Martine Beugnet est une théoricienne du cinéma, professeur d’études visuelles à l’Université Paris Diderot. Elle a écrit principalement sur la corporéité et la sensation dans le cinéma d’avant-garde et narratif, et a vu ses travaux publiés dans plusieurs revues de cinéma. Elle a rédigé sa thèse de doctorat à l’Université d’Édimbourg en 1999, sur les thèmes de la sexualité et du corps dans le cinéma français récent, étudiant des cinéastes tels que Claire Denis, Bertrand Blier, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Laetitia Masson et Leos Carax. Elle a ensuite écrit une monographie entière sur l’œuvre de Claire Denis, où elle a invoqué la théorie du cinéma du philosophe français Gilles Deleuze. En 2005, elle a publié un livre sur les traitements cinématographiques de Marcel Proust, écrit en collaboration avec Marion Schmid. Deux ans plus tard, elle écrit un livre intitulé Cinema and Sensation, dans lequel elle approfondit les thèmes qu’elle avait abordés dans sa thèse de doctorat, en invoquant à nouveau Deleuze.
Martine Beugnet is a French film theorist, and a Professor in Visual Studies at the Paris Diderot University. She has written primarily on corporeality and sensation in avant-garde and narrative cinema, and has had her work published in several film journals. She wrote her PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh in 1999, on themes of sexuality and bodies in recent French cinema, citing filmmakers such as Claire Denis, Bertrand Blier, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Laetitia Masson, and Leos Carax. She later wrote an entire monograph on the work of Claire Denis, where she invoked the film theory of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In 2005, she published a book on cinematic treatments of Marcel Proust, written in collaboration with Marion Schmid. Two years later, she wrote a book titled Cinema and Sensation, where she further explored themes she had written about in her PhD thesis, again invoking Deleuze.
Tricia Jenkins is a full professor of Film, TV and Digital Media at Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX). Her book, The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television, entered its second edition in early 2016. That book has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com, Studies in Intelligence, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. It has been translated into Chinese, Turkish, French, and Farsi and won the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title in 2013. Her work has also appeared in or been cited in the LA Times, National Public Radio, the BBC World Service, The Washington Post, FOX and others. Her latest work is being released in Dec 2021 by The University of Kansas Press. Co-authored with Tom Secker, Superheroes, Movies and the State delivers an original exploration of how the government-entertainment complex has influenced the world’s most popular movie genre—superhero films. The book sets a new standard for exploring the government-Hollywood relationship as it persuasively documents the critical role different government agencies have played in shaping characters, stories, and even the ideas behind the hottest entertainment products. Jenkins and Secker cover a wide range of US government and quasi-governmental agencies who act to influence the content of superhero movies, including the Department of Defense, the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange and, to a lesser extent, the FBI and the CIA.
A Mediology of Corruption : Film, corporeality and productive impurity
In his idiosyncratic account of the rise of Hollywood, Kenneth Anger elaborates on tabloid reports, scandal-filled trials and sensationalist gossip illustrated with a mix of studio portraits and snapshots, to describe a milieu corrupt through and through. Like particles trapped in an aggressive chemical solution, those who dwell in it are destroyed, or become irremediably tainted, in the image of those hopeful wannabes and ageing stars whose decline Anger recounts with sarcastic delight. Similarly, in Douglas Gordon’s defaced portraits of stars (a series entitled Self Portraits of You + Me), the idealised picture of glamour is wrecked: the impeccably lit and composed photographs are vandalized, eyes, mouths, and sometimes the whole face burnt, the gaping holes sealed with mirrors, in a violent gesture of artistic appropriation. Gordon’s work stresses the fusion of the photographic medium’s materiality and the subject’s corporeality, shifting the emphasis away from interpretation to allow instead for the work to testify to its own visceral impact.
In this paper I propose to take a mediology-inflected approach to corruption. As a narrative form, film is host to endless stories of corruption. At the same time, as a time-based medium and as a form of “embalmment”, as well as in its transformation from analog to digital medium, it is particularly apt at exemplifying or, on the contrary, at denying the inevitability of decay. My intervention will underscore the ways in which the combined material, technical and aesthetic dimensions of film both determine and are determined by the circulation of cultural and ideological constructs around notions of corruption and impurity. Looking at mainstream as well as art and experimental films, I will identify some of the ways in which corruption, as combined subject matter and form, both reflects and debunks cultural norms. I will then focus on the particular example of the so-called “white trash” in cinema, looking at the complex nexus of embodiment (and in particular, its incarnation through the female body) and genre and medium (im)purity, that its presence brings forth.
The US, Corruption, and Hollywood: Examining the Work of the Government-Entertainment Complex
Almost all major government agencies in the United States employ entertainment liaison officers. Their primary job is to educate and positively influence the public’s perception of their agency by working with Hollywood creators, with the most powerful actors being the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the FBI. As David Robb, author of Operation Hollywood, writes, the government-entertainment complex proves to be a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, the Pentagon has what Hollywood wants, which is access to expensive hardware, such as aircraft carriers, submarines, and tanks at cut-rate prices, while Hollywood has what the Pentagon wants: access to millions of eyeballs and potential recruits. Undoubtedly, the government-entertainment complex at times proves helpful, working to educate the public about important issues, an agency’s function, and helping writers to enhance the accuracy of its dialogue, plot lines, and character depictions. Too often, however, this relationship also corrupts. It corrupts the truth, and it involves dishonest conduct by those in power. What are some examples of the government’s corruption of the truth in major media productions? Why is the government’s influence in Hollywood less than transparent? And does the U.S. government’s relationship with Hollywood amount to payola – a frequent form of corruption employed in the media industries? Find out the answers to these questions and much more in this keynote address.