Noa Steimatsky - "The Face on Film" - Tom Gunning and Daniel Morgan

Noa Steimatsky discusses The Face on Film. She will be joined in conversation by Tom Gunning and Daniel Morgan.

Presented in partnership with the Department of Cinema and Media Studies

At the Co-op

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About the book: The human face was said to be rediscovered with the advent of motion pictures, in which it is often viewed as expressive locus, as figure, and even as essence of the cinema. But how has the modern, technological, mass-circulating art revealed the face in ways that are also distinct from any other medium? How has it altered our perception of this quintessential incarnation of the person? The archaic powers of masks and icons, the fashioning of the individual in the humanist portrait, the modernist anxieties of fragmentation and de-figuration--these are among the cultural precedents informing our experience in the movie theatre. Yet the moving image also offers radical new confrontations with the face: Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc, Donen's Funny Face, Hitchcock's The Wrong Man, Bresson's enigmatic Au hasard Balthazar, Antonioni's Screen Test, Warhol's filmic portraits of celebrity and anonymity are among the key works explored in this book. In different ways these intense encounters manifest a desire for transparency and plenitude, but--especially in post-classical cinema--they also betray a profound ambiguity that haunts the human countenance as it wavers between image and language, between what we see and what we know. The spectacular impact of the cinematic face is uncannily bound up with an opacity, a reticence. But is it not for this very reason that, like faces in the world, it still enthralls us?

About the author: Noa Steimatsky is a film scholar who lives and writes in San Francisco. She teaches at the University of California - Berkeley.

About Tom Gunning: Tom Gunning is an Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College. He is author of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Modernity (2000) and D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film (1993).

About Daniel Morgan: Daniel Morgan is an Associate Professor, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College. He is author of Late Godard and the Possibilities of Cinema (2013).

About the co-sponsor: The Department of Cinema and Media Studies with its Film Studies Center is a lively hub of courses and seminars, screenings, and workshops that contribute to the University of Chicago’s longstanding tradition of cross-disciplinary scholarship and intellectual debate. The Department is dedicated to pursuing innovative work in the history, culture, and theory of film and related media. Our research and teaching locate cinema in broader traditions of moving image culture including new and emergent media and a diverse array of artistic and vernacular practices.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637