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Mark Betz

Related: exploitation film


Mark Betz is a film scholar. His research interests include Post-World War II European cinema, non-Western and alternative cinemas, nationalism and national identity, imperialism and postcolonialism, exploitation cinemas, film historiography, the archive, contemporary film theory.

See also: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/filmstudies/Betz.html

Exploitation film studies

Though it has only recently shown up on Film Studies’ radar, exploitation cinema has long been a site of inordinate interest at the levels of moral and legal discourses on the one hand, and ritualised moviegoing, grassroots publishing, connoisseurship, and other forms of fan activity on the other.

The central focus of the course-American exploitation cinema from the late 1950s through the late 1980s-allows for a detailed analysis of some of the more famous and/or influential texts in the history of the American cinema, texts that broke new ground for filmic representations of violence and sexuality.

The core themes of exploitation cinema-youth, the family, modernity, race, class, the body-are constituted as sources of both anxiety and visual fascination in a host of cycles that reached a peak in this period, including juvenile delinquency/drugs, sex hygiene, mondo, gore, softcore, hardcore, artsploitation, and rape revenge.

Detailed analysis of both the films and the writings produced on these cycles will demonstrate the ways in which, as one scholar puts it, exploitation films “crystallize, exaggerate, and expose the ‘ground rules’ from which mainstream films are built.”

This study of exploitation cinema as an aesthetic, industrial, and sociological phenomenon works towards, then, a fuller understanding of mainstream contemporary cinema culture, which has mirrored, copied, or otherwise benefitted from exploitation cinema at the same time as it has distanced itself from it. -- Dr Mark Betz via http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/filmstudies/courses/exploitation/exploitation=syllabus.htm [Apr 2005]

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