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Of course, the relationship between Europe and cinema has been the object of much historical, stylistic, and political analysis.However, I struggled to see how the three terms could be forced together and what, if anything, love stories on film set within European spaces could demonstrate that would not pertain elsewhere.
Is the association of cinéphilia with the European (and therefore highbrow) a way of simply ignoring other forms of passionate love for cinema (such as cult movies, star worship, or hugely successful blockbusters) which are as important for European audiences as ones elsewhere but that do not fit into the dominant historical model?
Does the impact of feminist film scholarship not teach us that love of the image is a scopophilic instinct that could be applied to all film-viewing experiences within mainstream models, rather than being unique to a small enclave of privileged men?
However, when I reflect on my life, I realize that my height has shaped my character in many ways and has helped to define the person I am.
If I had the introverted personality my older brother had in high school, I’d probably be overwhelmed by the constant public attention.
Or rather, I was gathering the necessary stamina for our church’s annual pie sale.
Ten hours of rolling crusts and peeling apples and kneading butter and sugar into the crumble topping, all the while drowning in the cinnamon air, surrounded by near-literal mountains of pies that we were forbidden to touch.Even as a young child, parents at the sidelines of my baseball games, as well as the umpire, would, in front of all my teammates, demand by birth certificate to prove my age. When I was younger, some parents in my neighborhood deemed me a bully because I was so much larger than children my age.I grew acquainted early on with the fact that I am abnormally tall and stick out about the crowd. I had to be extra welcoming and gentle simply to play with other children.As such, the book aims less at offering some kind of overview of representations of romantic love in European film, although this emerges as a strand within the collection, and more at a mapping or triangulation of what each of these three terms may have to complement the others.What is particularly invigorating from a film studies perspective is the way that such an approach takes the term ‘Europe’ – which has been of recurrent interest and interrogation for studies considering such issues as (trans)national cinema, (film) history, stylistics, and the globalised politics of production, distribution, and exhibition – and places it alongside ‘love’.If discussed at all love has tended to be considered in studies of affect, emotion, grief, and loss (for an excellent example of the former see by Emma Wilson [Houndmills: Palgrave, 2012]), so the approach allows for a methodological meeting point.It is through allowing each term space to breathe that we can come to a chapter such as the remarkable personal account by Thomas Elsaesser which opens the book.Thinking about love and cinema leads him not to talking about the romcom but rather to discussions of cinephilia and the institutional position of film studies within the academy (perhaps in some ways a rather suspect subject precisely because it still inspires love – a thorn in the side of the UK government’s increasingly Gradgrindian approach to higher education).However, while an elite cinéphile position was carved out in the specifically European cultural milieu of the postwar Parisian cinéclubs in the (for our purposes) suggestively named Latin Quarter, can cinéphilia itself be claimed as a specifically European experience?These essays are in addition to three similar collections from the Class of 2022, Class of 2012, and Class of 2007.On the day my first novel was rejected, I was baking pies.