Elizabeth Christie, Auteur in the digital age, PhD
Paul Macovaz, Provisional title: Jean Epstein, Pathos, Plasticity, PhD
Walter McIntosh, Poetic representation of the past in first-person documentary film, PhD
Jared Orth, Methodological Practice in the Study of Film, MPhil (Film)
Martin Silverton, Untimely Mediations: How Film Writes History or, a meditation on the value of cinema for life, PhD
For as long as I can remember, I have had an unwavering passion for film. Acting as a young child, in shows such as G.P., Family & Friends, and A Country Practice, and in numerous TVCs and short films, I would spend hours on set writing and rewriting screenplays for future films that I wished to direct (mainly of horror or action persuasion). From a young age I was an avid fan of Sergio Leone, Hitchcock, and Capra.
At Sydney University - having come from Sydney Grammar School - the opportunity to study both film, and my equal passion literature, was quickly taken up. My favourite directors range from Howard Hawks to Nicholas Roeg, from Mario Bava and Dario Argento to Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood; Ingmar Bergman, Raoul Walsh, Orson Welles, Don Siegel, John Ford, Michael Curtiz, Paul Verhoeven, Fritz Lang, David Cronenberg, and, my all-time favourite filmmaker, Sam Peckinpah. The list could go on for a page and a half. My favourite 'modern' action directors are John Carpenter, Walter Hill, and Michael Mann. I am an avid reader of all pre-WWII American Literature, and my favourite novels are Moby Dick, and The Ambassadors, by Henry James.
My PhD traced the development of, and the logical and aesthetic relationship between, classic American Literature (Poe, Brown, Hawthorne, Melville &c.) and Action films, primarily of the 70s and 80s (Hard Times, Assault on Precinct 13, Commando, The Running Man, Robocop, Predator, 48 Hrs, The Last Boy Scout &c. &c.)
My ambition, in terms of a career, revolves around writing, producing, and directing film, and I have finished a couple of feature film screenplays and have a few others in the works. I simply need to finish my PhD and then I can begin looking for producers!
I am a doctoral student in the English Department with a strong interest in film, especially insofar as it pertains to romantic landscapes, modernist cityscapes, documentaries and evocations of consciousness. That said, I also have a strong interest in the general history of film, as evinced in a comprehensive, chronological viewing program that I have embarked upon with two friends, recorded at: afilmcanon.blogspot.com.
I have also appeared several times on the SBS Movie Show with one of these friends - our video reviews can be accessed at:
My favourite film is Paris, Texas; my least favourite film is Tremors 2: Aftershocks.
Jennifer Beckett was a PhD student in the Department of English at The University of Sydney. She researched issues of national identity in films made in or about Ireland and her dissertation, Heroes, Hitmen and Leprechauns: Irish National Identity on Film, is near completion. The recipient of the Irish/Australian Postgraduate Scholarship in 2003/4, Beckett studied in the Samuel Beckett School of Theatre and Drama at Trinity College, Dublin. She is also interested in French cinema (particularly the Nouvelle Vague movement, the later works of Krystoff Kieslowski and the work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Carot), filmic adaptations and re-makes of films across cultures. The politics of the film industry, celebrity culture and Pre/Post-Hayes Code films in Hollywood are also areas of interest.
Beckett has worked as a casual lecturer and a tutor at the University teaching on media and communication and has given papers at international conferences including the annual Samuel Beckett Symposium, D'apres Beckett, in 2003 and at the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literature in 2006. She was commissioned by the Irish Studies department at UNSW to write the film synopses for the 2005 Irish Film Festival programme guide.
Thesis synopsis: Heroes, Hitmen and Leprechauns: Irish National Identity on Film
Beckett's thesis explores the ways in film culture interplays with notions of 'Ireland' and 'Irishness'. A key aspect of any identity is the way in which it is both continually self-referencing and re-inventive. Beckett's thesis seeks to build upon arguments around the constitution of a 'national' body of film and proposes a new taxonomy of national identity that expands on more traditional and narrow viewpoints of the 'national' in culture. Ideas of the role of film in creating and perpetuating a national identity are explored as well as the ways in which film is used to reflect upon and move through stages of identity formation. An examination of the ways in which films dealing with national traumas such as 'The Troubles', act as a cathartic tool enabling the nation to form a new identity which, whilst acknowledging events of the past, is able to move on to new ideas of self and nationhood.
Dyalan completed a Doctor of Philosophy, in the English Department.
Synopsis: A study of the depiction of authors and notions of authorship in narrative film. Using information processing theories, and theories of memory, particularly the work of F.C. Bartlett in the field of memory and David Bordwell's phenomenological approach to film meaning, the thesis seeks to interrogate the way in which cinematic narrative structures operate in relation to our underlying psychological processes in order to create meaning. This in turn is used in conjunction with literary theory and theories of authorship to understand the authorial stereotype and how it is used in cinema.
I also have an article awaiting publication in Literature/Film Quarterly entitled 'Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Melville's Moby Dick: A Comparative Study.'
My research interests extend beyond film criticism, film theory and phenomenological approaches to film narrative, to the field of discourse more obviously and broadly defined as English Literature; in particular postmodern literary theory and criticism, Modern literature particularly the works of James Joyce, and literature as political rhetoric.