July 28, 2014
by Catherine Grant

Publication of SEQUENCE 1.3 & 1.4, 2014

Sometimes considered under the name of “slow cinema” or “the new silent cinema” […] post-cinematic atavism is not limited to art-house or independent films. Indeed three of the nominees for Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards—HUGO (Martin Scorsese, 2011), THE TREE OF LIFE (Terrence Malick, 2011), and the winning film THE ARTIST (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)—participated in this renewed attention to earlier cinematic moments and aesthetics. Each of these films, as well as Lars von Trier’s 2011 MELANCHOLIA, which I will address in detail in this essay, makes stylistic, aesthetic, and cinematic choices that exhibit or display a kind of atavism—a reversion to or reemergence of an earlier cinematic moment through the anachronistic, atavistic expression in the present of prior, even outmoded cinematic traits that otherwise appear to have become extinct in the proliferation of hypermediated, digital, post-cinematic technical and aesthetic formats.As such these films can be seen to mark an increasing recognition in Hollywood of a fundamental shift, the ultimate extinction or disappearance of the platform of celluloid film and a consequent fear of the potential decentering of the film industry from the US across the globe as new digital film technologies allow for the inexpensive production and distribution of feature films […].

Richard Grusin, ‘Post-Cinematic Atavism’, SEQUENCE, 1.3, 2014. Online at: https://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/sequence1/1-3-post-cinematic-atavism/

[M]y argument […] sees speculative realism as one way of looking at how the question of death, human loss, and suffering, which finds alternative formulations in theology and humanist philosophy (in the traditional “nature versus grace” dichotomy), gets mapped onto a third, cosmological perspective – perhaps subliminally – in [three films –Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE (2011), Benh Zeitlin’s BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (2012), and Patricio Guzmán’s NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (2010) –], making cinema a venue in which the tensions between these three perspectives get acted out.

Selmin Kara, ‘BEASTS OF THE DIGITAL WILD: Primordigital Cinema and the Question of Origins’, SEQUENCE, 1.4, 2014. Online at: https://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/sequence1/1-4-primordigital-cinema/


We are delighted to announce the publication of two further individual responses — by Richard Grusin and Selmin Kara — to Steven Shaviro’s magisterial article “MELANCHOLIA, Or The Romantic Anti-Sublime”, SEQUENCE 1.1 (2012), the launch essay for PLANET MELANCHOLIA, the inaugural issue of SEQUENCE, REFRAME‘s experimental, peer-reviewed, media, film and music studies serial publication.

Following Rupert Read’s engagement with Shaviro in SEQUENCE 1.2, which offered a personal, affective (and deeply philosophical) account of Lars von Trier’s 2011 film Melancholia, in their very fine, equally philosophically-informed, contributions Grusin and Kara turn their detailed attention to the questions of “post-cinematic atavism” and “primordigitality” raised by the hybrid analog/digital technical and aesthetic contexts of a number of recent films, including Melancholia as well as Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist (2011), Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011), Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011), Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), and Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light (2010) .

We continue to invite further responses to Shaviro’s article as well as to those which have followed it in the SEQUENCE One thread, and also to the second issue of SEQUENCE: ‘We Need to Talk about the Maternal Melodrama‘.

April 9, 2014
by Catherine Grant

Publication of SEQUENCE 1.2, 2014

“[Lars von Trier’s Melancholia] functions as philosophy as therapy in the best sense of that word, in forcing upon us its viewers the responsibility to grow its truth beyond the point that it itself manifests. It offers us some conditions of possibility for what we might risk calling ‘a political sublime’: through offering us a vision of communion.”

“An Allegory of a ‘Therapeutic’ Reading of a Film: Of MELANCHOLIA” by Rupert Read (SEQUENCE 1.2 [2014])

We are delighted to announce the publication of a response to Steven Shaviro’s magisterial article “MELANCHOLIA, Or The Romantic Anti-Sublime”, SEQUENCE 1.1 (2012), the launch essay for PLANET MELANCHOLIA, the inaugural issue of SEQUENCE, REFRAME‘s experimental, peer-reviewed, media, film and music studies serial publication.

Rupert Read’s engagement with Shaviro (the publication of which was delayed somewhat by the need to locate a technological solution to the matter of showcasing its innovative form: 33 philosophical sections, with 33 endnotes and 33 sidenotes) offers a personal, affective, and deeply philosophical account of Lars von Trier’s 2011 film Melancholia, one which engages in detail not only with Shaviro’s work on this film, but also, as the earlier essay also did, with the important issues Melancholia raises about depression and the extinction of our planet on their own terms.

Further responses to Shaviro’s article are also in the works, and will be announced here soon. In the meantime, you can additionally read the second issue of SEQUENCE: ‘We Need to Talk about the Maternal Melodrama‘.

December 21, 2012
by Catherine Grant

eReading for the End of the World!

Click the image to access SEQUENCE 1.1: Planet Melancholia in eBook formatsThanks largely to the research expertise and practical skills of eBook meister and SEQUENCE co-editor Russell Pearce, our first array of eBook publications has just been launched — a central element in REFRAME and SEQUENCE’s particular model of academic ePublishing.

You can now read SEQUENCE 1.1 — Steven Shaviro’s magisterial and open access article about a film about the end of world (‘MELANCHOLIA, or, The Romantic Anti-Sublime‘) — in a variety of free eBook formats.

Just click here to check them out and download them to your devices. At the very least, they’ll take your mind off the end of the world. Or, then again, maybe they won’t.

September 6, 2012
by Catherine Grant

Presenting SEQUENCE One

We are delighted to introduce you to SEQUENCE One: Planet Melancholia.

SEQUENCE One is the first issue, or instalment, of SEQUENCE: Serial Studies in Media, Film and Music, an experimental, peer-reviewed, sequential edited-collection format. Each new scholarly SEQUENCE begins with the publication of one valuable contribution to research in the fields of media, film or music on a particular theme named in the issue title. But we, as editors, don’t necessarily know what the next in the series will be, or when exactly it will come. Each SEQUENCE could, theoretically, turn out to be ‘infinite’, or only as worthwhile as the first, self-contained contribution – a hopefully interesting and worthy, if possibly melancholic, monograph.

In any case, each contribution, and each evolving SEQUENCE will go onto be published in a variety of eReading formats, with the web version only the first in a series of digital iterations. Please follow this blog, or our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates about those.

We are very honoured that the first contribution to the Planet Melancholia SEQUENCE (1.1 [2012]) is film theorist and philosopher Steven Shaviro’s long essay ‘MELANCHOLIA, or, The Romantic Anti-Sublime. His work is a great and very wide-ranging study of Lars von Trier’s recent film, one that touches on object-oriented ontology, feminist representation, contemporary film melodrama, the Sublime, non-normative filmmaking, as well as the end of the world. What a tremendously fitting beginning. We thank him for that.

As we are sequentially inviting responses to the first entry in this the inaugural iteration of SEQUENCE, Shaviro’s article also constitutes a novel Call for Contributions for further Planet Melancholia sequences. If you’re inspired to respond, especially if you have related research work in progress on any of the topics raised by his essay and our title, please get in touch with us at SEQUENCEserial[at]gmail[dot]com. Multimedia responses of all kinds are also very much encouraged. But it would be worthwhile to discuss any substantial response with us at an early stage in your planning. All contributions need to comply with UK copyright law and the current understanding of fair dealing.

If you’d like to offer a shorter response, there is also the option of  leaving a comment in the moderated stream at the foot of each SEQUENCE One entry. SEQUENCES may be long and short in all sorts of ways.

We should be able publish ‘full-length’ responses quite quickly, although contributors should note that they will be formally peer-reviewed. But there are no editorial prescriptions on length or content, except that your work should be some kind of ‘sequential response’. If you don’t want to respond right away, you can still enter the ‘chain’ of responses later on.

SEQUENCE One is being produced by Catherine Grant and Russell Pearce, co-editors of the SEQUENCE project.

September 2012.


Read more about the SEQUENCE project