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by Robert Rippberger & Tobias Deml
Cinema of Change

Linda Williams: What Really Are Filmmakers Up To?


Welcome to the Cinema of Change podcast with Tobias Deml and Robert Rippberger. Cinema of Change is a magazine and community that challenges the conventions of film and its ability to effect change in the world.

Linda Williams is a professor in the Film and Rhetoric departments at UC Berkeley. She teaches courses on pornography, melodrama, and “body genres.” In 1989 she published a study of pornographic film entitled Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (second edition 1999). More recently she published Screening Sex (Duke, 2008), a history of the revelation and concealment of sex at the movies. In 2001 Williams published Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White, from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson (2001, Princeton)–an analysis of racial melodrama spanning the 19th and 20th centuries of American culture.

  • 00:27 - Intro: Linda Williams
  • 01:04 - How does the depiction of female characters influence women?
  • 02:45 - How can filmmakers avoid including their unconscious bias in their films?
  • 06:14 - The power play between Hollywood and the serial format
  • 10:05 - Can films go beyond entertainment? Do they have a utility in deconstructing ideology?
  • 15:07 - How has "The Wire" impacted you and its audience at large?
  • 18:30 - How does the viewer's position in society influence a film experience?
  • 22:20 - What's the relationship between critics, theorists and filmmakers?
  • 23:49 - Is Pornography an instructional tool for our personal sex lives?
  • 26:02 - Relationships in film - do they influence our own romances?
  • 27:44 - What is the role of Film Theory in pushing media?
  • 28:40 - Outro: A collaboration between scholars and practitioners?

We hope you find this conversation interesting and insightful. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an episode. Until next time, be the change that you want to see in the world. Then turn it into cinema.



by Robert Rippberger & Tobias Deml