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'On Cinema' symposium discusses future of film theory

(04/17/19 4:00am)

Given the advent of streaming giants, the trend of binge-watching and the ever-growing mergers of content-creators in the film and television industry, it seems fitting to address whether the common account of cinematic theory holds true under these new conditions. To reevaluate its past and the future was the objective of a mini-conference held Friday at the Franklin Humanities Institute, under the title “On Cinema.”

Q&A: Film critic Pietro Bianchi talks psychoanalysis, teaching and Žižek

(04/10/19 4:00am)

Originally from Bergamo, Italy, Pietro Bianchi is as regular film critic for Cineforum, Doppiozero and DinamoPress. In 2014, he joined Duke’s Department of Romance Studies for further graduate study. Most of his publications explore the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and its potential for film studies, which he will present next week at the FHI. The Chronicle spoke with Bianchi about his current projects and the mechanics of film criticism.

Visiting Vienna-based artists discuss campus architecture and sculpture and video work

(04/02/19 4:00am)

Vienna-based visual artists Markus Hanakam and Roswitha Schuller recently visited Duke to work with the Building Duke Bass Connections project and to present some of their own work. Both Hanakam and Schuller are graduates of the Austrian University of Applied Arts and work at the intersection of sculpture and video, emphasizing the shifts of form and matter in their “artefacts.” Previously, they have exhibited work in Moscow, Prague and Paris. The Chronicle spoke with the duo about their creative process and their impressions of American colleges. The interview has been translated from German and shortened for clarity.

Recess roundtable: Why criticism?

(02/24/19 5:00am)

Much discussion has erupted in recent weeks regarding the (purportedly) fading necessity of reviews. In an age of discontinued Netflix-star-ratings, Amazon top customer reviewers and enraged YouTubers, the long-form reviews of movies, books or music that once dominated newspapers are increasingly seen as antiquated or downright ignorant. Ahead of the Oscars on Sunday, staff writer Joel Kohen, culture editor Will Atkinson and design editor Nina Wilder chimed in with their opinions as to why thorough media criticism still deserves a place at the table of today’s journalism.

Cecy’s Art Hall seeks to establish permanent place for art in Durham’s Central Park

(02/20/19 5:10am)

With almost 10 percent of its undergraduate population hailing from New York, Duke’s student body may have a different idea of what constitutes “Central Park” than local Durhamites. Located just off Main Street and next to the YMCA, Durham Central Park features a playground and hosts the renowned farmers' and art market that also bring food trucks, music and crafts to town. 

Polish film 'Cold War' makes a strong case for film as art

(02/12/19 5:05am)

Garnering three Oscar nominations, more than any prior Polish production, it seemed like Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” was destined to make history even before most American theaters decided to screen it. Ahead of the actual Academy Awards, the film has been the subject of discussions erupted concerning its cinematography, accuracy and politics. Many Americans might confront such a chiefly European production with skepticism, yet the movie now reaches wider and wider audiences across the country, defying initial expectations and mirroring its continental success.

Growing up with Brecht

(01/23/19 6:05am)

When my parents moved to East Germany in the 1990s, Stalinist memorabilia still adorned many corners and offices. “Real socialism” had broken down a few years prior, but the bleak relicts of empty houses, gray skies and scarce infrastructure still made it a rather unwelcoming place. My parents probably did not pay too much heed, then, when they enrolled me at a school named after writer Bertolt Brecht, who had once been persecuted for “un-American activities” under Joe McCarthy. Neither did I, as it was simply the only school in the area. So I began my schooling walking past the bust of a socialist icon without even noticing.

Novelist Yan Lianke underlines Nobel Prize ambitions in 'The Day the Sun Died'

(12/26/18 5:00am)

Larry Moneta’s recent comments concerning China were heavily debated among Duke students, but they also revealed a much larger truth: Chinese culture is still a foreign world for most Americans, though more and more Americans now recognize China as a country worthy of their business interests. The language barrier is often perceived to be too large; therefore, its literature tends to receive only sparse attention.

The Archive's poetry reading showcases students' literary talents

(12/05/18 5:15am)

One of the more solitary liberal arts, poetry tends to keep a low profile. Although Duke may not offer a creative writing major, its student body and faculty contain numerous avid poets. This literary talent was evident at the Salon, an annual public poetry reading organized by The Archive, the university’s literary magazine, Saturday.

Visiting professor Lucy Corin discusses MFAs, short stories

(11/14/18 5:40am)

Lucy Corin, Trinity ’92, is a writer and visiting professor of English at Duke, as well as professor of English at the University of California at Davis. She has published two collections of short stories, “One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses” and “The Entire Predicament" and one novel, “Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls." She is currently working on her second novel. The Chronicle spoke with Corin about her writing and what writing has shaped her.

Duke music professor releases book on magic of collaboration

(11/07/18 5:25am)

Like many of their artistic peers, famous composers are commonly panned as egocentric monomaniacs obsessed with their own genius. To challenge this myth, Duke professor Thomas Brothers recently published “Help! The Beatles, Duke Ellington and the Magic of Collaboration,” a new book dedicated to the methods of collective composition. Citing two seemingly unrelated groups — the Beatles, a British rock band, and Duke Ellington’s famous jazz orchestra — Brothers explores the various ways in which their music was a lot more than the product of singular brilliance.  

Ahead of Hollywood remake, Carolina Theatre screens Dario Argento’s 'Suspiria'

(10/31/18 5:30am)

Given the towering dominance of Hollywood in the modern age of film-making, it seems quite improbable that a production from a smaller European genre cinema could have an everlasting impact on America’s cultural memory. This, however, is precisely what happened in July 1977, when Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” first premiered in theaters, five months after its initial release in Italy. This year, a highly anticipated Luca Guadagnino-directed remake is set to be wide released Friday, and ample comparisons to the original are bound to follow. To celebrate the cult film which ushered in a new era of horror film-making, the Carolina Theatre has scheduled several screenings of an uncut, 4K restoration from Monday to Thursday.

Oktoberfest brings German food and culture to Duke's campus

(10/17/18 4:45am)

The patio outside Au Bon Pain is usually populated by busy students eager to finish their homework or by hungry ones who prefer the natural air to the AC’s constant blast inside. On Friday, however, the area became home to a dazzling crowd celebrating Oktoberfest, a traditional German holiday held annually at the beginning of fall.  

Post-rock, postmodern, post-natural: Harvard professor discusses contemporary architecture

(10/03/18 4:15am)

Although Duke is widely known for its neo-Gothic West Campus towers, most students know little about architecture’s elements of style or alternative forms. To curb this trend, the Literature department invited architectural theorist and historian K. Michael Hays to give a public lecture titled “Phenomenality, Materiality, and Inscription: Trends in Contemporary Architecture” Wednesday.  

Where have all the readers gone?

(09/26/18 4:35am)

Universities and books would appear to be a match made in heaven. Cultural depictions often show college students dressed casually, bespectacled, and in most cases, with a stack of books tucked under their arm, hurrying from classrooms to libraries and back. With Duke being no exception to a world that is busy and hectic, do students still resort to books and leisure reading when they want to escape their packed schedules?  

'Mission Impossible: Fallout' is action at its finest, but fails to make it last

(09/12/18 4:15am)

It could have all been so perfect. Standing in front of a scenic lake overshadowed by endlessly green mountains, former special agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is about to marry the love of his life, the civilian doctor Julia (Michelle Monaghan). Her cream-white dress beautifully matches her husband’s spotless smile, as they embark on a life of peace and equanimity. Hunt has, to use espionage terminology, “come home.”