Folklore/Cinema: Popular Film as Vernacular Culture

Folklore/Cinema: Popular Film as Vernacular Culture

Mikel J. Koven

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0874216737

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Interest in the conjunctions of film and folklore is stronger and more diverse than ever. Ethnographic documentaries on folk life and expression remain a vital genre, but scholars such as Mikel Koven and Sharon Sherman also are exploring how folklore elements appear in, and merge with, popular cinema. They look at how movies, a popular culture medium, can as well be both a medium and type of folklore, playing cultural roles and conveying meanings customarily found in other folkloric forms. They thus use the methodology of folklore studies to “read” films made for commercial distribution.

The contributors to this book look at film and folklore convergences, showing how cinema conveys vernacular—traditional and popular—culture. Folklore/ Cinema will be of interest to scholars from many fields—folklore, film studies, popular culture, American studies, history, anthropology, and literature among them—and will help introduce students in various courses to intersections of film and culture.

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Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film History

The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies

Mulholland Drive (Philosophers on Film)

Bresson and Others: Spiritual Style in the Cinema

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film




















coming of age which represent a cultural paradox. On the one hand, middle-class parents and educators have become proponents of early learning through toys and strategies that enhance neurological development in children. On the other hand, the propensity of children for tech toys such as video and computer games, for using the Internet to circumvent adult supervision, and for using a mouse before they can even tie shoes frightens adults and reinforces the idea that youth is simply out of

recklessly listing the gambling dens that he owns. Thematically, then, the student himself is innocent of deserting his friends and values because an evil machine has infiltrated him. “Bad files” are never the fault of the young but of an evil (adult) programmer behind the scenes. The child as a machine has no agency, and his actions are entirely the result of an environment orchestrated by good or evil educators. This conclusion indicates a rather pervasive cultural pattern by which we refuse to

blame the young for having gone awry. Partly, this film helps historically to locate the emergent definition of the brain as an information-processing unit, coinciding with the information-processing revolution occurring in the cognitive sciences during the 1950s and ’60s (Hall 2004, 1). The parallels between the learning brain of a young person and the computer became apparent in everyday language, such as “memory,” “artificial intelligence,” and “motherboard,” an organic metaphor commonly

possibility of its resolution. From what a particular tale implied about man’s [or woman’s] despair, hopes and methods of overcoming tribulations, the patient could discover not only a way out of his distress but also a way to find himself as the hero of the story did” (Bettelheim 1977, 25). Bettelheim makes a similar observation: “Consolation is the greatest service that a fairy tale can offer a child: the confidence that despite all tribulations that he [or she] has to suffer…not only will he

calls for no less than her father’s life. Once she makes the decision to seek out Elzora rather than Mozelle, she leaves her innocence behind and is on her way to becoming a conjure woman. Eve is clearly the union of Mozelle and Elzora. She is the intermediary or reconciling figure between the conjure woman as healer and one who can do harm. Not only does she reconcile the two sides of the The Three Faces in Eve’s Bayou 159 conjure woman, but she ties this role to the griot as well. Eve is

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