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EFM 2023 : Elements and Film Music


When N/A
Where Lexington Books
Submission Deadline TBD
Categories    film music   the elements in film

Call For Papers

Robert Bird’s study of Andrei Tarkovsky’s cinema, published in 2008, was given a significant yet ambiguous subtitle: 'Elements of Cinema'. Looking for the key to understanding the famous director’s films, the author took as guides “four traditional elements of matter, each captured through the distinct elements of cinema that conditioned Tarkovsky's work, from 'system' and 'imagination' to 'screen', 'image', 'story' and 'shot'”. Images of the elements, with their culturally defined symbolism – Earth as a vessel for nostalgia, water as the universal element of art and a medium of representation – became the building blocks of the unique atmosphere of Tarkovsky's films.
These kinds of images have been present in cinema since its beginning, performing different functions and carrying different meanings depending on the cultural context, the chosen aesthetic, the authorial sensibility of the director, and even the specifics of the genre. In the works of the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, Earth is something else than the land depicted in the melancholic Turkish films by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Water gradually freezing into the form of snow means something different in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s 'Drive My Car' than in Andrey Zvyagintsev's 'Loveless', even though both films tell the stories of the loss of a loved one. Fire in David Lynch’s thrillers and Roland Emmerich’s catastrophic films is not the same. Air takes on different meanings in Hayao Miyazaki’s animations and in the numerous adaptations of Emily Brontë’s 'Wuthering Heights'.
Although cinema privileges the sense of sight, it should not be forgotten that other senses – particularly hearing – also play an important role in experiencing the elements. Gaston Bachelard shows that the multisensory experience of the Elements can in turn become a vehicle for imagination or memory. With this in mind, we wish to explore the relationship of the cinematic images of earth, air, fire, and water with film music, and how the latter corresponds to the former. We are interested in film music involved in highlighting the visual attributes – depending on the type of films, their cultural context of creation, or the directors’ strategy.
Topics of interest may include (but are not limited to):
- the nature of the music accompanying the various Elements;
- its specificity depending on the Element depicted in the film;
- the musical qualities/parameters used by composers to achieve specific sounds;
- possible references to classical/folk music and its traditions;
- the role of music in film genres strongly affiliated with specific Elements (for example: catastrophic films, marinistic films…);
- film music and the symbolism of Elements in various cultures.
A variety of examples of world cinematography are welcome. But contributions that aspire to a holistic and synthesizing approach – concerning the relationship between image and music regarding these four Elements – would be of particular value.
The submission process will be two-part: interested participants are asked to submit a 500-word abstract summarizing their potential article (including the title of the chapter, Author’s Name and short CV with the information whether the Author holds PhD). Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full chapter for consideration (full chapter should be no less than 5,000 words).

Abstracts should be sent as a Microsoft Word or PDF document and should be submitted by February 15th, 2023. Please submit abstracts or any questions about the application process to Magdalena Kempna-Pieniążek and Bogumila Mika from the University of Silesia in Katowice.
Contributors will be contacted by March 1st, 2023, and full paper submissions will be due July 31st, 2023.
Interest in publishing the essay collection was expressed by Lexington Books (The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group).

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