Sarah Easen

T HE FESTIVAL OF Britain, from 3 May to 30 September 1951, aimed to provide respite from the effects of World War II by celebrating the nation’s past achievements in the arts, industry and science, as well as looking hopefully to a future of progress and prosperity. It marked the halfway point of the century, a natural moment at which to take stock and examine advances in British society. The

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin on My Shoulder
Karen Thorsen

Filmmaker Karen Thorsen gave us James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, the award-winning documentary that is now considered a classic. First broadcast on PBS/American Masters in August, 1989—just days after what would have been Baldwin’s 65th birthday—the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1990. It was not the film Thorsen intended to make. Beginning in 1986, she and Baldwin had been collaborating on a very different film project: a “nonfiction feature” about the history, research, and writing of Baldwin’s next book, Remember This House. It was also going to be a film about progress: how far we had come, how far we still had to go, before we learned to trust our common humanity. The following memoir explores how and why their collaboration began. This recollection will be serialized in two parts, with the second installment appearing in James Baldwin Review’s seventh issue, due out in the fall of 2021.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Identity, heritage and creative research practice in Basilicata, southern Italy

Sonic ethnography explores the role of sound-making and listening practices in the formation of local identities in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. The book uses a combination of text, photography and sound recording to investigate soundful cultural performances such as tree rituals, carnivals, pilgrimages, events promoting cultural heritage and more informal musical performances. Its approach demonstrates how in the acoustic domain tradition is made and disrupted, power struggles take place and acoustic communities are momentarily brought together in shared temporality and space. This book underlines how an attention to sound-making, recording and listening practices can bring innovative contributions to the ethnography of an area that has been studied by Italian and foreign scholars since the 1950s. The approaches of the classic anthropological scholarship on the region have become one of the forces at play in a complex field where discourses on a traditional past, politics of heritage and transnational diasporic communities interact. The book’s argument is carried forward not just by textual means, but also through the inclusion of six ‘sound-chapters’, that is, compositions of sound recordings themed so as to interact with the topic of the corresponding textual chapter, and through a large number of colour photographs. Two methodological chapters, respectively about doing research in sound and on photo-ethnography, explain the authors’ approach to field research and to the making of the book.

Open Access (free)
Film festivals and the revival of Classic Hollywood
Julian Stringer

. The institution of the film festival has over recent years provided a key location for the advancement of such historical and preservationist agendas. Major events like those held annually in Berlin, Cannes, Hong Kong, New York, Pusan, Toronto and Venice act as lynchpins around which a diverse range of cultural activities rotate. As Kenneth Turan’s Sundance to Saravejo: Film Festivals and the World

in Memory and popular film
Open Access (free)
Towards a sonic ethnography of the Maggio festival in Accettura
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

In the village of Accettura, a settlement of less than two thousand residents in central Basilicata, every year around Pentecost the festival of St Julian culminates in the raising of a massive tree in the main square by means of a system of manually operated winches. The process of carrying large oak trees from the nearby woods – with ox-teams – and a holly tree – borne on the shoulders of teams of men – as well as the mass participation of the village population, have resulted in the festival achieving widespread renown as the most impressive and spectacular

in Sonic ethnography
Offline and online games, branding and humanitarianism at the Roskilde Festival
Lene Bull Christiansen and Mette Fog Olwig

popularised humanitarian event, rather than to simply criticise or praise. In order to make this point we will explore the energies that are at play in the popular ‘carnival’ of the Danish non-profit music and culture festival, the Roskilde Festival. A second key aim of this chapter is to expand our understanding of the time-space/place relation of the festival, or carnival

in Global humanitarianism and media culture
The revival of Lucanian wheat festivals
Lorenzo Ferrarini

During the month of August, in the southern part of Basilicata, a number of events involving wheat offerings take place during religious festivals dedicated to local patronal saints or to the Madonna. Traditionally, August was the time when most of the main agricultural work would be finished, and people had time and resources to dedicate to religious festivals. Wheat, once the main staple crop of the region, would be harvested in June–July and people would set aside bundles of ears of wheat to carry in procession on saints’ days. Although many people in

in Sonic ethnography

This collection interrogates the representation of humanitarian crisis and catastrophe, and the refraction of humanitarian intervention and action, from the mid-twentieth century to the present, across a diverse range of media forms: traditional and contemporary screen media (film, television and online video) as well as newspapers, memoirs, music festivals and social media platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr). The book thus explores the historical, cultural and political contexts that have shaped the mediation of humanitarian relationships since the middle of the twentieth century. Together, the chapters illustrate the continuities and connections, as well as the differences, which have characterised the mediatisation of both states of emergency and acts of amelioration. The authors reveal and explore the significant synergies between the humanitarian enterprise, the endeavour to alleviate the suffering of particular groups, and media representations, and their modes of addressing and appealing to specific publics. The chapters consider the ways in which media texts, technologies and practices reflect and shape the shifting moral, political, ethical, rhetorical, ideological and material dimensions of international humanitarian emergency and intervention, and have become integral to the changing relationships between organisations, institutions, governments, individual actors and entire sectors.

Struggles for power over a festival soundscape
Lorenzo Ferrarini

steps in front, where the music continues with fast tarantella dances that involve both men and women. This episode, as Scaldaferri and I witnessed it during the festival of the Madonna del Pollino, was a particularly conflictual expression of tensions that can be identified in a number of religious situations with a mass participation, in Basilicata and beyond. The tensions are in large part over the legitimacy of certain forms of devotion, and specifically those that are expressed as sound. These are what we call sonic devotion : the production and listening

in Sonic ethnography
A celebration

This book offers a startling re-evaluation of what has until now been seen as the most critically lacklustre period of the British film history. It includes fresh assessment of maverick directors; Pat Jackson, Robert Hamer and Joseph Losey, and even of a maverick critic Raymond Durgnat. The book features personal insights from those inidividually implicated in 1950s cinema; Corin Redgrave on Michael Redgrave, Isabel Quigly on film reviewing, and Bryony Dixon of the BFI on archiving and preservation. A classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity. Raymond Durgnat's A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence, which deals extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. In a 1947 article called 'Angles of Approach' Lindsay Anderson delivered a fierce attack on contemporary British film culture, outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics . The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. The book also talks about the Festival of Britain, White Corridors, and four Hamer's post-Ealing films: The Spider and the Fly, The Long Memory, Father Brown and The Scapegoat. A number of factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history.