Volume 11, Issue 2 / February 2007
Spaces and Places
In this issue
Letters from the Rest of the World: the book Dreams of a Nation, On Palestinian Cinema
Palestinian Identity, History, and Film
Filmed Cities: Eden or Purgatory?
From Los Angeles to Athens
Strange Encounters at the Cinema Corral
Leone Meets Bresson
Ang Lee’s Cowboys
Fallen from Brokeback’s Paradise Lost
Eisenstein: ‘Intellectual Montage’, Poststructuralism, and Ideology
Ideas on Montage
Partly by design, partly by good fortune, this issue’s five essays are interconnected in varying ways. The primary connective link among the five essays is the notion of space and place (imaginary, real, physical, mental, geographical and geopolitical). Daniel Garrett’s opening review essay is of a book which attempts to give meaning, shape, history and identity to a unique form of ‘National’ cinema: a cinema, Palestinian, in which, at present, nationhood exists in the history, memory, and minds of its people. Betty Kaklamanidou’s essay, “Filmed Cities,” tackles a more conventional sense of place, urban spaces, and looks at how the image of Los Angeles and Athens has been incorporated into the meaning and aesthetics of The Fight Club and Collateral (for Los Angeles) and Delivery (for Athens). In the fold of Irini Stamatopoulos’ analysis of the literary influences on Brokeback Mountain, “Ang Lee’s Cowboys,” is the representation of the titular landmark as a form of ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Demonic Eden’ for the two central characters, who experience a life altering moment while working as ‘cowboys’ in this Wyoming mountainside. Even though life takes these two characters to ‘lesser’ pastures, the symbolic ‘space’ of Brokeback Mountain remains indelibly in their hearts and memories. Editor Donato Totaro’s comparative essay between Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket and the opening of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West links most obviously to “Ang Lee’s Cowboys” by way of the western; however, the treatment of space is a major component of the comparative analysis, along with the montage principles employed by Bresson and Leone. Montage forms the connective to the final essay by Jason Lindop, “Eisenstein: ‘Intellectual Montage’, Poststructuralism, and Ideology,” which in its own way deals with the ‘mental space’ in which the semiotic aspects of Eisenstein’s intellectual montage theories often take shape.