the context of the Super-8 film format. While the first and third works are fundamentally experimental pieces, the second audiovisual essay is a detailed study of a pressing problem in our current mediascape.
Finally, the section From the Archive, curated by Elena Oroz (UC3M) focuses on The Emerging Woman (1974), directed by the Women’s Film Project, a collective organised by Helena Solberg, to examine how this compilation documentary – a practice that has received less attention than found footage – contains important doses of reflexivity linked to a feminist intervention on the archive and a historiographical interrogation from a gender perspective.
With this diverse issue, the team of Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays thanks all the video essayists who have placed their trust in this academic project during these first four years, as well as those who assiduously view the published video essays and collaborate in the review process.
Monograph "Women in Contemporary Film and TV"
Three Ways to Dine Well
Alison Peirse (University of Leeds) – 21:15
This essay film explores horror’s relationship to eating, in over seventy horror films made by women, from the 1920s–2020s.
Horror Film, Women’s Film History, Feminist Film Historiography, Female Monsters, Women Filmmakers
L’unique. Maria Casarès. 1922-2022
Carmen Ciller & Irene Azuaga (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)– 04:54
The disturbing presence of the actress Maria Casarès in Orphèe (Jean Cocteau, 1950) brings us back to the gaze of the director who, from one shot to the next, captures her image for eternity. The verses by Lope de Vega, “This is love, whoever tried it knows it”, recorded by the actress, reinforce her image and her radical commitment to life, also linked to the soundtrack that bears her name “Maria Casarès”, which was recovered from the film Camus, the great love of his life.
Key words: Actress, frame, gaze, shot, wardrobe
Deconstructing the Construction: The Female Images in Chinese Detective Films, 2010-2020
Ying-Hsiu Chou (University of Washington) – 18:16
This audiovisual essay explores women in the most popular, influential Chinese detective films from 2010 to 2020. Centering critical feminist praxis to make an ethnographic inquiry into Chinese cinema through videographic criticism, it not only closely analyzes cinematic works across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other Sinophone areas but also looks into their production and reception among Sinophone communities.
Keywords: Chinese cinema, detective genre, production, reception, representation, women.
Philosophical Frameworks and Feminist Praxes in Lady Bird (Gerwig, 2017)
Rob Stone (University of Birmingham) – 15:46
This trilogy of video essays analyses the film Lady Bird (2017), written and directed by Greta Gerwig, to clarify its philosophical meanings and feminist practices. Finding Jacques Derrida, Immanuel Kant and Luce Irigaray present, the resulting trilogy demonstrates how the participation of women in film can promote the subversion and realignment of existing norms and genre conventions.
Keywords: Gerwig, Feminism, Lady Bird, Philosophy, Self-determination
From One Shore to the Other
Valentín Vía Vázquez (Universidad Rovira i Virgili) – 07:00
This audiovisual essay addresses the relationship between two spaces: the land and the sea. The land is separated by the sea, just in the same way the analyzed Ibero-American filmmakers are separated. The ocean unites them in a sea full of images where all these different relations come together on the shore. Apparently, it is a simple space: the shore.
Keywords: Documentary, Ibero-American, iconography, oceanic feeling, shore
From the Archive
Following the monograph, this section shows a part of the compilation film The Emerging Woman (1974), produced by the Women's Film Project (WFP). After its release, it enjoyed extraordinary visibility and distribution: it was selected by the United States Bicentennial Commission (1976), 400 copies were sold to American schools, universities and libraries and became the subject of study in various courses on gender.
Section curated by Elena Oroz (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Maria Hofmann, (University of Minnesota) – 13:00
Maria’s Marias uses a multiscreen format to highlight the intercultural similarities and differences between the widely popular The Sound of Music (Wise, 1965) and its almost unknown German original, Die Trapp-Familie (Liebeneier, 1956). For many non-Austrians, the pure mother figure at the story’s core, Maria von Trapp, is the epitome of Austrian culture. In direct comparison, the representation of Maria and her transition from one prison to the next (from the abbey to the mansion and, finally, marriage) becomes apparent. This video essay aims to highlight the intertextual relationship between the Marias (including the original real person) and challenges their portrayal as the pure woman devoid of desires outside of marriage and motherhood.
Keywords: Austria, femininity, intertextuality, post-war cinema
Audiovisual Consumption in the 21st Century: Critical Factors in Scientific Dissemination
Almudena Muñoz Gallego (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) & Suelayne Cris M. de Sousa (Universidad Federal de Río Grande del Norte) – 09:16
In this audiovisual essay, we are exploring factors that make science a difficult subject in the media; more specifically, why audiovisual scientific dissemination does not have a relevant space in the media and, finally, what is the commitment of scientists, journalists, and content creators to this communication problem.
Keywords: Audiovisual, communication, discourse, dissemination, science.
The Matter that Composes Your Memory. An Essay on Intimacy, Media and Remembrance
Víctor Santos López (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) – Duración: 04:26
The matter that composes your memory shows a material intervention on the film stock which activates memory, time and intimacy.
Keywords: structural film, home movies, matter, memory.
In the Media Studies Department at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, we have successfully implemented the realization of video essays within different courses in our curriculum. We have encouraged students to submit their works for publication in the journal. The audiovisual essays included in the section “Student Showcase” are the result of this process. In this issue, we are featuring works produced in professor Farshad Zahedi’s “Middle East and Asian Cinemas” course. Specifically, the first video essay analyzes Hayao Miyazaki’s trajectory, and the second one approaches Bollywood cinema.
Carmen Galán Muñoz, Gabriel Obando Silva y Sandra Prieto Jiménez (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) – 13:02
Tecmerin. Revista de Ensayos Audiovisuales
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