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Rock 'N' Film: Cinema's Dance with Popular Music

Tuesday 14 March 2017, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor David E James, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California

We are delighted to welcome the distinguished film scholar Professor David E James, who will present the lecture he gave in January to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science in Los Angeles.

For two decades after the mid-1950s, biracial popular music played a fundamental role in progressive social movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Balancing rock 'n’ roll’s capacity for utopian popular cultural empowerment against its utility for the capitalist media industries, Professor James explores how the music's contradictory potentials were reproduced in various kinds of cinema from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s - from Rock Around the Clock to Woodstock. Adapting the methodologies that film historians have used in respect to the classic film musical, he will discuss the themes of romance and community, and show how the rock 'n' roll film both displaced and recreated inherited cinematic conventions.

David James teaches in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.  His teaching and research interests focus on avant-garde cinema, culture in Los Angeles, East-Asian cinema, film and music, and working-class culture. His study of American film in the sixties, Allegories of Cinema (1989) is the defining study of its field.  Recent books include Power Misses: Essays across (Un)Popular Culture and The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles. He also co-editor of the collection Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980. He was recipient of the Academy Film Scholar award for 2007, which supported his work on  Rock 'N' Film, now published by Oxford University Press.  In  2016, he was the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Film and Screen, University of Cambridge.

Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York Campus West