Affective authorship : contemporary Asian Australian documentary
Studies in Australasian cinema (2008) vol.2 iss.2 p.157-170 Author: Smaill, Belinda PhysDes: Article Subject: DOCUMENTARY FILMS. AUSTRALIA; ASIANS IN FILMS. AUSTRALIA; ETHNIC GROUPS AND THE CINEMA; PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF FILMS; FINISHED PEOPLE, THE (AT, Khoa Do, 2003); LETTERS TO ALI (AT, Clara Law, 2004); SADNESS: A MONOLOGUE BY WILLIAM YANG (AT, Tony Ayres, 1999); CHINESE TAKEAWAY (AT, Mitzi Goldman, 2002) Summary: Documentary is a genre not widely understood through its capacity to engage the emotions. This article works to acknowledge the affective labour performed by documentary and, more specifically, the way emotions give meaning to documentary subjects. The analysis explores the production of Asian Australian subjects as documentary authors in four prominent films produced over the previous decade: Chinese Takeaway (Mitzi Goldman, 2002), Sadness: A Monologue by William Yang (Tony Ayres, 1999), The Finished People (Khoa Do, 2003) and Letters to Ali (Clara Law. 2004). These texts allow for a fruitful examination of the way the emotions that shape the expression of these author-subjects, such as mourning and care, might impact on the documentary representation of cultural otherness. Asian Australian subjectivity coalesces in and around these texts in a manner that is founded on the activity of mourning. Included here are not only the bereavements of loved ones, but also the losses that are bound to the movements of modernity, such as the lost fullness which is the promise of diaspora, the failure or absence of universal citizenship and the lack of safety in life lived in advanced capitalism. This article explores not only the absences suggested in these films, but also how these absences present a site of ethical encounter for the viewer that both resists reducing and assimilating the Asian Australian author to a devalued ethnic other while also addressing a community of viewers through a relation of reciprocity based in caring attachments to the social realm. -- Abstract Notes: Part of Special Issue: Transnational Asian Australian Cinema. Part 1 More info
The documentary : politics, emotion, culture / Belinda Smaill
Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Call No: 761 SMA Author: Smaill, Belinda Source: UK Place: Basingstoke, England Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan PubDate: 2010 PhysDes: vii, 221 p. : ill. ; 23 cm Subject: ASIAN COUNTRIES; CHILDREN AND THE CINEMA; CHILDREN IN FILMS; CULTURE AND THE CINEMA; DOCUMENTARIES; DOCUMENTARIES. AUSTRALIA; EMOTION IN FILMS; FEMINISM AND THE CINEMA; IDENTITY IN FILMS; IDEOLOGY AND THE CINEMA; IMMIGRATION IN FILMS AND TELEVISION; PSYCHOLOGY AND THE CINEMA; REALITY TV; SEX IN FILMS; SOCIAL PROBLEMS IN FILMS; THEORY; VIEWERS; WOMEN FILMMAKERS; LOVELACE, LINDA; BORN INTO BROTHELS: CALCUTTA'S RED LIGHT KIDS (II/US, Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman, 2004); CORPORATION, THE (CN, Jennifer Abbott & Mark Achbar, 2003); DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET, THE (UK, Kim Longinotto, 2002); DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE (UK, Kim Longinotto & Ziba Mir-Hosseini, 1998); ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM (US, Alex Gibney, 2005); FINISHED PEOPLE, THE (AT, Khoa Do, 2003); FIX: THE STORY OF AN ADDICTED CITY (CN, Nettie Wild, 2002); INSIDE DEEP THROAT (US, Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato, 2005); LETTERS TO ALI (AT, Clara Law, 2004); SADNESS: A MONOLOGUE BY WILLIAM YANG (AT, Tony Ayres, 1999); SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY (CN, Gough Lewis, 1999) Summary: "The Documentary: Politics, Emotion, Culture proposes that emotions such as pleasure, hope, pain, empathy or nostalgia play a powerful role in the circulation and reception of documentaries. Emotion shapes how political issues and individuals are represented and perceived in documentary and it is crucial to how we engage with the vicissitudes of the public sphere. In the past documentary has been popularly perceived in ways that align it with education, science, history and the rational realm. This frame has never been adequate for understanding the broad array of styles and themes that can be seen in the documentary genre. Focusing on the question of subjectivity, Smail analyses various different kinds of individuals that can be found in documentaries, such as the female porn star, the politically disenfranchised, children, and the documentary auteur. She envisages an interdisciplinary approach to documentary drawing on scholarship from not only film studies, but also gender studies, queer theory, cultural theories of affect, critical race studies, political theory and pyschoanalysis. " -- BOOK BLURB Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. 200-209) and index ISBN: 9780230237513 (hbk.) Contents: -- list of illustrations -- acknowledgments -- part one: documentary and pleasure -- 1: introduction: representation and documentary emotion -- 2: pleasure and disgust: desire and the female porn star -- part two: pain and the other -- 3: Injury, identity and recognition: Rize and Fix: the story of an addicted city -- 4: women, pain and the documentaries of Kim Longinotto -- part three: the labour of authorship: caring and mourning -- 5: loss and care: Asian Australian documentary -- 6: civic love and contemporary dissent documentary -- part four: past, present and future: hope and nostalgia -- 7: children, futurity and hope: Born into Brothels -- 8:nostalgia, historical time and reality television: the idol series -- epilogue -- notes -- bibliography -- index -- More info
title clippings file
LETTERS TO ALI : (AT, Clara Law, 2004)
Letters to Ali
Empire (Australian Ed.) (October 2004) iss.43 p.24 More info
[LETTERS TO ALI : POSTER]
Call No: P LET Place: AT PhysDes: 1 poster : col. ; 99 X 69 cm. Subject: LETTERS TO ALI (AT, Clara Law, 2004) Summary: Image: Children's drawing of a boy and a girl, crying, beneath barbed wire. Drawing by Erin Silberstein. Text: ' "Children must not be put in jail without just cause" Malcolm Fraser Australian Prime Minister 1975-83'. Text: ' "One day I picked up my DV camcorder and followed Trish and her family, travelling 6000km across Australia through a deser to a remote detention centre to visit and Afghan boy with whom they had been exchanging letters for 18 months." Clara Law - the filmmaker'. Notes: Small creases in middle. More info
Unsettling whiteness : the slippage of race and nation in Clara Law's Letters to Ali
Studies in Australasian cinema (2008) vol.2 iss.2 p.103-119 Author: Johnston, Meg PhysDes: Article Subject: NATIONAL CULTURE AND THE CINEMA. AUSTRALIA; ETHNIC GROUPS IN FILMS. AUSTRALIA; LAW, CLARA; LETTERS TO ALI (AT, Clara Law, 2004) Summary: This article focuses on Clara Law's Letters to Ali (2004) as a recent example of a refugee-focused documentary film that both complicates and destabilizes the essential and exclusive categories of ‘whiteness’ and ‘otherness’ that have shaped Australian identity politics through recent politics. Centrally, this article will position Letters to Ali as a subversive project in accordance with Homi Bhabha's ideas of unsettling, displacing and disturbing the authority of normative whiteness that pervades our national identity in this climate. Through positioning whiteness as neither fixed nor final due to the ‘incommensurable differences’ it must take into account, this article will discuss both formal and narrative elements of Letters to Ali as working towards destabilizing an essential and static whiteness and, instead, focusing on its ‘marked’ and constructed nature. Critiquing whiteness as an ideal, according to Bhabha, Ghassan Hage and others, this discussion will displace and disrupt its ‘invisibility’ or normativity. In doing so, whiteness will be examined as part of national strategies of dominance and subordination, rather than as an authentic or singular identity, ‘reveal[ing] within the very integuments of “whiteness” the agonistic elements that makes it the unsettled, disturbed form of authority’.
Clara Law's position as Asian Australian film-maker in relation to other national others such as ‘Ali’, the refugee subject of the film, will be crucial to this disruption: Law's own story of migration, of resettlement and naturalization is foregrounded in the film's narrative and, as such, she — and partner Eddie Fong — are the national citizens against which the refugee is to be measured in this binary logic. Taking into account these ‘incommensurable differences’ of the white identity, the categories of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’; of Australians and others, are ruptured and the frameworks of national membership are opened up to more liminal, transnational notions of identity and belonging. -- Abstract Notes: Part of Special Issue: Transnational Asian Australian Cinema: Part 1 More info