JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. For other details of the film’s low-budget production process, see “Bellflower,” Film Independent, accessed November 18, 2012,
http://www.filmindependent.org/resources/case-studies/bellflower/
.
[return to text]

2. James Rocchi, “‘Bellflower’: Brutal, Beautiful,” MSN Movies, accessed October 31, 2012,
http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-critic-reviews/bellflower/.

3. On the contradictions of indie culture’s taste distinctions, see Michael Z. Newman, “Indie Culture: In Pursuit of the Authentic Autonomous Alternative,” Cinema Journal 48, no. 3 (2009): 16-34; and Newman, Indie: An American Film Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).

4. Representative examples of such scholarship include Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984); Andreas Huyssen, “Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism’s Other,” After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 44-62; Sarah Thornton, Club Cultures: Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1996); and Joanne Hollows, “The Masculinity of Cult,” in Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste, eds. Mark Jancovich, Antonio Lázaro Reboll, Julian Stringer, and Andy Willis (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), 35-53.

5. Sally Robinson, “Feminized Men and Inauthentic Women,” Genders, no. 53 (2011):
http://www.genders.org/g53/g53_robinson.html.

6. James Rocchi, “South by Southwest and the Best of the Fest—So Far,” MSN Entertainment, accessed October 31, 2012,
http://entertainment.msn.com/news/article.aspx?news=635707
.

7. Zeynep Arsel and Craig J. Thompson, “Demythologizing Consumption Practices: How Consumers Defend Their Field-Dependent Identity Investments from Devaluing Marketplace Myths,” Journal of Consumer Research 37, no. 5 (2011): 792, 795-96, 800.

8. Jeffrey Sconce, “Baffled by Bellflower,” Ludic Despair (blog), posted September 26, 2012,
http://ludicdespair.blogspot.com/2012/09/baffled-by-bellflower.html.

9. David Buchbinder, Studying Men and Masculinities (London: Routledge, 2013), 85. [return to page 2]

10. Sharon R. Bird, “Welcome to the Men’s Club: Homosociality and the Maintenance of Hegemonic Masculinity,” Gender & Society 10, no. 2 (1996): 126, 130.

11. David Buchbinder, “Enter the Schlemiel: The Emergence of Inadequate or Incompetent Masculinities in Recent Film and Television,” Canadian Review of American Studies 38, no. 2 (2008): 236-37.

12. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).

13. Ross Gibson, South of the West: Postcolonialism and the Narrative Construction of Australia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 77.

14. Sconce, “Baffled by Bellflower.”

15. Karen Boyle and Susan Berridge, “I Love You, Man: Gendered Narratives of Friendship in Contemporary Hollywood Comedies,” Feminist Media Studies 14, no. 2 (2014), forthcoming. (My thanks to the authors for graciously sending me an advance version of this article.) As Boyle and Berridge continue, this narrative resolution contrasts with contemporary films about female friendship (e.g., Baby Mama [2008], Bridesmaids [2011]), which tend to downplay potential homoeroticism by focusing on larger groups of preexisting friends than dyadic relationships. These films also mark heterosexual couple formation as a point of narrative resolution connoting the female friendship’s symbolic end. In Bellflower, the growing rift between Milly and Courtney is consonant with this dynamic. Once the latter becomes sexually involved with Woodrow, their inter-female friendship is depicted as a stage incompatible with heterosexual relationships.

16. Benjamin Mercer, “Is Indie Smash ‘Bellflower’ Sexist? Sure, but Also Derivative,” The Atlantic, August 10, 2011,
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/08/is-indie-smash-bellflower-sexist-sure-but-also-derivative/243427/
.

17. Ian Buckwalter, “Out of Frame: Bellflower,” DCist, posted September 9, 2011, http://dcist.com/2011/09/bellflower.php.

18. Keith Phipps, “Movie Review: Bellflower,” The A.V. Club, August 4, 2011, http://www.avclub.com/articles/bellflower,59936/.

19. Carbog, comment on “Bellflower - Official Trailer [HD],” YouTube.com, accessed November 17, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3KX2IPTbjE.

20. Eric Lichtenfeld, Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004), 129. [return to page 3]

21. Christopher Sharrett, “The Hero as Pastiche: Myth, Male Fantasy, and Simulacra in Mad Max and The Road Warrior,” Journal of Popular Film and Television 13, no. 2 (1985): 84-85, 89; Dennis H. Barbour, “Heroism and Redemption in the Mad Max Trilogy,” Journal of Popular Film and Television 27, no. 3 (1999): 32; and Adrian Martin, The Mad Max Movies (Australian Screen Classics) (Sydney: Currency Press/ScreenSound Australia, 2003), 17-18.

22. Sharrett, “The Hero as Pastiche,” 87.

23. Martin, The Mad Max Movies, 50-52.

24. At the climax of The Road Warrior, Wez is perched atop the grill of a speeding tanker truck driven by Max. Before the murderous Wez can pull the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) off the hood of the truck, Lord Humungus crashes head-on into the front of the tanker. The two villains/lovers are instantly killed.

25. Buchbinder, Studying Men and Masculinities, 87-88.

26. Christian Thorne, “The Revolutionary Energy of the Outmoded,” October, no. 104 (2003): 113-14.

27. Paul A. Taylor, “Maestros or Misogynists? Gender and the Social Construction of Hacking,” in Dot.cons: Crime, Deviance, and Identity on the Internet, ed. Yvonne Jewkes (Portland, OR: Willan Publishing, 2003), 129, 131-33, 136-37. Also see Alison E. Adam, “Hacking into Hacking: Gender and the Hacking Phenomenon,” ACM SIGCAS Computers and Society 32, no. 7 (2004): 0095-2737.

28. Daniela Rosner and Jonathan Bean, “Learning from IKEA Hacking: ‘I’m Not One to Decoupage a Tabletop and Call It a Day,’” CHI 2009: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Boston, MA, April 4-9, 2009 (New York: Association for Computing Machinery, 2009), 420-22. Kaya Oakes notes that the women who predominantly participate in DIY crafting cultures also fear theft of their creative ideas by major corporations scouting through DIY marketplaces. See Oakes, Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture (New York: Henry Holt, 2009), 177, 185.

29. P. J. Rey, “Hipsters and Low-Tech,” Cyborgology (blog), posted September 26, 2012,
http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/09/26/hipsters-and-low-tech/.

30. Peter Simek, “Movie Review: Bellflower is a Male Hipster Fantasy That Can’t Even Be Bothered to Blow Up Its Characters,” D Magazine, September 9, 2011,
http://frontrow.dmagazine.com/2011/09/movie-review-bellflower-is-a-male-hipster-fantasy-that-cant-even-be-bothered-to-blow-up-its-characters/.

31. Aymar Jean Christian, “Joe Swanberg, Intimacy, and the Digital Aesthetic,” Cinema Journal 50, no. 4 (2011): 119-20, 134-35. Quote at 135.

32. Newman, “Indie Culture,” 22-24.

33. Christy Wampole, “How to Live Without Irony,” New York Times, November 17, 2012,
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/how-to-live-without-irony/.

34. On the use of irony as a defensive cover in male cult film fandom, see Jacinda Read, “The Cult of Masculinity: From Fan-boys to Academic Bad-boys,” in Defining Cult Movies, 61-63.

35. James Penner, Pinks, Pansies, and Punks: The Rhetoric of Masculinity in American Literary Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), 118, 120.

36. Christian Lorentzen, “Why the Hipster Must Die,” Time Out New York, May 30, 2007,
http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/
why-the-hipster-must-die
.

37. For a parody of this affectation taken to exaggerated extremes, see the sketch “Dream of the 1890s,” from the IFC series Portlandia (2011-), YouTube.com, accessed February 4, 2013,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPKe9OfWs-M.
Along with Rick Alverson’s film The Comedy (2012), Portlandia is perhaps the quintessential comedic skewering of hipster lifeways. The Comedy aptly depicts the hipster milieu as home to privileged, white pseudo-bohemians aimlessly living off trust funds. With no apparent income but plenty of capital to invest in their DIY hobbies, Woodrow and Aiden could fit a similar profile, although they are not explicitly identified by the film as such.

38. Tony Coles, “Negotiating the Field of Masculinity: The Production and Reproduction of Multiple Dominant Masculinities,” Men and Masculinities 12, no. 1 (2009): 31-33, 38. Quote at 33. Also see Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993).

39. Coles, “Negotiating the Field of Masculinity,” 39.

40. On the Bellflower Model II camera, see John Pavlus, “The Secret Sauce Behind Bellflower, a Buzzy Indie Film? Handmade Cameras,” Fast Company, posted August 1, 2011,
http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664622/the-secret-sauce-behind-bellflower-a-buzzy-indie-film-handmade-cameras. [return to page 4]

41. Several other examples include House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Pervert! (2005), Sukiyaki Western Django (2007), Viva (2007), Black Devil Doll (2007), Hell Ride (2008), Bitch Slap (2009), Black Dynamite (2009), Machete (2010), Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives (2010), Hobo with a Shotgun (2011), and Dear God No! (2011).

42. Steven, “Evan Glodell – The Next Great American Filmmaker – Creator of ‘Bellflower,’” Cinedork.com (blog), posted August 5, 2011,
http://cinedork.com/2011/08/05/evan-glodell-the-next-great-american-filmmaker-creator-of-bellflower/
.
The making of fake “grindhouse” trailers has helped build online buzz among genre aficionados, with several trailers spinning off into finished feature films. Examples include Machete, Hobo with a Shotgun, Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010), Nun of That (2009), and Father’s Day (2011). Bellflower itself, however, did not have such origins as a fake trailer, even if the film’s visual style is still informed by an ersatz “grindhouse aesthetic” of simulated aging that helped build its air of indie distinction.

43. Fight Club is again a key point of reference here, by equating a masculinist rejection of the feminized mainstream with moments where the cinematic apparatus suddenly lurches into view. Occupying an increasingly outdated occupation, Tyler Durden is a part-time projectionist who splices frames of hardcore pornography (“a nice big cock”) into family films (and into the last shot of Fight Club itself). He also literally points out the appearance of the intentionally added blotches (“cigarette burns”) that appear in the corner of the filmic frame to signal the 35mm reel’s approaching end. Bellflower and Fight Club thus share not only a rejection of femininity as men intimately bond through violence. Fight Club’s linkage of eruptive masculinity and eruptive celluloid materiality can also be seen as an important precursor to the simulated “grindhouse aesthetic” popularized in the late 2000s.

44. Buckwalter, “Out of Frame: Bellflower.”

45. Nathan Jurgenson, “The Faux-Vintage Photo: Full Essay (Parts I, II, and III),” Cyborgology (blog), posted May 14, 2011,
http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/05/14/the-faux-vintage-photo-full-essay-parts-i-ii-and-iii/
.

46. Andreas Huyssen, “Present Pasts: Media, Politics, Amnesia,” Public Culture 12, no. 1 (2000): 27-28.

47. Mary E. Lord, “Imag{in}ing Nostalgia,” Harlot, no. 5 (2010):
http://harlotofthearts.org/index.php/harlot/article/view/66/56.
Although introduced in 2010, Hipstamatic’s website includes a fake backstory about the technology, claiming that it originated as a real-world analog camera in 1982 (incidentally, the year after The Road Warrior’s release) before being rediscovered and repurposed for the digital age years later. See G. Beato, “Disposable Hip,” The Baffler, March 2012, 108.

48. Matt Barone, “Interview: ‘Bellflower’ Director-Star Evan Glodell Talks Guerilla-Style Filmmaking and Homemade Flamethrowers,” Complex, August 5, 2011,
http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/08/interview-bellflower-director-star-evan-glodell.


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