Crash Cinema: Representation in Film is a collection of essays that emerged from Crash Cinema an annual symposium that is an integral part of the Bradford Film Festival at the National Media Museum (UK). The symposium was created by academics and curators who share the common aim of promoting the importance of film both as an academic study and for critical public appreciation. Films can be enjoyed as entertainment, they can educate and inform and they can excite and disturb. Films are powerful pieces of culture. The films that we now 'consume' do more than simply amuse or horrify. Cinema not only thrills us but also communicates to us about ourselves and in the twentieth and twenty-first century moving images have become the dominant form of this communication. Bombarded by images, we inhabit a media intensive world in which every aspect of life is pervaded by visual signs. In these circumstances it becomes increasingly significant to engage with the politics of representation. Through this vital process we can acknowledge that all cultural forms, whether in high art or the mass media, are in the broadest sense political. We can also appreciate that it is a complex agenda of interests that shapes specific ideological meanings. Fulsomely equipped, we can apply this essential tool to the exciting task of decoding the political, social and cultural meanings articulated through the making, promotion and consumption of film. This book aims to offer an arena for the analysis of these representations. Representations cannot depict the 'truth' and the essays in this book do not claim to search for the 'truth'. We ask whose 'truth' is being represented, how is it represented and why is it represented like that? We also ask how do representations tell us something about the culture within which they are created.Yet the essays in this volume are not 'stuck' in the representational concerns of the past and try instead to uncover the power of cinema to shock and surprise whether that be through visceral impact, subversive content, experiments with identity or the exploration of the taboo. Representation, as defined by the eleven essays in this book, is a fluid and dynamic approach to the study of film. The study of film, to which this book contributes some unique case studies, is as popular as ever and has withstood growing challenge from the new media such as CG Animations, the internet and computer, console and online gaming. This is because the pleasure of film is still the most humanistic and because the sophistication of the representations offered by cinematic expression remain ever more complex and pleasurable to decipher. This book can therefore be read by any student, academic, writer or filmmaker hooked on these delights.
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