UBCinephile: The Film Studies Journal of the
Volume 2: Theology & the Political (March 2006)
This is not strictly a zine, per se: UBCinephile is styled as an academic, peer-reviewed film journal. From what I can tell, it is produced once a year and resembles the DIY aesthetic of most zines, albeit with strictly scholarly content. Before examining it too closely, I’d like to throw a certain amount of support behind it: edited by graduate students and providing space for undergraduate writings, it could be an invaluable resource for a student’s first forays into writing. While it is archived online, its existence as a print artifact makes its goals more alluring.
That said, the theme of the issue “Theology & the Political” is a bit of an after-the-fact moniker. Editor Christine Evans posits a bold program of intent: “It is therefore the aim of this issue of UBCinephile to accept both theology and the political as coercive and reciprocal objects rooted and comprehended in the realm of the symbolic: if all theology is inherently political and all politics essentially theological, how does the idea of theology manifest in the current cultural sphere?” There are no “theory of everything articles” here, but rather a newer breed of academic film writing (I noticed its prevalence at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in
Taking popular cinema seriously is a valuable, often maligned, practice, so R. Colin Tait’s piece on I (Heart) Huckabees and David Hucka’s work on The Passion of the Christ (sure to be one of the most often written-about movies of the next ten years) deserve time. Given my interests, the most engaging essay is “Metamorphic Death: Post-Mortem & Spirit Photography in Narrative Cinema” by Katherine Pettit. Those Victorians, as we know, had a strange attraction to capturing real/metaphorical/suggestive death via photographs, a practice which continues in some recent cinema.
Rounding out the zine are some fine book reviews that provide pungent assessments of some major works by bigwigs like Jean Baudrillard and Fredric Jameson. One must have a stomach for heady stuff before tackling the writing of this particular iteration of UBCinephile, but it is worthwhile stuff. If you cannot find a print copy (and few outside of
Writer on film, culture, art, media, and music.