The latest issue of the Journal of Popular Film and Television features my article Cinema, the Government, and the Popular: Popular and Commercial Aspects of Cultural Film Support in Flanders (Belgium). You can download it here.
The article examines the evolution of both the popular and the commercial aspects within the official film production support in Flanders between 1964 and 2002. The article sheds light on the policy motivations underlying the cultural-commercial tension, which was a permanent issue of conflict for the Flemish film policy actors. As such, it provides a broader historical context to my publication on Flemish popular comedies in the 1980s.
This morning, I participated in an exciting ‘audio workshop’ organized by the Study Centre for Experimental Literature (Ghent University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel). After some fascinating introductory reflections by the organizers on the historical context of radio dramas in Flanders, the Netherlands and Germany, and their theoretical and analytical possibilities in the light of ‘transmediality’, four speakers approached one or more radio dramas from a different angle. Janine Hauthal (VUB) talked about Samuel Beckett’s Cascando from a drama perspective, thereby including some critical gender-related observations (why are the roles in Cascando always interpreted by men, while Beckett doesn’t prescribe any sex to the characters? Is it really only because of a dominant – and restricting – autobiographical reading?). Luk Vaes (Orpheus Institute) offered a musicology perspective on the ‘radio dramas’ by the fascinating composer Mauricio Kagel.
Lars Bernaerts (Ghent University) shared his insights on the practice of novel-to-radio drama adaptations, taking Terug tot Ina Damman, based on Simon Vestdijk’s novel, as a starting point to talk about how literary conventions are taken over and slightly adapted, while the multi-modal possibilities of the radio drama medium itself are also at play. In my own talk, I also focused on a literary adaptation: how the theatre play De Vertraagde Film (1922), by the Flemish writer Herman Teirlinck, was made into a radio drama by the same name in 1967. The transmedia-perspective was enriched as there was also made a film based on De Vertraagde Film in 1937, Het Kwade Oog, by Charles Dekeukeleire in co-operation with Teirlinck himself. This transmedia perspective was follow by some institutional considerations, as the radio drama was made by the public service broadcaster BRT to pay tribute to Herman Teirlinck, who had just passed away. As I’m invited to give a talk on Teirlinck’s relation to film during a study day in February, I’m looking forward to work further on this material!
Rip-Off or Resourceful Creativity? is the title of the latest special issue (edited by Sarah Smyth and Connor McMorran) of the Frames Cinema Journal, focusing on remakes. It features an article called Reframing the remake: Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes and their theoretical and conceptual implications, by Eduard Cuelenaere, Stijn Joye and myself. The article offers some first theoretical reflections on remakes and the academic field of remake studies, stemming from our recently started research project on Dutch-Flemish remakes (cf. this previous blog post). You can read the article at full length here.
In the article, we explicitly take distance from ‘anti-remake debates’ offering a normative standpoint towards remakes. We instead aim for a more nuanced reading of the remake practice. Our argument is based upon an examination of Dutch-Flemish remakes, which proves to be an original contribution to the field of remake studies, as well as an excellent exemplar in the context of the deconstruction and reframing of discourses about the global remake practice. As a first step, we claim that the non-commercial aura of the European remake should be revisited because the Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes clearly disclose a similar incentive to the one that often inspires Hollywood remakes: financial gains. Furthermore, our case underlines the need for a more nuanced understanding of intercultural media practices, including the cultural proximity theory. Lastly, we reveal a remarkable discrepancy between the essentialist conception of cultural identity—that is put forward by remake directors—and the constructionist conception, which is dominant in scholarly discussions.