Volume 2 | Issue 1 | Spring 2001


Volume 2 - Issue 1 - Vertigo’s Back

By Vertigo

When we started the magazine, one of our central aims was to promote diversity – aesthetic independence rather than an essentially technical economic independence. Sylvia Harvey’s article sketches in the historical background to the latter change in meaning. Our focus on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the implications of its runaway success, reveals an opposition between conflicting responses which feeds into this debate: is it a triumph for non-western filmmaking, or a skilful negotiation of the demands of the market place? Roger Crittenden’s engagement with the differences between European and Hollywood filmmaking is another approach to these central issues, which have a history which stretches back to the earliest days of Hollywood’s rise to economic dominance.
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All my Eye and Aristotle: Editing European Films

By Roger Crittenden

European Cinema is different from Hollywood; we want to tell different kinds of stories in a different way. Stephen Cleary in his paper “How do stories work in Europe?” concludes that conventional Hollywood films function to encourage the audience to feel the same as their fellow Americans...

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

By Nasreen Munni Kabir | Cathy Greenhalgh | Peter Culshaw

Popular cinema everywhere works on some similar basic principles. Heroes, heroines, and villains represent the archetypes of their culture and lead the narrative in a variety of stories that are ultimately full of universal emotions and universal values.

Close Up on a Field without Definition

By David Curtis | Gary Thomas | William Raban

A discussion between David Curtis, former Film and Video Officer at the Arts Council, Gary Thomas, Artists’ Film and Video Officer at the Arts Council, and William Raban from Vertigo’s editorial board.

From across the Channel

By Philippe Carcassonne

Unlike England, France has a long tradition of being invaded by other nations, and an equally long tradition (call it our political answer) of a centralised power. In short, there is virtually no funding outside Paris available for any cultural activity that is not initiated from Paris.

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

By Holly Aylett

An email interview with Rod Stoneman, Chief Executive of the Irish Film Board

The State of Things: Transition in South African Cinema

By Jeremy Nathan

South African cinema is an enigma: so possible yet so far away. Any indigenous filmmaking, whether it is mainstream or experimental in form, is marginalized. Because it is African, local distributors and broadcasters immediately perceive it as uncommercial and obscure.

Science and its Signs

By James Leahy

For two years Ken McMullen, director of Ghost Dance, Zina, Partition and 1871, and professor at the London College of Printing, has been working with scientists at CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research in Geneva, and a group of artists to generate an exhibition responding to the technology (particle accelerators and detectors) and the ideas of modern physics.

Light Illusions Artists and Cinema; Filmmakers and Galleries

By Felicity Sparrow

Artists have used the medium of film since the early twentieth century. Although marginalised by the institutions of cinema, artists’ films have nevertheless been exhibited like any other film: in cinemas, designed like theatres with fixed seats facing a white screen, often framed by a proscenium arch and plush velvet curtains.

Cultural Imperialism or Vibrant Moving Image?

By Anna Thew

The history of film is teeming with references to kinesis, rhythm, time, music, motion... cut! Within the frame, from frame to frame, the notion of movement is fundamental. In the 1920s Léger observes that rhythm... mobility... the close up... are the only cinematographic inventions.

Image Picture Frame

By Jon Jost | Patrick Keiller | Sam Lamche McMullen | John Maybury | Amie Siegel

Godard was seventy at the end of last year. His work is about to be celebrated by a full retrospective at the National Film Theatre, and an international conference at Tate Modern. We asked some contemporary cinéastes to select an image revealing Godard’s relevance to the filmmakers of the new millennium.

Documentaries for the Big Screen

By Alex Woode

A few months ago I was part of a team that brought eight international, feature-length documentaries to the National Film Theatre as part of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival on Tour. The films were screened first in October, in Sheffield. By January, with the support of the British Film Institute, five of these films had toured thirteen cities across the country.

Appetite for Reality

By John Battsek

The feature documentary One Day in September, directed by Kevin Macdonald, won an Academy Award in 2000. It tells the story of the 1972, Munich Olympic games when 11 members of the Israeli team were taken hostage by the Palestinian Black September Group. The film’s producer, John Battsek, comments on his strategy for making the film.

Culture of Dissent

By Daniel Wilson

In Mark Thomas, Channel 4 have found their ‘water-cooler’ television. Now in its fifth series, The Mark Thomas Product has evolved into a fully-fledged media-machine in its own right. With its weekly content carefully guarded from the TV listings and judicious leaks to the press preceding each broadcast, it successfully shrouded itself in a buzz of expectation.

Challenge the Blight Paper!

By Daniel Schechter

Tony Blair is bracing himself for a new Battle of Britain with regard to his media policies. The gauntlet on the issue was thrown down when the government recently published a White Paper on a “New Future For Communications”

Smoke Signals from the Seventies

By Sylvia Harvey

Clicking our way across the vast but densely populated spaces of the net, embraced by its perpetual present of information unlimited, it might provide a moment of welcome relief to switch off the computer, open a book and follow a brief diversion into the past.

In the Light of Eduardo Guedes

By Pascale Lamche

Eduardo, my second dad, came from the South, where the sun shone and Cinema was invented – or so I thought when I was 10. But it didn’t change much as I got older, for he still brought light and depth of field, narrative and image-making to my contemplation, my range of senses.

New Kids on the Block

By Alexis Karlin

I met Teddy Leifer, producer, Ben Schiffer, writer, and Frankie Frears, assistant director, at the Wells Pub in Hampstead, a popular place for the people that their film, Fresh Defeats, portrays – rich, North London teenagers.

Moving Memories: Variety

By Ian Breakwell

In partnership with the British Film Institute, Vertigo has initiated two residencies to celebrate the National Film and Television Archive, and its work in preserving and reclaiming the visual image. Ian Breakwell and Nick Stewart describe their encounter with this extraordinary record of social and artistic history.

Moving Memories: Video / Film – Archival Traces

By Nick Stewart

Film and video are different media. This may seem obvious but in reality the two are often confused. I work with video precisely because it is – video, and not film

A Luta Continua!

By Michael Chanan

On the evidence of the Havana Film Festival, December 2000, cinema in Latin America continues to present a wide range of films with a strong sense of social consciousness and historical awareness, although nowadays the militant politics familiar from the militant 60s is somewhat muted.

Eye Candy or New Indie Cinema?

By Holly Aylett

The second event in the Women Take Centre Stage Festival, took place on International Women’s Day. It was a celebration of women, electronic music and moving images, organised by Debbie Dickinson of Jazz Moves.

Driessen: Multiple Image and Audience Expectation

By Ruth Lingford

Animation is well known as a particularly demanding mistress – the hours spent over a light-box or computer screen inducing the poor posture, repetitive strain injury and social maladjustment so common among the animation community.

Lessons from America

We want to signal E. Deidre Pribram’s important work on independent film in America where home-produced and imported films have “emerged as a distinct system of representation” formulated between “Hollywood popular film and alternative cinema practices”.

Volume 2 – Issue 1 – Spring 2001

Co-editors: Holly Aylett and James Leahy
Editorial Assistant: Daniel Wilson
Production: Luisa Films

Editorial Board: Holly Aylett, Yossi Bal, Michael Chanan, Anne Cottringer, Margaret Dickinson, Ben Gibson, Sylvia Harvey, James Leahy, Ruth Lingford, Julian Petley, William Raban, Felicity Sparrow

Editorial Advisors: Gill Branston, South Wales; Don Coutts, Glasgow; Judith Higginbotham, South West England; Sara McCarthy, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; Martin McLoone, Coleraine; Robin Macpherson, Edinburgh; Kevin Rockett, Dublin; Richard Taylor, Belfast

Original Print Design: Kalina Owczarek, 4i Group (T. 020 7439 4399)

Printed by: Quadracolor

With Special Thanks to: Alex, Walter, Guillaume; Pavlos and Pauline: Mondial Online; BFI Information; Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom; Richard Collins; David Curtis; Faction Films; Simon Field; Alan Fountain; 4i Group; Roma Gibson: BFI Distribution; Jane Giles; Monica Henriquez; Luisa Films; Helder Macedo; Bertrand Moullier; Bill Routt; Keith Shiri; Steve: Artificial Eye; Sylvia Stevens; Gary Thomas: Arts Council of England; Nancy Thumim

Original Print Edition published with financial assistance from: LFVDA, The Arts Council of England