Public Lecture: Professor Michael Renov

The School of Media, Film and Journalism, with thanks to Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, presents:

Documenting the Arctic Sublime
Public Lecture: Professor Michael Renov

50ed382e_9279_f61b_00c2b28c28e40bad_originalThis talk examines how the notion of the sublime has come to be so strongly associated with human encounters with the far north while offering a framework – historical and conceptual – for understanding the documentative urge that has arisen from and is tied up with those encounters. How, this talk asks, does the mixture of awe, rapture and terror associated with the sublime of 19th century European romanticism and the writings of Burke, Kant, Wordsworth and Coleridge, come to have a particular connection to the experience and representation of the far north? It maps out this notion of the arctic sublime as a quite specific context for and instance of what I have elsewhere called “documentary desire,” that unquenchable drive to record and meditate on the sounds and images of the world. To that end I sketch out the role of artists, photographers, filmmakers and videographers as agents of an Arctic-based documentative urge culminating in a brief look at one film, Skagafjörður (2002-2004), produced by American experimental filmmaker Peter Hutton.

Michael Renov is the Haskell Wexler Chair in Documentary and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs in the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is the author of Hollywood’s Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible Evidence, The SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs. In 1993, Renov co-founded Visible Evidence, a series of international and highly interdisciplinary documentary studies conferences and is one of three general editors for the Visible Evidence book series at the University of Minnesota Press.

Professor Michael Renov is an ACJC Dr Jan Randa Visiting Scholar.
He is at Monash to participate in Rethinking Holocaust Paradigms – Dr Jan Randa Aftermath Conference 2016

Date/Time: Mon 19 Sep / 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

LocationH238, Building H, Caulfield Campus


Introducing the FSS Film Society!

The brand-new and exciting Film and Screen Studies (FSS) Film Society is hosting a series of film screenings where people from FSS can share the movies they love, love to hate or just want to have a really good chat about. Every movie screened will be selected by someone from FSS and will be followed by a discussion about the film. This screening series provides the perfect opportunity for people from FSS to share their research and favourites films with like-minded colleagues, inspire great discussions with intelligent people and (as a bonus) eat lots of popcorn.images-3

The first screening will be in the Caulfield Theatrette  (B537) from 4pm on Thursday September 22nd. Dr Janice Loreck will be introducing Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2014) and will be hosting a Q&A session following the film. 

We are looking for Film and Screen Studies people to nominate movies for the screening series to run in 2017. To request a film screening or to register your interest in being part of the film society, email, or

We look forward to seeing you there!


The future of film studies in the age of media studies

Independent scholar Dr Noel King (from left), University of Melbourne’s Professor Angela Ndalianis, University of New South Wales’ Professor George Kouvaros, Monash University’s Associate Professor Therese Davis, New York University’s Dana Polan and Associate Professor Constantine Verevis.

Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism ran a workshop, The future of Film Studies in the age of Media Studies, at the Monash Media Centre at Caulfield on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.


Prof. Dana Polan (New York University),

Assoc. Prof. Therese Davis (Monash University)

Dr. Noel King (Independent scholar)

Prof. George Kouvaros (University of New South Wales)

Prof. Angela Ndalianis (University of Melbourne)

Conveners and chairpersons:

Assoc. Prof. Constantine Verevis (Monash University)

Assoc. Prof. Deane Williams (Monash University)

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When we – Noel King, Constantine Verevis and Deane Williams – put together our ARC-funded, Australian Film Theory and Criticism (1975–1985) project to document the development of film studies in Australia, we were also thinking about how events of that period informed and shaped the current state of film studies in Australia (and elsewhere).

Now, with the discipline of media studies ascendant and digital media formats proliferating across various platforms, it seems timely to bring together a select group of academics – ­Dana Polan, Therese Davis, Noel King, George Kouvaros and Angela Ndalianis – to ask if and how film studies can remain a distinct discipline, with its own unique history and methods, or whether film studies is nowadays simply one of several areas in a larger field of media studies.

Among the questions raised for discussion at this workshop are:

1. What place does film studies have in contemporary media studies?

2. How can scholars bridge the cinematic emphasis of their research and training with the amorphous structure of both contemporary media and media studies?

3. Is there a regional specificity to film studies? Does Australia’s proximity to Asia influence film studies here? What of our relationship to the Northern hemisphere?

4. How have recent shifts in on-line publishing affected the discipline? Has writing about film – and the methods of film criticism – changed as a result?

5. How has globalisation, and the circulation of films and other materials affected the discipline? How have on-line delivery methods, web chatter, Facebook, etc. impacted viewers and audiences of world cinema?

Each panelist will prepare a short (10-minute) response, which will be followed by open discussion with invited participants.

Participants include: R. Butler (Monash), S. Bye (ACMI), R. Caputo (La Trobe), A. Danks (RMIT), J. Davey (Monash), M. Dutto (Monash), T. Dwyer (Monash), D. Fairfax (Yale), ), L. French (RMIT), S. Gaunson (RMIT), O. Khoo (Monash), R. Letizi (Monash), R. Lobato (Swinburne), W. Monaghan (Monash), S. Rios (Monash), G. Russell (Monash), B. Smaill (Monash), K. Stevens (Monash), Mia Treacey (Federation), S. Troon (Monash HDR), J. Vassilieva (Monash), K. Warren (Monash).


New books examine violent women and queer girls on screen

Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism has recently celebrated the launch of two exciting new titles in film and screen studies: Dr Janice Loreck’s Violent Women in Contemporary Cinema  and Dr Whitney Monaghan’s Queer Girls, Temporality and Screen Media: Not ‘Just a Phase’.

Dr Loreck and Dr Monaghan are assistant lecturers at Monash and graduates of the Film, Media and Communications HDR program.

Associate Professor Belinda Smaill and Dr Claire Perkins launched the books, which have both been published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016.


book cover

Violent Women in Contemporary Cinema explores the exciting challenge posed by women who kill through six films released over the last 20 years: Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009), Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001), Baise-moi (Coralie Thinh Thi and Virginie Despentes, 2000), Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994), Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003) and The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008).

Exploring how these films play with cultural ideas of ‘typical’ feminine behaviour and the challenges presented to these by homicidal women, this daring work takes up a unique focus on the depiction of violent women in contemporary art and critically-distinguished films.

Exploring the appeal that violent women hold for spectators within this viewing context, Loreck opens up the discussion of how cinema responds to the cultural construction of the violent woman as a conundrum and enigma.


book cover

Queer Girls, Temporality and Screen Media: Not ‘Just a Phase’
offers a key intervention into the growing scholarship and increasing visibility of queer characters in films and television series around the globe.

Taking up the queer girl as a represented and rhetorical figure within film, television and video, this book analyses the terms of the queer girl’s newfound visibility.

Monaghan’s clear critical perspective argues for a temporal logic that underpins many representations of queer girlhood.

Examining an archive of screen texts that includes teen television series, teenpics, art-house, queer and independent cinemas as well as new forms of digital video, she expands current discourse on both queer representation and girls’ studies by looking at sexuality through themes of temporality.

The first full-length study of its kind, this book draws on concepts of boredom, nostalgia and transience to offer a new perspective on queer representation in contemporary screen media.




Getting to know … Tessa Dwyer

Dr Tessa Dwyer.
Dr Tessa Dwyer.

Dr Tess Dwyer joins the Film and Screen Studies academic team at Monash University, based at Caulfield campus.

Dr Dwyer teaches long-form television, which is a new offering in the department.

Getting to know …

Name:  Tessa Dwyer

Title: Dr

Faculty/Division: Arts/School of Media, Film and Journalism

Dept: Film and Screen Studies

Campus: Caulfield

How long have you worked at Monash?: Six weeks on the job!

Where did you work prior to starting at the University?: I worked as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne and I did some research work at Swinburne University, in the Swinburne Institute for Social Research.

What do you like best about your role? I’m teaching a really fun course on long-form television at the moment that is brand new, so I’ve been able to shape it how I wish.

I’m really enjoying teaching TV and hearing from students about a subject that they are really informed about and engaging with regularly in their everyday lives.

Why did you choose your current career path? My career path hasn’t been exactly straight, although once I decided to return to postgraduate study after a break of about five years, I really committed to it, and my current career developed from there.

Prior to commencing my PhD, I had worked in the Arts for a stint, with two years as director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography. It was under-funded, challenging and fun work, but I really missed doing in-depth research and academic writing.

First job? Dimmeys deparment stores in Richmond – a cutural institution! When I first started there, just out of school, it still had a flying fox set-up that linked to all the cash registers across the store, so cash could be shot up to a central upstairs office.

Worst job? Shift work at Media Monitors. I had to stay up all night cutting and copying news articles to deliver to slick city offices the next day! Often I had to do the delivery myself. It was unpleasant in many ways.

What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve? I am looking at ways in which people around the globe are engaging with screen media via networking platforms such as video sharing sties and social media.

These behaviours are starting to migrate from online spaces to more traditional venues like cinemas that, in some parts of the world (such as China and Japan), are holding special screenings where audience texting is encouraged and displayed on the cinema screen for all to view.

I am also researching the role that language and accent play in the ways that screen media travels, is consumed and produced.

What is your favourite place in the world and why? So hard to chose… but one of my local, favourite places is Mt Buffalo. I’ve been going there for family holidays since I was very little and I love it. Its incredibly beautiful with amazing, other-worldly rock formations and clean, crisp air that’s invigorating,

What is your favourite place to eat and why? I love eating and nice places to in which to do so. Japanese bars like Izakaya Den in the city are great, as are places like Supermaxi in North Fitzroy that are relaxed and welcoming.


What is the best piece of advice you have received? Dance instead of going to the gym.

Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know? I’m not a bad roller-skater.


Shweta Kishore appointed lecturer in Vietnam

Shweta Kishore.
Shweta Kishore.

Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism’s HDR candidate and sessional lecturer, Shweta Kishore, has taken up the position of lecturer at the Centre for Communication and Design, RMIT Vietnam in Saigon South, Vietnam.

Shweta submitted her PhD thesis on July 12, 2016, and flew to Saigon five days later to commence her new appointment.

The School of Media, Film and Journalism wishes Shweta the very best for her new position.


A Reflection on Unhip Cinema of the 1960s

A public lecture with New York University Cinema Studies expert, Professor Dana Polan

v2 Dana Polan FlyerIllustrated with a variety of clips, The Square Screen: A Reflection on Unhip Cinema of the 1960s suggests how mainstream films of the American Sixties complicate easy divisions of the period into establishment cinema and a hip, cutting-edge alternative.


Dana Polan.
Dana Polan.

Dana Polan is a Professor of Cinema Studies at NYU and author of 8 books in film and media studies, including Power and Paranoia: History, Narrative, and the American Cinema, 1940-1950, Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film, 1915-1935, and Julia Child’s the French Chef.


Event details:

Date: Thursday 11 August

Time: 6.30pm – 8pm

Location: Monash Conference Centre

Level 7, 30 Collins Street, Melbourne

RSVP by 8th August


Chinese Caribbean Cinema and the Logic of Reeling

Film and Screen Studies, School of Media, Film and Journalism and Asian Cultural and Media Studies Research Cluster, Monash Asia Institute present …

Sean Metzger.
Associate Professor Sean Metzger.

A public seminar with Associate Professor Sean Metzger, Chinese Caribbean Cinema and the Logic of Reeling.

Where: Theatrette B.5.37, Monash Media Lab, Level 5, Building B, Caulfield campus, Monash University on July 1 from 11am to 12.30pm.

This talk examines documentary films featuring Chinese Caribbean connections in regard to which  Associate Professor Metzger elaborates the logic of reeling; this word conjures the cinematic apparatus even as the verb “to reel” suggests both fishing for something (or, more generally, winding something) and staggering as a result of some sort of stimuli.

The visible evidence of the Chinese in the Atlantic highlighted by the documentary genre also raises questions about the affective responses such materials engender.

Associate Professor Metzger explores a wide range of documentaries that visualize particular attachments to places.

His discussion includes films that center on Cuba (work by Rigoberto Lopez), Trinidad (works by Richard Fung and Natalie Wei), Guyana and Martinique (work by Jil Servant), and Jamaica (work by Jeanette Kong) in order to think through the articulation of island and regional imaginaries that inscribe, contest, or otherwise complicate Chinese flows of capital and people.

Ultimately, Associate Professor Metzger is interested in probing an emergent Chinese Atlantic seascape (that is a constellation of images and performative strategies that might collectively begin to figure a Chinese Atlantic aesthetic and epistemology).

He investigates both the lateral connections among the places and populations depicted in the film as well as the cinematic expression of particular localities. In other words, I interrogate Caribbean image-making both “on-location” and in terms of larger discourses of globalization.

Enquiries to: Olivia Khoo

Sean Metzger is an Associate Professor in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is the author of Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance, Race (Indiana U Press, 2014).

His co-edited volumes include: Embodying Asian/American Sexualities (Lexington, 2009); Futures of Chinese Cinema: Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures (Intellect, 2009); and Awkward Stages: Plays about Growing Up Gay (Cambria, 2015).

He has also co-edited special issues of Cultural Dynamics (2009) and Third Text (2014).


Tribute to FSS alumnus Adrian Slattery

Adrian Slattery  1985-2016

Film and Screen Studies staff, and the Monash community, are saddened to hear of the death of alumnus, Adrian Slattery, on May 14, 2016. 

Adrian is remembered as a kind and talented student who graduated with a BA and BA (Hons), majoring in film and television studies (FTVS).

Adrian was awarded the distinction of best FTVS Honours thesis (2011) for a dissertation titled Systematically Stoned: Genre Theory and the Stoner Film.

One examiner described Adrian’s dissertation as “a superb thesis, very entertainingly written and an absolute joy to read … a really excellent and eminently publishable work”.

FSS staff extend their condolences to Adrian’s family and friends.

Read more here


The Other Paris: Public Seminar with Luc Sante

In his only Melbourne engagement, acclaimed author Luc Sante talks about the why and how of his recent book, The Other Paris (2016), including a reading from a chapter titled “Zone.”

Sante will present in Building B at Monash’s Caulfield campus in Room B5.37 on Thursday, May 26 from 6.30pm to 8pm.

The presentation includes a Q&A with Associate Professor Deane Williams of the School of Media, Film and Journalism, and audience discussion time.  

Luc Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium. His books include The Other ParisLow LifeEvidence, The Factory of Facts, and Kill All Your Darlings.

He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships.

He has contributed to The New York Review of Books since 1981, and has written for many other magazines. He is the visiting professor of writing and the history of photography at Bard College and lives in Ulster County, New York.

Event information here.

The Other Paris v2


Verevis invited to present at Berlin conference

Associate Professor Con Verevis.
Associate Professor Con Verevis.

Monash’s School of Media, Film and Journalism academic Associate Professor Constantine Verevis has been invited as a speaker for the Seriality, Seriality, Seriality conference in June.

Associate Professor Verevis is currently a Fellow at the Research Unit in Popular Seriality (Free University, Berlin).

His presentation in Berlin will mark the end of the unit’s six years of DFG-funded research projects.

Conference profile of Associate Professor Constantine Verevis:

Constantine Verevis is Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. He is author of Film Remakes (Edinburgh UP, 2006), co-author of Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Vol 1: Critical Positions (Intellect, 2013) and co-editor of Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel (SUNY P, 2010), After Taste: Cultural Value and the Moving Image (Routledge, 2011), Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches (Palgrave Macmillan 2012),Film Remakes, Adaptations and Fan Productions: Remake/Remodel (Palgrave Macmillan,2012), B Is For Bad Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics and Cultural Value (SUNY P, 2014) and US Independent Film After 1989: Possible Films (Edinburgh UP 2015).

Click here for conference details of Seriality, Seriality, Seriality,  and click here for the conference poster.



Monash University launches innovative media lab

The Monash Media Lab’s news room for journalism students.

A state-of-the-art media lab will be officially launched at Monash University’s Caulfield campus on April 7.

Waleed Aly.
The Project’s presenter Waleed Aly.

Waleed Aly, well-known journalist and Monash University academic, will launch the lab, which is part of the Faculty of Arts’ School of Media, Film and Journalism.

The Monash Media Lab will provide a unique environment that will transform the way students learn, giving them the skills to navigate a new, high-tech world of media and journalism.

Waleed’s opening talk will highlight what can be achieved when ideas and media professionalism come together.

The lunchtime launch will be followed by a mini film festival in the Media Lab’s theatrette and an evening panel chaired by the ABC’s Virginia Trioli.

The evening panel, featuring industry professionals and former students, will focus on the rapidly changing media environment and what it means for future careers.

The session will explore the role of technology and media literacy in educating students with the skills they need to be industry ready when they graduate.


The Monash Media Lab’s newsroom and conference room.

Many scholars working in the School of Media, Film and Journalism are journalists and film-makers with significant industry experience.

As part of the launch, a mini film festival will highlight recent works by Dr Romaine Moreton and Associate Professor Tony Moore.

Dr Moreton’s critically acclaimed short films The Farm (2009) and The Oysterman (2013) will be shown as well as Assoc Prof Moore’s feature length documentary Death or Liberty.

The documentary is based on the book co-written by Moore and was broadcast in Ireland in 2015 and on ABC television in early 2016.

Click here for picture gallery of the Monash Media Lab

The media lab features equipment and facilities that will transform the way journalism, film and media are taught and learnt. The facilities include:

• Two radio/sound production studios with an adjacent control-room/audio production and teaching suite;

• An open-plan newsroom;

• Broadcast TV and video production studio announcer/guest desk for six people with mobile tripod mounted cameras, overhead lighting grid and full sound and vision cabling and graphics screen;

• A control room/vision mixing production and teaching suite; and

• Two laboratories, each with 24 student computer terminals, e-lecterns, interactive screens and optical fibre cabling for synchronous and asynchronous blended teaching and learning activities.

The media lab will also provide the means to demonstrate and develop MFJ’s industry engagement and research impact in the community through radio, TV, and online current affairs journalism, documentaries and short films.

For more information contact Assoc Professor Mia Lindgren or Monash Media & Communications + 61 3 9903 4840 or

Newsroom Panorama
Students are enjoying state-of-the-art facilities in the new Monash Media Lab.


Hitting the target, Hou Hsiao-hsien style

Associate Professor Adrian Martin.
Associate Professor Adrian Martin.

A public lecture, Hitting the Target, Hou Hsiao-hsien Style, will be held on March 15 from 5pm to 7pm at Monash University in the Menzies Building S704.

Abstract: Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin

Hou Hsiao-hsien has developed a unique and increasingly flexible style of directing. From his adoption of a long take/wide angle/static frame approach in the 1980s, he began to explore, in the 1990s and beyond, what he has called a “freer” approach based on the interplay of narrational objectivity, character subjectivity, and his own shifting ‘regard’ on a scene as it unfolds.

This approach has reached a new peak in his most recent film The Assassin, which mixes elliptical ‘action’ scenes and a complex historical plot.

Over the past year, we have been involved in making six different audiovisual essays on Hou’s work: three for a soon-to-be-released DVD box set of his earliest films (Belgian Cinematek); two for an international conference on Hou in 2015; and a new one prepared for this Monash presentation, on The Assassin.

Reflecting on the variety of Hou’s work and the various means of audiovisual analysis that we have employed (image/sound montage, voice-over, frame masking, repetition, etc), we aim to deepen the critical description and appreciation of Hou’s intricate interweaving of stylistic choices, at the levels of both its craft and its art.


Cristina Álvarez López is a critic and audiovisual artist who lives in Vilassar de Mar. She is the Co-Founder of the Spanish online film journal Transit: Cine y otros desvíos. Her critical writing and audiovisual essays have also appeared in Fandor Keyframe, MUBI Notebook, Shangri-la, LOLA, Frames, Contrapicado, Lumière, Blogs & Docs, La Fuga, De Filmkrant and books on Chantal Akerman, Bong Joon-ho, Philippe Garrel and Paul Schrader.

Adrian Martin is Adjunct Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University (Australia), and lives in Vilassar de Mar as a freelance writer and audiovisual artist. He is the author of seven books, the most recent being Mise en scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art (Palgrave). His regular columns appear in Caiman and De Filmkrant. He is Co-Editor of LOLA journal, and of the book Movie Mutations (BFI, 2003).



Masterclass: AV essays as creative research

Associate Professor Adrian Martin.
Associate Professor Adrian Martin.

The Film, Media and Communications Program will conduct a Masterclass on audiovisual essays as creative research on Tuesday, March 1 at 2pm to 4pm in the theatrette, Building B, Room B537 on Caulfield campus.

In a recent text for the online academic journal Frames, we suggested that “one of the great advantages and joys of audiovisual essay work” – meaning, for us, the intensive re-editing and recombination of images and sounds from preexisting film, TV and digital works – “is that theoretical constructs no longer pre-exist and overdetermine what we find (which is the sorry condition of a great deal of academic screen study).

On the contrary, it’s our belief that audiovisual essays can take their makers in two directions simultaneously: both deeper into the screen/media text that they discover anew, and beyond it, into the necessary challenge of inventing a new, hybrid work of their own.”

In this presentation, we will take the example of several of our own most recent audiovisual essays, as well as examples from others (including students we have taught), to investigate the various paths and possibilities of using this form as creative research: discovering and generating new knowledge through the ‘poetics’ of making.

We will touch on the importance of a multi-modal approach – which draws upon and utilises all available tools, from traditional academic writing through to digital montage – and also relocate the importance of cinephilia, as personal passion/ motivation/obsession in the context of the digital age, in research, study and practice.

– Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin.

Cristina Álvarez López is a critic and audiovisual artist who lives in Vilassar de Mar. She is the Co-Founder of the Spanish online film journal Transit: Cine y otros desvíos.  H
er critical writing and audiovisual essays have also appeared in Fandor Keyframe, MUBI Notebook, Shangri-la, LOLA, Frames, Contrapicado, Lumière, Blogs & Docs, La Fuga, De Filmkrant and books on Chantal Akerman, Bong Joon-ho, Philippe Garrel and Paul Schrader.

Adrian Martin is Adjunct Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University (Australia), and lives in Vilassar de Mar as a freelance writer and audiovisual artist. He is the author of seven books, the most recent being Mise en scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art (Palgrave). His regular columns appear in Caiman and De Filmkrant. He is CoEditor of LOLA journal, and of the book Movie Mutations (BFI, 2003)

Please RSVP on February 24:



David Lynch and David Bowie: Outside / Twin Peaks

David Lynch’s Lost Highway

In 2016, we await the miracle of a new Twin Peaks season from David Lynch, and we mourn the passing of David Bowie. Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin will soon present their work on these two Davids at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

There are many intersections between the prodigious works of these ‘twin peaks’, the two Davids, and doubtless various influences crossing back and forth, over the years, in both directions. In beginning to tease out the deep network that connects the Twin Peaks saga (in all its extensions) with Bowie’s abruptly terminated, ambitious Outside multi-album project of 1995, Álvarez López & Martin ask not so much ‘who influenced who?’, but, rather, speculate on the unusual multi-media worlds created by these gifted artists, and the affinities that tie them together. From notions of the televisual ‘open narrative’ to recurring figures of child/teen murder and detection, from complex, material atmospherics to the goading of endless fan interpretations, they plunge, using audiovisual means, into the ever-widening spiral that draws together Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Bowie’s Outside.

Cristina Álvarez López is a critic, teacher and audiovisual artist who lives in Vilassar de Mar. She is Co-Founder of the Spanish online film journal Transit: Cine y otros desvíos. Her critical writing and audiovisual essays have also appeared in Fandor Keyframe, MUBI Notebook, Shangri-la, LOLA, Frames, Contrapicado, Lumière, Blogs & Docs, La Fuga, De Filmkrant and books on Chantal Akerman, Bong Joon-ho, Philippe Garrel and Paul Schrader.

Adrian Martin is Adjunct Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University (Australia), and lives in Vilassar de Mar as a freelance writer and audiovisual artist. He is the author of seven books, the most recent being Mise en scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art (Palgrave). His regular columns appear in Caiman and De Filmkrant. He is Co-Editor of LOLA journal, and of the book Movie Mutations (BFI, 2003).

8 March 2016, 6.30pm ACMI Studio 1


Meeting the Rebel Master of the World Cinema

IMG_2539 (1)
Peter Watkins and Moynul Alam Photo Credit: Vida Urbonavicius (Watkins’ wife)

Recently, Monash University Doctoral Researcher Moynul Alam (Moynul Shaon) had the rare opportunity to meet Peter Watkins, the rebel master of the World Cinema in central France. It has been a positive outcome of Moynul’s years of persuasion to meet the master.

Peter Watkins is well known as a vigorous critic of capitalism and commercial cinema. In his lifelong struggle against what he understands to be a repressive global politics and media, Watkins himself directed masterpieces such as The War Game (1965), Punishment Park (1971), Edvard Munch (1976), La Commune (2000) all of which played a significant role in constructing Documentary Cinema as a critical artistic apparatus. The Late critic Raymond Durgnat once asserted that Peter Watkins is as important as John Grierson in the development of Documentary as an individual genre. Interestingly, Australia, Melbourne and Monash University have all ad significant historical attachments to the making of his 14 hour long masterpiece The Journey (1983-86) which involved participants from different parts of the world.

Moynul Alam has been researching Peter Watkins cinema for the last half a decade or so at Monash University. He first completed his Post Graduate Diploma on Watkins’ films in 2010. And in 2011 commenced his PhD on Watkins’ latest production ‘La Commune’ (Topic: Revolution in Peter Watkins’ ‘La Commune’) under the supervision of Associate Professors Deane Williams, Adrian Martin and Dr Julia Vassilieva. ‘La Commune’ portrays -the vital but short- lived working class revolutionary event of Paris Commune in the year of 1871 and it’s subsequent bloody repression – in an innovative cinematic form and process.

As per Moynul’s view, “from the beginning of this scholarly journey at Monash University, Peter reassures me via his audiovisual work and written ideas that Cinema has the appropriate power to facilitate progressive change within the complex arena of politics … this long- sought crucial meeting solidifies further this very assertion and delivers me the required artistic strength and inspiration to continue the struggle that Peter and his contemporaries started in the middle of last century within the cinematic field for a just, equal and humane universe. I believe scholarship must have a progressive political goal and thanks to Monash University’s global infrastructure and endless intellectual support I will continue my research in an international setting and also to meet one of the most important Cineastes of our epoch.”

It is a great privilege for the Film, Media & Communication program, Monash University to share this important news with other researchers.


The Cinema of Sean Penn to launch in St Kilda

9780231176255Monash University’s Associate Professor  Deane Williams, an expert in film and screen studies, will celebrate the launch of his new book, The Cinema of Sean Penn: In and Out of Place at Readings, Acland St, St Kilda on February 25 at 6pm.

Academic Dr Noel King will launch the book, which has been published by Wallflower, London and New York 2016.

Associate Professor Williams is editor of the journal Studies in Documentary Film and co-author – with Noel King and Con Verevis – of Australian Film Theory and Criticism.

Book synopsis

Although best known as an Academy Award winning actor, Sean Penn’s directorial works The Indian Runner (1991), The Crossing Guard (1995), The Pledge (2001), and Into the Wild (2007), consist of some of the most interesting and singular films made in the United States over the past twenty years.

Each of Penn’s directorial films and much of the cinema he has acted in are set in an immediate past in which a “stalled” time and a restricted locale apply narrative constraints.

At the same time, these films all feature a sophisticated web of intertextual relations, involving actors, songs, books, films, and directors, and the political lineage to which Penn belongs, which reveal the deep cultural structures that concern each particular film.

Associate Professor Dean Williams.
Associate Professor Dean Williams.



To read more about The Cinema of Sean Penn, click here.


PhD Scholarships in Australian Film, Television and Media History

Three full-time, funded, scholarships available for PhD candidates to undertake research into Utilitarian Filmmaking in Australia 1945 – 1980, as part of a four-year Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project. This ground-breaking project will discover, document, analyse and compile a lasting archive of Utilitarian Filmmaking in Australia. ‘Utilitarian’ describes client-sponsored, instructional and governmental filmmaking existing outside the conventional theatrical contexts by which cinema is usually defined. The project will engage with major cultural institutions to generate conferences, books, articles, exhibitions and interactive archives as well as the three PhD dissertations. The successful applicants will become part of a leading research team across three Australian universities (University of Canberra, Murdoch University, Monash University,) and have the opportunity to work with experienced senior supervisors in traditional research modes as well as cutting edge, practice-led research outputs.

Expressions of interest are sought from outstanding candidates for PhD study in a wide range of fields including, but not limited to: screen studies, archival studies, cultural studies, communication studies, Australian history.


Public Lecture: Lesley Stern – How Does (the) Cinema Feel About (the) Animal?

On Thursday November 12th,  renowned film scholar Professor Lesley Stern presented a public lecture at the Monash Conference Centre. Sponsored by the Film and Screen Studies Program, the School of Media, Film and Journalism and the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Professor Stern presented an incredibly smart and beautifully written paper, theorising what the cinema feels about the animal and in turn what those affects tell us about the cinema more broadly. Her talk was attended by people from cinema and cultural studies programs across Melbourne, and it generated a much needed discussion about the relationship between the burgeoning field of animal studies and film studies.

In the cinema all things are potentially equal: objects, people, animals. All things come into being—come alive, acquire performative powers—through cinematic magic. But even though the cinema is not exclusively human it has surely been permeated by the spirit of human exceptionalism. Bad blood enshrouds the inception of cinema, and its legacy is a haunting. When we watch movies today we cannot avoid the presence of ghosts: slaughtered elephants, galloping horses, sacrificial dogs, carnivorous bears—all hover and materialize and enter our dreams. Much recent work in cinema studies has turned attention to the place of the animal in the cinema and this paper is enabled by such work. However, rather than thinking through generalities my attention is caught, today, by moments of sensuous intensity, by fragments and scenes from various films in which animals and people and places are brought into strangely affective alliance. Reaching from Buster Keaton’s Go West to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tropical Malady, the paper will speculate on how films (via modes of mimeticism, empathetic projection, animistic gestures) might affect and change the way we feel and identify across differences.

Professor Lesley Stern is the author of Dead and Alive: The Body as Cinematic Thing, The Smoking Book and The Scorsese Connection, and co-editor of Falling For You: Essays on Cinema and Performance. Her work moves between a number of disciplinary locations and spans both theory and production: although her reputation was established in the fields of film theory and history, she is also known for her fictocritical writing. Her work has been highly influential in the areas of film, performance, photography, cultural history, postcolonialism, feminism and gardening/ecocriticism.


Getting to know … Therese Davis

Associate Professor Therese Davis
Associate Professor Therese Davis

Monash University film lecturer Associate Professor Therese Davis is co-writing a book about Australian Indigenous filmmaking with Dr Romaine Moreton, who is a philosopher and Indigenous filmmaker.

Getting to know …

Name: Therese Davis

Title: Associate Professor

Faculty/Division: Arts

Department: School of Media, Film and Journalism

Campus: Caulfield

How long have you worked at Monash? Eight years.


Where did you work prior to starting at the University? University of Newcastle and before that in community radio stations in Sydney.

What do you like best about your role? Working in a department with great colleagues and the students we teach.

Why did you choose your current career path? In my first year at university, I saw a Godard film, Tout Va Bien, and it made me decide to drop the course I was doing and enrol in a Communications/Media degree so I could study film. I took a slight detour into the world of community radio but later came back to my first love.

First job? My first academic job was teaching radio documentary.

Worst job? As a “waitress” in Martin Place in Sydney – one day the owner made me scrub the entire kitchen including the ovens and then sacked me.

What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve? I’m co-writing a book about Australian Indigenous filmmaking with Dr Romaine Moreton. Romaine is a philospher and Indigenous filmmaker.

In writing this book we’ve interviewed filmmakers, watched loads of films and spent many hours developing a new way to think about the significnace of this work in Australia and internationally. I also research and write about women filmmakers.

What is your favourite place in the world and why? Prato, Italy. I first visited Prato when I was teaching a unit on film at the Monash campus there. It’s in Tuscany, and it’s the most beautiful place to be in summer.

It’s not as a big or famous as Florence, but I like that – it’s a place where you get to experience everyday life in Italy and the food is unbelievably good!

What is your favourite place to eat and why? Cicciolina in St Kilda – because the food is excellent (Italian), the staff are amazingly friendly and it has a great little “back bar” with old-style booths.