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Shout Outs! M.A. Thesis Submissions

In addition to presenting at conferences and publishing short papers, several MHSoC students are working on theses. This year, Kristen Alfaro, Julie Ravary-Pilon, and Tim Smith submitted their MA theses. You can read their abstracts here. And you can borrow a copy of the full thesis from the Grad Library!

Kristen Alfaro – “Moving Cinema: Experimental Distribution and the Development of Anthology Film Archives”

This thesis examines the emergence of Anthology Film Archives (hereinafter Anthology), an independent and experimental film institution in New York City. Within experimental film history, Anthology is predominantly recognized for the creation of Essential Cinema, a canon of film art. The canon has become the institution’s most famous endeavor and it has contributed to Anthology’s predominant scholarly identity as alternatively a heroic or authoritarian institution. In this thesis, I explore the institution’s conceptualization in the 1960s, its emergence in 1970, and the first five years of its development, in order to demonstrate how Anthology’s history is more complicated than the dominant narrative implies. I argue that Anthology grew out of a particular set of social and artistic dynamics that shaped experimental film distribution and therefore, its exhibition. In the first half of this thesis, I examine the shared spaces and distribution networks of art and film during the 1960s and 1970s in New York City. I argue that the shifts in experimental film circulation – in part prompted by changes in experimental art distribution – play an important role in the development of Anthology Film Archives. Secondly, I examine the broader corpus of Anthology’s early endeavors, including Anthology’s first theater, Invisible Cinema, the Film Study Center, and its collaborations with other institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the American Film Institute, and New York University, among others. This thesis offers a glimpse into aspects of Anthology’s history that extend beyond the lasting legacy of Essential Cinema.

Julie Ravary-Pilon – “Pallier aux Oublis: Une étude du cinéma des femmes argentines à travers sa pionniére, María Luisa Bemberg et son enfant chérie, Lucrecia Martel”

L’idée à la base de ce mémoire est de dresser un portrait de l’importante place des femmes cinéastes dans la production cinématographique argentine. Nous présenterons une lecture du cinéma argentin à travers deux de ses réalisatrices : María Luisa Bemberg et Lucrecia Martel. Elles furent sélectionnées pour leur importante influence dans la tradition du cinéma argentin : Bemberg est la première femme à réaliser un long métrage de fiction en Argentine, tandis que Martel est l’une des cinéastes les plus populaires et acclamés de sa génération en Argentine, tout comme à l’échelle internationale. Afin de mieux contextualiser leurs œuvres, nous offrirons une analyse de la situation sociopolitique, culturelle et historique ainsi que des conditions de productions cinématographiques en Argentine, de la dictature militaire (1976-1983) jusqu’à la fin de la crise économique du nouveau millénium (1998-2002). En adoptant l’approche théorique des « gender studies » ainsi qu’en offrant une étude de leur époque respective de création (les années 1980 pour Bemberg et les années 2000 pour Martel), nous serons en mesure de cerner l’apport indispensable de ces deux femmes dans ce cinéma national, mais aussi dans l’imaginaire collectif argentin.

Tim Smith – “The Male Body, Male Homosocial Desire and the Comedic Device Penis in Contemporary Hollywood Comedies”

This thesis will show how the Comedic Device Penis (CDP), an original concept to this work, elicits laughter and shock from an audience but remains strictly within the confines of a conservative, heteronormative sphere. This thesis expands on previous scholarly work showing the need to critically engage with the images of men and the male body. Chapter One deals with Sedgwick’s theory of Male Homosocial Desire (MHD), from her book Between Men (1985), which is corroborated and/or exemplified in Hollywood comedies. The analysis shows how MHD is illustrated very well in Hollywood comedies, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Judd Apatow 2005), and Old School (Todd Phillips 2003), among others. Chapter Two extrapolates on theories from Lehman’s book Running Scared (1993), and a subsequent article “Crying Over the Melodramatic Penis”(2001) and the new concept of the CDP is conceived. Through a detailed textual analysis focusing on the aesthetics of film, this thesis will show how the representation of the penis is not eroticized and any positive references to homosexuality are avoided. The six Hollywood comedies that exemplify this new concept are: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Jake Kasdan 2007), Observe and Report (Jody Hill 2009), The Hangover (Todd Phillips 2009), Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg 2008), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Kevin Smith 2008), and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Nicholas Stoller 2008).
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