This article articulates several problems with seeing a film from the eyes of a child as the protagonist, in how most films normally portray their younger characters. Lopate quickly summarizes the plots of two films he sees as distinct in their treatment of child protagonists, and then elaborates on the problems of representation that child-focused films offer. His primary argument is that the narrative generally stays too close to one character’s viewpoint, giving the impression that the director shares every sentiment of the child, and often glibly gives the children the moral upper hand. His second criticism is that children are just vehicles for the adults’ own fantasies of “purity, spontaneity, victimhood, and indomitability,” preventing the audience from seeing the situation objectively. Finally, he mentions how camera focus on one character results in a narrow-minded, claustrophobic portrayal of the outside world rather than the expansive, objective film should, in theory, present. He also mentions briefly how children are commonly grouped as simple emblems of joy or martyrdom.
Lopate brings up many interesting points, several of which are relevant to Vigo’s film, and several of which Vigo actively goes against. For example, Vigo willfully and consciously gives his children the moral upper hand, because for him, the children represent a pointed opposition to the adult concept and possession of power, one that they can battle with whimsy, playfulness, imagination, creativity, and dream. However, Lopate’s second argument that children are simply vehicles for the adults’ own fantasies of “spontaneity and indomitability” is a very valid point which challenges my thesis quite excellently. If an adult such as Vigo is still the one writing and directing the film, is the film not just a portrayal of adult fantasies, rather than children’s? Even Agee agreed that the children in the film were not a comprehensive view of all childhood. Perhaps the adult behind the camera is using the children as a vanguard for his own conception of a revolution? Vigo, however, has a noted personal and emotional stake in the filmmaking. As an anti-authoritarian, he believes that the school system can only be opposed by those who are subject to its prison-hold on their imagination, the children, of whom he identifies with most, because of their symbol as oppressed which he empathizes with both personally and politically.
full citation: Phillip Lopate. "When the 'I' In a Film Is a Child's." New York Times (16 Mar. 1997): 13. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt Library, Philadelphia, PA. 2 Dec. 2008 .
Singer, Irving. "Jean Renoir." Three Philosophical Filmmakers: Hitchcock, Welles, Renoir. Palatino: MIT Press, 2004: 146-219.
Irving Singer holds the belief that each of Renoir's films led him on a path to discovery of both the culture around him and himself. He believes that Renoir's character of Octave in Rules of the Game is actually a self-representation: that Renoir desired to play himself, someone that "lost contact with the public" (149). Octave is also shown as slightly inept and mismanaged, revealing Renoir's attempt to level and connect with the public. Singer includes a comment made by Renoir stating that he's only ever "shot one film," maintaining the belief that Renoir strived to provide an accurate representation of French society, even when this meant he must display his views in contrast with those of the general public (147). Singer remarks, however, that Renoir so wished to connect with his audience, with his society, that he became almost desperate to achieve contact and that this desperation led to Renoir's near destruction of Rules of the Game when he continually cut out pieces of the film that may have offended audiences. Singer believes that, in the years leading up to WWII, Renoir's main goal in his filmmaking was to explore how people relate to each other, to nature, and to technology. Singer also expresses the belief that Renoir drew alot from Hinduism, explaining the filmmaker's desire to contrast the differences between his character's spiritual and material lives, a central theme in Rules of the Game.
Singer's chapter on Renoir provides a very interesting take on the filmmaker and his works. It is clear, especially after reading this work, that Jean Renoir was on a quest for truth, using film as a tool to capture society in its most realistic form. Rules of the Game was greatly influenced by the fact that Renoir wished to accurately depict French society though he, of course, was somewhat blinded by his own middle-class beliefs and tendencies. For instance, Renoir criticizes the bourgeios and the servants equally, as he, himself, stood in the middle ground, exempt from criticism. Renoir, however, is nowhere near self-praising; instead, the film functions somewhat as an autobiography with Renoir playing the role of Octave, his on-screen representation. Both lament that they have lost contact with the public. This comment is shown to be almost comically, though paradoxically, true: Renoir had never expected such a negative response from his audience. Up until this point, Renoir's works were, for the most part, celebrated by French society. The point at which he became public about his concerns of losing emotional and intellectual touch with the people, his work invokes a disastrous result and Renoir physically disconnects from his people by fleeing the country. This work also provides a very interesting look at another of Renoir's influences: religion, describing how the beliefs of Hinduism propelled him on his quest for turth amidst spiritual and material confusion.
Aviva Briefel. "Monster Pains: Masochism, Menstruation, and Identification in the Horror Film. " Film Quarterly 58.3 (2005): 16-27. Alumni - Research Library. ProQuest. 1 Dec. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/>
In Monster Pains: Masochism, Menstruation, and Identification in the Horror Film, Briefel discusses the role of masochism and menstruation in the audience’s identification with the film’s monster in classic horror films, such as Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931). He analyzes the way different monsters appeal to the audience. He proposes a theory of the gendering of the pain felt by the monster and how it can elicit the audience’s identification with it or sympathy for it. He posits that the symbolically menstrual elements of Dracula would have drawn audiences to the film.
Rickels, Laurence A. The Vampire Lectures. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
In Chapter 11 of The Vampire Lectures, Rickels offers a psychoanalytic interpretation of Browning’s Dracula (1931). He analyzes Lugosi’s on-screen presence and association with the theater and details what Rickels asserts is the representation of psychoanalysis in the film by Van Helsing. For example, in reference to Van Helsing’s staying behind at the end while John and Mina ascend the staircase in the final scene, Rickels compares Van Helsing to “the underworld of psychoanalysis” which must be left behind for Mina to be cured.
Rickels focuses on the repressed desire of women for the exotic outsider. In the film this is represented by Mina’s relationship with the Lugosi’s Count Dracula of Transylvania, with his unique foreign accent, suave manner, and commanding gaze. Rickels asserts that the essence of the film is about whatever it takes for a woman to prefer “someone more normal, like John,” as Mina tells Lucy she does in the film. This aspect of the film appealed to the repressed desires of female audiences.
Freeland, Cynthia A. The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000.
In Chapter 4 of The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror, Freeland offers a feminist interpretation of Stoker’s novel, Dracula, and three of its film incarnations, including Browning’s Dracula (1931). She focuses on the sexual transformation of Dracula and the changing nature of his evil through his incarnations in these works.
This section of the book is ordered chronologically and charters the evolution of Dracula through Stoker’s original novel Dracula (1897), Browning’s Dracula (1931), Badham’s Dracula (1979), and Coppola’s Dracula (1992). In the novel, as in Nosferatu, Dracula is unremittingly evil, symbolized by his ugly, disgusting appearance, hairy palms and nostrils, and bad breath. He is an abomination of nature, a thing that causes revulsion and disgust. Freeland asserts that, for this Dracula, “the threat of gender transgression lurks amid scenes of erotic abnormality and rape.” She compares this Dracula to Browning’s, noting Dracula’s transformation into a “sex icon with continental flair.” Perhaps this sort of Dracula was more appealing to contemporary audiences. The nature of this Dracula’s evil was primarily that of a sexual threat and male predator, not that of the intrinsically foul. Freeland goes on to analyze more recent films, in which Dracula is increasingly portrayed in a sympathetic light and with a greater depth of character.
Holte, James Craig, ed. The Fantastic Vampire: Studies in the Children of the Night : Selected Essays from the Eighteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
In Chapter 5, Ploeg discusses the evolution of Dracula in film, literature, and stage since Stoker’s novel. He specifically focuses on the extent to which Stoker’s Dracula is “Gothic.” He perceives the common labeling of Stoker’s Dracula as being Gothic as breeding misunderstanding as to the nature of Dracula. Ploeg asserts that Stoker’s Dracula is not a Gothic novel, but that increasingly recent incarnations of Dracula have become increasingly Gothic (or neo-Gothic). He cites Stoker’s nephew, who claims that “Dracula succeeds partly because it is not Gothic; to the Victorian it must have seemed darlingly modern.” Ploeg believes that Stoker’s Dracula has far more in “common with the developing genre of the crime story.”
Ploeg concedes that Dracula is full of Gothic conventions, but asserts that Stoker does not rely on the Gothic belief in the supernatural to structure the novel. The ultimate “debunking” of Dracula in the novel separates it from the film version. Ploeg argues that in the novel, Dracula is presented more as an accident of nature than as a supernatural entity. He cites Van Helsing’s explanation of Dracula as a unique phenomenon that arises “doubtless, [from] something magnetic or electric in some of these combinations of occult forces which work for physical life in strange way.” The film Dracula is purely supernatural. Unlike earlier films, such as The Cat and the Canary, Dracula (1931) offers no rational or logical explanation is for the horrors that occur. This lack of explanation was new to American audiences, and likely contributed to the success of the film. The palatability of the film’s more charismatic version of Dracula also played a part in this success. Ploeg recounts the embellishments to the vampire since the Stoker’s original vampire: “They fly by their own powers… they have incredible mental powers of control, telepathy, telekinesis… they are immortal… they battle with demons and alien gods… they are great seducers… they have culture, discernment, and style.” The latter two are introduced by Lugosi’s Dracula. Ploeg cites these as examples of the evolution of Dracula away from the scientific rationalization and mystery elements in Stoker’s novel and towards the realm of the Gothic supernatural.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Ed. Maud Ellmann. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
The preface details the history of the Bram Stoker’s original novel Dracula (1897). It also discusses numerous critical interpretations of Dracula.
To truly understand the film Dracula (1931), it is necessary to understand Bram Stoker’s original novel Dracula. The preface to this edition details Stoker’s early life and his works up to the creation of the novel, which it refers to as “one of the most successful pot-boilers ever written.” For example, the preface discusses Stoker’s relationship to Henry Irving, who is often credited as being Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula, and how it mirrors the relationship between Harker and Dracula. Other influences in Dracula are discussed as well, such as the legend of Vlad the Impaler, the novel Carmilla, and folkloric vampires. Dracula is compared to contemporary literature such as War of the Worlds, which was published at almost the same time and also describes the invasion of a superior foe that feeds on human blood.
The preface also discusses numerous critical interpretations of Dracula. Dracula is read as an allegory of empire, of monopoly capital, of female emancipation, and of closeted homosexuality. He represents society’s anxieties about invasion, class conflict, and sexual perversion. Dracula is interpreted as a figure for venereal disease, menstruation, the feudal aristocracy, and the proletariat. The preface discusses Stoker’s ironic publication of The Censorship of Fiction (1908), which was a tirade against the evils of sexually suggestive novels. The author suggests that considering “some of the perversely erotic passages in Dracula, [The Censorship of Fiction] may seem hypocritical, but it suggests that Stoker himself was unaware of the innuendoes of his book, as indeed were his first reviewers, who said nothing of the sexual component of the novel. Like [Lucy], virgin in life and whore in death, Stoker was prude and pornographer at once.” Such was not the case for the makers of the film Dracula, which was advertised as “the story of the strangest passion the world has ever known,” and in which the use of Dracula’s vampirism as a cover for sexual desire is fully intended.
Holte, James Craig. Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997.
In Chapter 2 of Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations, Holte discusses the early adaptations of Stoker’s Dracula, namely the film Nosferatu (1922), the Dracula stage play, and the film Dracula (1931), placing them in their historical contexts. Holte discusses Murnau’s Nosferatu and compares it to its source material. He details how Nosferatu greatly simplifies Stoker’s Dracula:
Major characters are deleted, other characters, most significantly that of the vampire, are made one-dimensional, and entire scenes, including Stoker's effective chase of the vampire by the fearless band of vampire hunters across Europe and the confrontation at Castle Dracula, are cut. In addition, the Van Helsing character, who is a major force in the novel and can be seen as Dracula's "good" double, is reduced to a brief appearance; he has been replaced by The Book of the Vampire. Similarly, the character of Lucy Westenra is gone, as are almost all references to technology, colonialism, and religion, which provided the rich backround in Stoker's novel. As a result, much of the complexity of Stoker's novel is lost.
Holte recognizes the stylistic elements of German Expressionism in Nosferatu that make it unique and notes that film criticism generally favors Nosferatu over Browning’s Dracula. Similarly, Holte compares Browning’s Dracula to the source material. While retaining more of the characters and plot elements of Stoker’s novel than Nosferatu, Browning’s Dracula also omits some characters, such as Quincy Morris and Arthur Holmwood. The adaptation also relies heavily on the stage play, especially in the latter half.
While Nosferatu and Dracula are both adaptations of Stoker’s Dracula, they offer diametrically opposing readings of the novel, both from the viewpoints of style and of substance. Holte notes the disparity between the German Expressionist style of the traditional Hollywood style of Browning’s Dracula. While he compares both films individually to their source material, he also compares them to one another. For example, Nosferatu entirely omits the sequence where Dracula’s vampirellas bear down on his visitor, whereas it includes a horrifying ship scene absent in Browning’s Dracula. Additionally, the films’ portrayals of Dracula differ greatly; Nosferatu’s is a hideously ugly plague-bearer while Browning’s is a suave figure in evening clothes. Holte notes that “Browning’s Dracula succeeds because of its emphasis on individual conflict and sexual attraction, two essential elements played down by Murnau in his adaptation of Dracula.”
Phillips, Kendall R. Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005.
In Chapter 1 of Projected Fears: Horror films and American Culture, Phillips discusses the cultural impact of Browning’s Dracula (1931).
Phillips briefly discusses the history of the creation of Browning’s Dracula. He moves on to note the numerous technical gaffes and otherwise glaring flaws in the film. For example, contemporary reviewers criticized the film’s fairly static second and third acts, the unintentionally jumpy, disconnected narrative, and the awkward mix of visuals and exposition. However, despite a poor forecast from Universal and generally unfavorable contemporary reviews, Browning’s Dracula was a huge commercial success.
For Phillips, this makes Dracula even more interesting. He inquires, “given the various problems of Dracula – poor effects, staginess, narrative inconsistencies, and so on – the film’s enormous popularity is a bit of a puzzle. Why would audiences flock to the film?”
Phillip argues that Dracula resonated with contemporary audiences’ racial anxieties towards European immigrants and with their fears of the balkanization of America. He reasons that the fantasy of Dracula also offered an escape from the harsh economic reality of the Great Depression. Dracula resonated with cultural anxieties about progressive, scientific approaches to life and the struggle between science and religion. Similarly, the film addressed audiences’ confusion over gender and sexual norms in an age directly following the 1920s’ moral experimentation and “flappers.”
Phillips also attributes part of the success of Dracula to its violation of the expectations that audiences brought to the film. Unlike previous horror films, which tended to explain away their macabre elements at the end, such as in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and London after Midnight (1927), Dracula offers no convenient explanation for its supernatural elements.
Call#: Storage: From RECORD page, use Place Request tab STORAGE PN1995.9.P6 M33
Call#: Storage: From RECORD page, use Place Request tab STORAGE PN1995.9.P6 M33
Call#: Van Pelt Library--4 East--Temporary Location Annenberg PN1995.9.P6 M33
Call#: Van Pelt Library--4 East--Temporary Location Annenberg PN1995.9.P6 M33
Farber, Stephen, and Estelle Changas. "The Graduate." Film Quarterly 21 (1968): 37-41. JSTOR. UPenn, Philadelphia. 8 Apr. 2008. Keyword: charles webb graduate.
In this film review of The Graduate, Farber and Changas offer criticism that I have never seen before. Not only do they offer different opinions of the film and its characters, but they also misinterpret symbols. This makes the review interesting to read but not very helpful to someone who hasn't seen the movie. The authors note that after 1960s counterculture films with "teenyboppers and acid heads, The Graduate...tells it like it is." Although Benjamin Braddock is a champion debater, they notice that throughout the movie he has trouble forming simple sentences when talking to adults. The "phoniness of suburban society" permeates the film. The intuitive soundtrack leads us to think that the film contains the same insight as Simon and Garfunkel, but Benjamin cannot even think the same way. They see him as "stupid and awkward, not sensitive and alienated." They also see comedy in the scene where he sees Mrs. Robinson naked as opposed to the serious introspection that these shots give the viewer. To them Ben is insensitive to Mrs. Robinson, and a very shallow character. As far as symbolism goes, the colors black and white are more of a "coloring-book morality play" instead of symbols of the cold values of one society and rebellious values of the other. This use of colors is "a cheap dramatic trick" to discern the two generations. Another interesting criticism of the authors is that they find Nichols inexperienced in filmmaking. The lack of a love story and absence of sexual scenes is a failure in their eyes.
One criticism that actually manifests one of Nichols' arguments is that the young characters in the movie act too maturely. The critics state that the film "is an insult to young people who aren't so goody-goody." The truth is that the young people are only mature and "goody-goody" because their parents' generation makes them this way. Their value system makes the youth appear and act this way although they are dying to do things differently. Another bad criticism is how they find the scuba diving scene too "self-conscious." The truth is that the critics don't have the intelligence to understand or mention the significance of drowning, unlike Schuth. Nichols certainly knew what he was doing, even though Farber and Changas think otherwise.
Call#: Van Pelt Library AP2 .N6763
Call#: Van Pelt Library -
Call#: Dental Library Stacks DENTAL AP2 .N6763
Call#: Dental Library Stacks DENTAL -
This review is a good argument against Animal House being the turning point. Gilliatt does immediately recognize the film's attack on the institution of college, especially the extent to which it does so in a lowbrow fashion. Education takes a brutal beating from which it seems it could never recover. Unlike Rich, however, her analysis is framed in the fact that she does not believe this depiction to be reality. She yearns for viewers to remember that it does not show any of the moral hesitation she assumes all experienced in college. However, her point here can be easily rebutted. It does not matter that Animal House does not accurately portray real college life. The idea that college is a place for academic pursuit by the pure at heart is no longer portrayed in film, even if that may be what it is in reality. Despite all of her criticism, Gilliatt senses the drastic changes Animal House brought to the depiction of higher learning.
Rogers V Koons. No. 234, 388 and 235. United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. 2 Apr. 1992.
This is the 2nd Circuit's appellate ruling on Rogers v Koons. The introduction states that the "key" to the suit "brought by a plaintiff photographer against a defendant sculptor and the gallery representing him, is defendants' borrowing of plaintiff's expression of a typical American scene — a smiling husband and wife holding a litter of charming puppies." It calls the copying deliberate goes on to give the background facts of the case. It first describes Rogers' work and reputation, followed by an account of how the "Puppies" photograph was created. It then does the same for Koons and the creation of "String of Puppies." It goes back over the "prior proceedings," giving the history of litigation between the two parties and affirms the district court initial ruling.
Moving on to the discussion section, the court eleaborates on the ownership of copyright in an original work of art, which Rogers has, discusses unauthorized copying by defendant, which Koons is held guilty of, and defines the fair use doctrine. It then enumerates the four criteria required to satisfactorily pass as fair use. Under the Purpose and Character of Use criterion, the court says, "Relevant to this issue is Koons' conduct, especially his action in tearing the copyright mark off of a Rogers notecard prior to sending it to the Italian artisans. This action suggests bad faith in defendant's use of plaintiff's work, and militates against a finding of fair use." Essentially, they are saying that he was underhanded about his method of copying. As far as Parody or Satire as Fair Use is concerned, the court says "that even given that "String of Puppies" is a satirical critique of our materialistic society, it is difficult to discern any parody of the photograph "Puppies" itself." They argue that Koons was motivated more by profit than satire. The court also holds that Koons copied far more of Puppies than necessary to convey his point. "Koons went well beyond the factual subject matter of the photograph to incorporate the very expression of the work created by Rogers," says the court. Lastly, the court orders that the effect of the use on the market value of the original has been harmed, and "there is simply nothing in the record to support a view that Koons produced "String of Puppies" for anything other than sale as high-priced art. Hence, the likelihood of future harm to Rogers' photograph is presumed, and plaintiff's market for his work has been prejudiced."
Blanch V Koons. No. 05-6433-Cv. UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT. 26 Oct. 2006.
This is the judgment on the appeal for the Koons v Blanch case with the opinion of Judge Sack. The appeals court rules that Koons’ work was indeed a fair use. Koons was commissioned by the Deutsche Bank and Guggenheim Foundation to create a painting, “Niagra” in which he used Blanch’s “Silk Sandals by Gucci” ad. The court gives background on Koons’ life and work, saying that he is “known for incorporating into his artwork objects and images taken from popular media and consumer advertising, a practice that has been referred to as "neo-Pop art" or (perhaps unfortunately in a legal context) "appropriation art."” It describes both Koons’ painting and Blanch’s photograph and Koons’ use of the photograph in his painting. The two artists’ economic gains and losses are then detailed: Niagra has been appraised at $1 million, while Blanch was paid $750 for her work.
In meeting the criteria for fair use, the court finds Koons’ work transformative, saying it “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message." The court ignores the effect of commercial use because Blanch admits that Koons’ work did nothing to detract from any financial gains Silk Sandals brought her. It does, they say, meet the requirement for parody: “Koons's use of a slick fashion photograph enables him to satirize life as it appears when seen through the prism of slick fashion photography.” Bad faith is cited as the last criteria of fair use. Here the ruling holds that Koons only exhibited bad faith in not first asking Blanch’s permission to use her photo. What I wonder, though, is whether than would have made any difference to her. The other major reason that Koons’ work is said to be acceptable is that he uses only a portion of Blanch’s image, and places that portion with other elements that are not part of her photo, thereby substantially transforming it. In conclusion, the court rules "promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts," U.S. Const., art. I, § 8, cl. 8, would be better served by allowing Koons's use of "Silk Sandals" than by preventing it.”
"Koons Affirmed (Don't Blanch)." The Patry Copyright Blog. 26 Oct. 2006. 28 Nov. 2006 <http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2006/10/koons-affirmed-dont-blanch.html>.
This article is a guide to the Koons v Blanch ruling and takes us through the courts' decisions regarding the four criteria that constitute fair use step by step. Fundementally, he says, the case boils down to two points, that "Koons' use was highly transformative and the copyright owner suffered no harm to her market; the rest is window dressing." He summarizes the background of the case (Blanch paid $750 for original ad in Allure magazine, Koons incorperates exact image in his work "Niagra" in order to comment on the way popular images appeal to our most basic instincts and desires.)
Party thinks the majority's distinction between parody and satire is helpful and shows that "Koons had a genuine creative rationale for borrowing Blanch's image, rather than merely using it merely 'to get attention or to avoid the drudgery in working something fresh up.'" He also brings up the issue of bad faith, which has not been mentioned in the two other cases. I think this comes out of Blanch's claims that its pratically a matter of etiquette, she's been quoted as saying something along the lines of "if the artist is still alive, you should at least ask for permission to use their work." I am also interested in the comment posted in reply to this blog in which the author writes, "A major factor in the difference between Rogers and Blanch appears to be that the court found the use of the feet from the Blanch photograph transformative because they were recast in a different position and that the important background elements (man’s lap, aircraft cabin) were not copied. In other words, the Blanch photograph was used more as a reference than as the foundation for the painting."
Greenberg, Lynne A. "THE ART OF APPROPRIATION: PUPPIES, PIRACY, AND POST-MODERNISM." Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 11 (1992): 1.
Greenberg calls appropriation art a “wide-reaching trend which has arisen as a response to post-modernist criticism.” She says its reaction to the formalism and aesthetics of a media-saturated society. Most importantly, echoing Koons claims about the school of thought he belongs to, Greenberg says, “Aggressively and self-consciously derivative in its ideology, post-modernist art critiques the very attributes that copyright law uses to define art: namely, artistic creativity and originality.”
In the introduction, she says the article will focus on the challenges postmodernist art poses on copyright law and argues, like the Columbia Law Review editorial that visual art requires a different set of rules than other copyrightable entities. In the section of her piece about the infringement vulnerability of photography, and “its relationship to the originality requirement” she uses Rogers v. Koons to illustrate her point that we need a different way to interpret copyright as it interferes with the objectives of postmodern art. In her analysis of the case, Greenberg maintains that the court’s perspective is skewed because Koons’ work is so expensive. She says that although the court claims that Koons’ work has an economic impact on Rogers, “It seems farfetched to imagine that Koons's "high-priced" kitsch, sold in the elite world of the art gallery, could even tangentially affect the market for either Rogers's commissioned photographs or Rogers's postcards, sold predominantly in gift shops”. Basically, she concludes, the court ruled fairly according to current laws, this case shows that these doctrines are in need of revision in order to make allowances for appropriation art. “The recent decision of Rogers v. Koons simultaneously underscores the precarious position occupied by artists practicing radical appropriation strategies, and accentuates the consequences of so rigorously enforcing the limited monopoly rights granted by copyright law,” she explains.
Tyson, Kimball. "The Illegal Art Exhibit: Art or Exploitation? a Look At the Fair Use Doctrine in Relation to Corporate Degenerate Art." Southern Methodist University School of Law Computer Law Review & Technology Review 9 (2005): 425.
This article responds to the "Illegal Art" exhibit that toured the country and features Forsythe's work. The author (who repeatedly spells the artist's name "Forsyth") wants to assess whether or not Food Chain Barbie is fair use--even though the court has already ruled it is. She contends the artists are not sincere in their parodies, and thinks they are actually using art to serve their personal "greedy" objectives. After an abbreviated history of art, Tyson says these works are "an ancillary to Pop Art of the 1960's that take corporate images and use them in their works to convey a parodic message not only of the image itself but of the larger societal scheme of which it reflects." She also summarizes the Copyright Act and defines Fair Use. Instead of actually analyzing what the court said about Forsythe's work, she merely repeats it, and it seems, decides to agree with their ruling. One of the few useful things about this article is her comparison of Forsythe and Koons:
"In the Rogers case, there is no doubt that Koons' use of the original work would compromise Rogers' market of the "Puppies" and "would prejudice the market for the sale of "Puppies" notecards or any other derivative uses he might plan." 247 However, in Forsyth's situation, his photographs seem to have little to no effect on the commercial gain of Mattel based on their copyrighted Barbie Doll. Photographs of Barbie in a blender or in a casserole dish are not really going to have a significant chilling effect on Mattel's market; [this] weighs in his favor."
Tyson allows that the Barbie series is a fair use, but remains suspicious of Forsythe's motives. She writes, "The idea of using art and distorting already existing images to convey a message, to illustrate the absurdity of our times, seems very vulnerable to exploitation. In Mattel Inc. v. Forsyth, the artist had very distinct aims in his creation. Call this a derivative work, call it exploitation. Regardless, perhaps these artists used the well-known corporate images as a way to make money. Just as Volkswagen manipulated the automobile market and somehow made consumers feel as though they were really stepping out of conformity in buying a VW, so these artists, under the pretense of satire and art as corporate parody, had an objective no different than that of the corporations and consumer crazed society which they mocked: personal gain motivated by greed, selfishness, and envy." To me, her argument falls flat given that Forsythe did not profit hugely from the works. Art is his profession, his means of making a living, and to charge $400 for a work that he spent time creating does not seem greedy or unreasonable. She contradicts herself, but this piece is valuable to my research because it takes a position I haven't yet encountered and deals with the concept of artists' "worthiness" so to speak and the merit of their intentions.
Zando-Dennis, Julie. "NOT PLAYING AROUND: THE CHILLING POWER OF THE FEDERAL TRADEMARK DILUTION ACT OF 1995." Cardozo Women's Law Journal 11 (2005): 599.
This article is about the Dilution Act of 1995, which is relevant to the Forsythe case because Mattel claimed that his use of their trademark could both blur and tarnish it, meaning, confuse consumers or damage the product’s image/reputation. Zando-Dennis explains that works of satire and parody are most likely to be accused of causing dilution. Mattel has a history of filing suit as soon as they get wind of any unauthorized use of the Barbie name or image, says Zando-Dennis, who points to the website www.trademarks.org (devoted to criticizing Mattel) as evidence of the loathing their lawsuits have engendered amoung advocates of free speech. She delves further into the definitions of blurring and tarnishing, giving useful and clear examples how they can be both beneficial and harmful.
The second section of her article is dedicated to “Subversive Activities that Parody Mattel’s Barbie Doll,” including Mark Napier, an internet artist who produced digitally altered images of Barbie and the band Aqua, famous for their song "Barbie Girl" that all resulted in litigation. "Another artist, Paul Hansen, sold 150 modified Barbies as art works, on which he made a profit of around $ 2,000. Mattel sued for damages of $ 1.2 billion," she writes illustrating how rediculous Mattel makes itself appear. Forsythe's case is discussed in the section "Current Trends, Successes and Remaining Challenges." Zando-Dennis quotes Forsythe's lawyer as saying "This case is about insisting that a corporate giant can't stop an artist from using one of their products to create art and to comment on our society. If we were to allow that to happen, the content of our culture would be greatly reduced and emptied. We cannot allow Mattel to do that." Clearly, Zando-Dennis vigorusly agrees with the ruling in Forsythe's favor. She admires the way the case has "significantly liberalized trademark law" and hopes other circuits (the 8th in particular) will follow the 9th's lead.
Mattel Inc V Walking Mountain Productions. No. 01-56695, 01-57193. US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 6 Mar. 2003.
Filed December 29, 2003. Opinion by Judge Pregerson. This appellate ruling confirms the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Tom Forsythe and dismisses Mattel’s claims that he infringed on their copyrights. Because this article contains a “background” section that details the previous trial extensively, I am going to use this case instead of the first one. It is more comprehensive and recent. The document begins by describing the nature of Forsythe’s work: “a series of 78 photos entitled ‘Food Chain Barbie’ in which he depicted Barbie in various absurd and often sexualized positions…For example, ‘Fondue a la Barbie’ depicts Barbie heads in a fondue pot.’” It talks about the series’ limited market success which amounted to an income of $3,659, half of which came from purchases made by Mattel investigators. The court notes his self-given title of “Artsurdist” and concedes that his work attempts to communicate a “serious message with an element of humor” that intends to critique and ridicule Barbie. It then goes over the various motions and actions that lead up to this particular appeal before reaching the “discussion” section.
This is really the heart of the case, where Pregerson explains why “Food Chain Barbie” is considered fair use. He confirms the three reasons cited by the district court which are that 1) his use was a parody criticizing Barbie 2) he only copied what was necessary for this purpose 3) his photos couldn’t affect the market demand for Mattel’s products. He argues that Forsythe’s work is transformative because it “presents the viewer with a different set of associations and a different context” than Mattel does. Forsythe did not display the entire Barbie in his pictures, and only showed what he needed to in order to convey his message. “We do not require that parodic works to take the absolute minimum amount of the copyrighted work possible,” Pregerson says. And although the works were intended to be sold commercially, the fact that they were unsuccessful shows that he’s not taking any business from Mattel because they appeal to different markets; Mattel to children’s toys, and Forsythe to adult-oriented artistic photographs.
Forsythe, Tom. "Food Chain Barbie & the Fight for Free Speech." National Coalition Against Censorship. 10 Aug. 2004. 27 Nov. 2006 <www.ncac.org/art/20040810~USA~Tom_Forsythe_Food_Chain_Barbie.cfm>.
Forsythe posted this statement on August 10, 2004 as a follow-up to the District Court’s June 24th ruling ordering Mattel to pay his legal fees, which amounted to $2.1 million over the course of five years of litigation, from 1999-2004. In this piece, he maintains that Mattel’s only tactical strategy was to overwhelm him with the cost of his defense and essentially bankrupt him into submission. He calls his case precedent-setting and says it should will discourage corporations from filing suit against artists who criticize their product and will encourage lawyers to work for other artists that get sued because they are more likely to be compensated, like Forsythe’s counsel was.
The rest of the statement details the Mattel v Walking Mountain productions saga from start to finish. He was served with a copyright and trademark complaint from Mattel, decided to fight back, searched unsuccessfully for representation, finally got some help from the ACLU of Southern California who petitioned a San Francisco firm (Howard, Rice, Nemerovsky, Canady, Falk & Rabin) to take the case pro bono. He defends his work as an “obvious” example of fair use—“political and social criticism presented with humor and parody.” Forsythe calls the trial “an essential fight” and says that free speech is paramount to our free society. He argues that it is not the government that censors us, but corporations. “They make their brand ubiquitous and then complain if anyone uses the brands to criticize the resulting crass consumerism,” he writes.
Because we are so sensitive to the threat of official censorship, we don’t notice when it is privately exercised by powerful companies with unlimited funds at their disposal. Forsythe calls the legal system a “boxing ring for the rich.” “I created the Food Chain Barbie series as a seriously funny stab at mindless consumerism, the impossible beauty myth and the advertising that brings it all into our lives,” he explains. The artist’s responsibility is thus to comment on the brands that dominate our lives in order to communicate with the world.
Wood examines how Disney uses his film Cinderella to “civilize” his viewers by presenting models of proper behavior while entertaining them. Snow White, like Cinderella, sings while she does her household chores. In analyzing Disney’s conservative ideology, she touches upon how his views affect his other works, such as Snow White.
To keep his films entertaining, Disney reworked European marchen. He included well-loved romantic plots and added comic relief through subplots involving animals and secondary characters, such as the dwarves in Snow White. Marriage is based on love, rather than family constraints. “Love’s first kiss” wakes both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty from their slumbers. Disney used realism in his animated films to present a sense of immediacy to his audience. He included a solid plot and clear personalities to the characters so that viewers would feel a deeper connection with the story. The seven dwarves in Snow White each have their own unique name, temperament, and appearance. The recurring gags, often in the form of handicaps, also keep children viewers interested. For example, Dopey is mute and clumsy while Doc has a stutter and is absent-minded.
Disney supports wish-fulfillment, as is evident in his films. Dreams in Cinderella are similarly important in Snow White. While Cinderella sings of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” Snow White opens her story with “I’m wishing / For the one I love / To find me.” Disney reassures viewers that with good effort and self-control, one will get the desired result. According to him, the ultimate wish for girls is to marry the rich and handsome Mr. Right.
Shortsleeve tries to articulate the fear that Disney inspires in critics, and from where this fear originates. He views it as a slippery slope process. Beginning in the 1930’s, criticism of Disney’s corporate, artistic, and public influences worsened with time. Disney’s personal ideology, reflected in the way he worked with people, appears in his films.
Walt Disney elicits a range of complaints from critics. The primary one that appears is of the “Disneyfication” of fairy tales, the simplification of stories. Many critics view the Disney versions as patronizing and overly sentimental. Disney has created a form of entertainment that restricts thought-provoking expression. Others argue that the racial stereotypes Disney shows in his films encourage racism in viewers across the world and further US imperialist agenda. Feminists claim that depictions of Barbie-like heroines give young girls negative body images. Some say that Walt Disney has unacceptable labor practices in his studios and that he displays a false innocence to the media.
Shortsleeve believes that what frightens people is that the Disney Company has remained unchanged from its glory days in the 1930’s. After bitter arguments with his animators in 1941, Walt Disney lost his confidence, and the company ideologically stalled in the “magic” of the ‘30s. The company still exhibits contradictory values, with heavy-handed management of employees, yet support for the common man in its films. The incongruity of its totalitarian tendencies with its democracy attractions at its amusement parks leads to confusion from critics and the general public alike. This confusion has led to tension, suspicion, and paranoia.
Despite his criticism, Shortsleeve acknowledges the positive impact Disney has had on America, especially during the Great Depression. Audiences wanted to escape their dreary lives for two hours, to enter a fantasy world where everything ends happily. When Disney decided to create his first full-length animated film (Snow White), even his oppressed employees regained new hope and excitement at the thought of being involved in such a ground-breaking project.
Snow White exhibits the “Disneyfication” about which so many critics complained. It diverges from the original Grimm version toward simplification and sentimentality. Disney’s clear belief in self-reliance and hard work are evident in the dwarves’ “Heigh Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go” song, as well as in Snow White’s agreeable temperament while doing chores. Disney expected his animators to work just as willingly, but they were unhappy that they would not receive screen credit for their efforts, and so began the strike in ’41 that destroyed Walt’s confidence and locked the company in its ‘30s mindset.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PR739.F45 A77 2003
Call#: Van Pelt Library PR739.F45 G75 2003
Call#: Van Pelt Library PS261 .S57 2002
This article, focused specifically on Mario Puzo’s book, The Godfather, on which the film is based, and Puzo, who also did the screenplay for the film version, addresses the concerns and criticisms of the book. Firstly, the article states that the greatest criticism of the book is that it is too realistic, but it is argued in the article that this is in fact its best quality. Puzo should be praised for “making the outrageous plausible.” The trick, as described, in making Don Vito a likeable character is a strength, for example, because it creates a depth and complexity to the character.
The article continues with an extensive discussion as to whether or not Don Corleone is a barbarian where barbarian is a place between nature and civilization. He is not completely wild, and yet he is closer to his emotions and basic instincts than others. Yet he is still capable of complete reason, particularly when he is in the process of making a decision, as this stands out as a time when he clearly thinks things through.
Further, there follows a discussion as to whether the American dream, and American justice are dead within the movie. The article questions if this is one of the very bases of the movie considering certain symbols. They use the example of a character’s name to suggest it as a symbol that these are dying and something or someone will eventually have to come and fill their place.Don Corleone is then depicted as a god-like character, as it is stated, “ ‘Don Corleone had no desire, no intention, of letting his youngest son be killed in the service of a power foreign to himself.’ These words suggest not only the loyalty which a baron expects of his vassal, but the submission a god demands of his creation.” This very depiction of Don Corleone puts a very different emphasis on family than the remainder of the film. Because although Corleone loves his sone, his greater concern is with power and control.