Monday Links

Gearing up for a longish day of book revisions but realized I hadn’t posted a link post in a while:

  • In the Washington Post, Abdullah Al-Eyaf, a Saudi film critic and filmmaker writes about moviegoing practices among Saudis, many of whom go to great lengths and travel great distances just to see films on a silver screen. But despite these challenges, Al-Eyaf offers some hope as websites such as provide space for film discussion and as a generation of Saudi filmmakers themselves have begun to emerge and see their films play at festivals in Saudi Arabia and abroad.
  • On a similar note, Anthony Kaufman reports for Film In Focus on attempts to revive film production in Iraq. Kaufman describes the attempts by Kasim Abid and Maysoon Pachachi to teach filmmaking courses in Baghdad, often on the rooftops of building amid the satellite dishes in order to avoid the fighting on the streets below. Unfortunately, the fighting has forced Abid and Pacachi to leave Iraq and set up shop in Damascus, Syria.
  • An interesting Ars Technica article about a study by Sali Tagliamonte and Derek Denis that challenges the arguments that text messaging and IM are harming students’ writing abilities after all. I’ve been skeptical for a while about claims that that IM is to blame for the perceived decline in literacy, in part because they seem to be based on relatively simple assumptions about how media effect behavior (via Kairosnews). There’s also a Chronicle of Higher Education article on this study that I’d planned to blog a few days ago.
  • Girish has started the conversation about The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, the inaugural selection for the new Film of the Month club started by Chris Cagle. I just got the movie from Netflix the other day and I’m hoping to contribute to the conversation soon.
  • Thanks to the Film in Focus blog profile, I’ve just discovered a cool new-to-me film blog, Kimberly Lindbergs’ Cinebeats. Kimberly writes about the interview and her reasons for blogging about film here. The Behind the Blog profiles are one of the more interesting features of the Film in Focus site and generally do a good job of mapping what is happening in the film blogosphere.

Update: I wanted to mention this news earlier, but Andy Horbal has put together a very cool tool for navigating film blogs, a Google Custom Search Engine, Film Blogs, Etc., that focuses exclusively on film blogs and a few prominent film publications such as Senses of Cinema and indieWIRE. The argument behind such a tool is that we have a variety of means for finding professional reviews (IMDB, Metacritic, etc), but few ways of easily finding many of the well-written blog reviews that are out there. So far, Andy has indexed 117 film blogs and related websites.

Update 2: I’ve been digging around in some of the Pew Internet and American Life Project studies today and was reminded of another significant claim about the relationship between emails and text messaging and literacy. According to the Pew Report, “Writing, Technology, and Teens” (PDF), most teens do not associate the material they create electronically as “real writing” (emphasis in the original). Also significant: most teens strongly believe in the importance of developing good writing skills. I’ve only had time to skim the study, but for academics involved in the teaching of writing, the entire study is well worth a read and potentially challenges a number of assumptions about declining literacies while also illustrating the vital need for good writing skills.

Update 3: Edited to correct some terrible typos in my sentence about “good writing.”  Doh!


  1. Chris Said,

    May 21, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

    That Saudi link brought back memories of life in Al-Khobar. I think I saw a total of three movies on the big screen there and they all involved driving to the ARAMCO compound.

  2. Chuck Said,

    May 21, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

    Yeah, I found it to be a fascinating read. I was incredibly impressed by the effort some of these guys endured to see a movie.

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