I’ve recently signed a contract for my next book, Art Cinema: Positioning Films and the Construction of Cultural Value. I’m quite excited about this project, which is already at an advanced stage, due for submission late summer for publication by I.B. Tauris in 2018. It’s a expansion of some of the key issues I’ve been exploring in recent work, focusing on the ways certain kinds of cultural value and status are accorded to art cinema – and so widening the scope of my focus beyond the American contexts (indie, Indiewood and the studio ‘quality’ film) that have been my main objects of study in recent years. In its focus on the bases on which notions of cultural value are attributed (or otherwise) to certain kinds of film, it builds particularly on some approaches central to my recent Quality Hollywood: Markers of Distinction in Contemporary Studio Film (2016).
I haven’t been posting much here of late, mostly because I’ve been working on this book without having a publisher in place, and so have been a bit reticent (I’ve previously usually got publishers lined up at an earlier stage in the writing process, so this is an unusual situation for me). One thing of which I’ve become increasingly aware over the last year or more is how contentious a field the study of art cinema can be, from some responses I’ve had to my initial proposal. If the American indie sector is an area in which plenty of strongly held investments exist, including on the part of those who study the subject, this seems to be all the more so for art film, a category that remains highly contested.
My book on this subject includes a focus on academic ways of positioning art cinema and attributing to it certain kinds of higher worth, and some of the usually unspoken assumptions (and often excessive claims) on which these sometimes rest, which makes it likely to be more contentious that my previous work.
Will be posting some more details about aspects of the book here in the future.