(Visual) Notes on Culture
  Zine Scene: UBCinephile

UBCinephile: The Film Studies Journal of the University of British Columbia

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 Vancouver where I picked up this very magazine): academics applying a broad slate of highly theoretical works to a certain film. Thus, a subheading in Evan’s own (and despite the following criticism, excellent, insightful, and welcome piece) “I’m in love! I’m a believer!: Structures of Belief in Jonathan Glazer’s Birth” reads “TRANSPARENCY & TRANSUBSTATIATION: RECUPERATING THE VULGARITY OF THE INHERENT TRANSGRESSION.” By and large, the writings here reflect a new posture in academic film writing, which attempts to appropriate theoretical (dare I say it…) jargon to the most highly serious ends. Not a bad pursuit in itself, but one suspects that these articles, which prove the writers to be rapt disciples of Deleuze, Lacan, and Slavoj Zizek, are more a reflection of the graduate studies course load/reading list than the genuine interests of the writers.

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 Canada will be able to), check out their archives:


New issue is up! See what you think.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home
Personal news and "found" images.

My Photo

Writer on film, culture, art, media, and music.

July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 /

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]