While plenty of my recollections of the novel have sadly faded since then, one remains indelible: In the age of Google Translate and artificial intelligence, we might even be tempted to abandon the question altogether, and let our smartphones do the talking.
Isabelle McNeill draws upon a unique set of personal passions and professional interests in her role as the Philomathia Fellow in French at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.
McNeill specializes in French cinema and theory. Already the author of Memory and the Moving Image: McNeill is currently hard at work, researching and writing a book on the cinematic rooftops of Paris, which engages with questions of perspective, urban space and cultural history in relation to cinema.
She recently took some time to discuss her background, provide some enlightening insights on film as an object of cultural study, as well as share some thoughts on one film in particular that has been the subject of immense critical acclaim over the past year.
Tell us a little bit about you personally before we get to your professional interests. Where did you grow up? I grew up not so very far away from Cambridge, first in Oxford and then in rural Somerset which seemed a long drive when I was a student at Cambridge University.
However we lived for a short time in Tuscon, Arizona, when I was five, which gave my brother and I a sense of a wider world. I have incredibly powerful memories of that time and place, with its breathtaking natural beauty, dangers gun crime was a big problem and social inequality far more glaring than back home [in England.
What were you like as a youth, and does anything from that time stand out as an indicator of what your future career would entail? I was a bookish child and dreamed of being a writer. I also used to devour old Hollywood films that were shown on TV on weekend afternoons. Our house was always full of books, music, discussion and laughter.
Since a lot of my adventures came through books or films, I think I was always fascinated by how that worked, how art could create other worlds.
So you grew up mostly in England, with some time spent in America; at what point, and how, did your interest in French culture, language and cinema enter the equation?
My grandmother was a school French teacher and taught me my first words when I was tiny. But the breakthrough came when I went on a French exchange near Bordeaux: I became a little obsessed and was constantly translating in my head, experimenting with sentence structures and learning new vocabulary.
In my teens I started reading French literature and poetry: I studied modern languages at University, which included a year spent in France. I studied history of art, feeding my love of visual culture, and watched a lot of films in the local arthouse theatre.
The French have an impressive cinema-going culture. I also met my husband, who is French, during that year. Britain leaving the European Union is a terrible prospect for our family and in general.
It definitely started with a love of cinema. Modern French literature is very intertwined with French and continental philosophy. Reading the work of post-structuralist thinkers like Derrida, Foucault, Kristeva and Cixous as an undergrad challenged my assumptions and made me better understand the role language plays in shaping our ways of seeing and thinking.
Then I discovered that film is even more complex, because it is made of images as well as words, and images are slippery in quite a different way. Photographed images seem to be so simply what they represent.
The analysis of film in an academic environment is often based on things that an average popcorn-eating moviegoer would pay no attention to: Do you think that having a base of critical theory and analysis under your belt fundamentally changes the way that one views a film?
The vast majority of films use conventions designed to immerse the viewer in a story and hide the artifice that produces that story and its fictional or even documentary world. Learning how films are made, even on quite a basic level, reveals the artifice that is usually hidden.
The magic of cinema still persists! Theory enables further analysis of how these technical aspects of film intersect with broader questions, such as context, ideology, or how film form manipulates and constructs time and space.
I want to understand the role the film plays in creating it and here I take it that meaning is constituted between the film and the person viewing it — what the individual, who is both unique and part of various groups and contexts, brings to it is something that reception studies try to address, a very complicated and interesting field!
I mentioned that film criticism can challenge what we see or think. It is perhaps more about understanding what different meanings the film makes possible, how they are produced, and questioning the assumptions that underpin them. Just as films use conventional aesthetic techniques developed over the years, such as flashbacks, voice-over or shot-reverse-shot sequences, so too do they draw on a bank of cultural knowledge.Monday, November 19, at Buenos Aires- The book is an essential and vital object that allows to transmit a cultural vision through the imagination, hence its interest in the transmission of knowledge and culture to the child, assured, Keren Benoliel, author of a .
Indiana University Press was founded in and is today recognized internationally as a leading academic publisher specializing in the humanities and social sciences.
Culture is the common denominator that makes the actions of the individuals understandable to a particular group. That is, the system of shared values, beliefs, behaviours, and artefacts making up a society’s way of life.
A time line from before writing began to the present, linked to Andrew Roberts' book Social Science History and to other resources. This page is being built up as a selected list of links to other websites containing innovative & interesting writing, or links to this.
Last completely updated, May 19, ; partially updated (largely British sites), February T HE essays collected in this book have mostly, but not all, appeared in print. In Europe they have appeared in the Rationalist Annual, the Bermondsey Book, the Nation, the Daily Mail, the World To-Day, the Manchester Guardian, the Graphic, the Weekly Dispatch, Discovery, Modern Science, and the Haagsche regardbouddhiste.com America they have been .