The documentary film Night Mail, propagating the services of the British General Post Office in the 1930s, reflects the political ideas, typical of the period, of increased democratisation and a collective work ethic. At the same time, it reflects those advanced aesthetic ideas of the period that favoured a public function of art and saw art works as products of collaborative creative activity by artists from different media, with film taking a leading role in the coaction. The g.p.o. Film Unit was able to engage W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten as contributors to the formation of Night Mail. This paper argues that their cooperative efforts turned the film into a unique case of what it calls a “collaborative Gesamtkunstwerk” showing a particularly close interaction of picture, words and music, and analyses the effects which the closeness of interaction has on the working of the participating media.
Studies in World Cinema: A Critical Journal offers a platform to examine, rethink and reinvent the notion of “world cinema”. What do we understand by “world cinema”, and how useful or enabling is this term? Taking the world as a space of signification in which we continually reproduce its meanings, this journal opens up inquiries about films and cinematic practices that engender novel senses of the world.
The journal welcomes research on traveling cinematic tropes, transnational practices, remakes and adaptations, translation cultures, migrant and diasporic films and film cultures, postcolonial and accented cinemas, collaborations and exchanges among filmmakers, co-productions and multinational filmmaking practices and networks, and early cinematic practices. Together we aim to develop a fruitful and more enriching understanding of our world cinema.
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This volume focusses on the rarely discussed reverse side of traditional, ‘given’ objects of studies, namely absence rather than presence (of text) and silence rather than sound. It does so from the bifocal and interdisciplinary perspective which is a hallmark of the book series Word and Music Studies.
The twelve contributors to the main subject of this volume approach it from various systematic and historical angles and cover, among others, questions such as to what extent absence can become significant in the first place or iconic (silent) functions of musical scores, as well as discussions of fields ranging from baroque opera to John Cage’s
4’33’’. The volume is complemented by two contributions dedicated to further surveying the vast field of word and music studies.
The essays collected here were originally presented at the Ninth International Conference on Word and Music Studies held at London University in August 2013 and organised by the International Association for Word and Music Studies. They are of relevance to scholars and students of literature, music and intermediality studies as well as to readers generally interested in phenomena of absence and silence.