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The Cinema of the Swimming Pool

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Christopher Brown and Pam Hirsch

The swimming pool frequently appears in film not merely as a setting but as a dynamic site where social, political, cultural and aesthetic forces converge. What is it about this space that has so fascinated filmmakers and what kinds of cinematic investigations does it encourage? This collection features essays by an eclectic, international range of film researchers. Amongst the works analysed are classics such as The Cameraman (1928), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and La Piscine (1969); cult hits such as The Swimmer (1968) and Deep End (1970); and more recent representations of the pool in Water Lilies (2007), Sea Point Days (2009) and Ausente (2011). The pool is considered as a realm where artifice meets nature, where public meets private, where sexualities morph and blend; and as a space that reconfigures the relationship between architecture and narrative, in which themes of pollution, spectacle and reflexivity find unique expression. Approaching the swimming pool from a wide range of methodological perspectives, the essays in this collection stake a claim for the enduring significance of this exciting cinematic space.
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Notes on Contributors

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AXEL ANDERSSON, a Swedish historian of media and culture, is the author of A Hero for the Atomic Age: Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon-Tiki Expedition (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010). Andersson studied at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Pennsylvania and gained his PhD at the European University Institute in Florence in 2007. He currently works as a film and art critic.

SHERI CHINEN BIESEN is Associate Professor of Cinema History at Rowan University and author of Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005) and Music in the Shadows: Noir Musical Films (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). She received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, MA and BA at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinema, and has taught at USC, University of California, University of Texas, and in England. She has contributed to Film and History, Film Noir: The Directors, and Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.

CHRISTOPHER BROWN lectures on film and screenwriting at the University of Greenwich. He holds an MPhil in Screen Media and Cultures at the University of Cambridge, where he went on to complete a PhD. His articles have appeared in journals, including Film Criticism and the Quarterly Review of Film & Video. In 2013 his feature film script Knock-Out won the Best Screenplay award at the London Independent Film Festival and the Cordelia Award for Best UK Screenplay at the BlueCat competition...

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