SKAM (Shame) is a Norwegian teen drama, originally aimed at young girls, and produced by NRK P3, which is part of the Norwegian Public Broadcaster, NRK. It’s elicited fervent fan reaction, particularly in Russia. The concept has since been sold around the globe and there are versions in France, Italy, etc. addressed to a local audience. I’d never heard of it until the Queer Television Reading Group at Warwick brought it to my attention, asking us to see two episodes from the third series (Episode 1 ‘Lykke til Isak’ & Episode 8 ‘Mannen i mitt liv’) and asking us to read two scholarly articles:
Saara Ratilainen, ‘Norway Reimagined: Popular Geopolitics and the Russophone Fans of Skam’, NORDICOM Review, 41.S1 (2020), 139–53: &
Emelie Bengtsson, Rebecka Kallquist, and Malin Sveningsson, ‘Combining New and Old Viewing Practices: Uses and Experiences of the Transmedia Series “Skam”’, NORDICOM Review, 39.2 (2018), 63–77:
The reading group raised all kinds of fascinating questions on the transnational & the transmedial, on Russophone cultures and Queer Nations, and on fandom and desire.
I wanted to continue the discussion and no one of my acquaintance knows more about SKAM than Misha Iakovlev, a researcher on Queer Theory, Gender, Sexuality& Race in Russian Cinema During its Transition from Communism. In the podcast, Misha and I discuss form, aesthetics, the representation of race & sexuality, queerness & queering & how the TV show is both an example of transnational and the transmedial but also raises interesting questions about how those categories are conceptualised. We hope you find it interesting and useful,
Emilio Fernández and Roberto Gavaldón are two of the great directors of Mexican Cinema´s Golden Age. Dolores Tierney is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Film at Sussex University and an internationally renown film scholar who has written an important book on the work of Fernández, Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins, and who has also written extensively on Gaváldon.
As Dolores writes in Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins (Manchester University Press, 2007):
For seven years, from 1943 until 1950, Emilio Fernández (1904-1986) was regarded as one of the foremost puveyors of Mexicanness,’ as one of the most important filmmakers of the Mexican film industry…, and as one of the most famous filmmakers in the Western world. His distinctive, ‘authentically Mexican´ visual style — developed over an extensive collaboration with photographer Gabriel Figueroa of thirteen years and twenty-two films — was praised for bringing international attention and prestige to the Mexican film industry…At the height of his career in the 1940s he was loved by audiences and critics alike, not only for bringing international attention and artistic glory to the Mexican motion-picture industry but also for defining a school of Mexican films. Indeed, he underscored and in some ways initiated this approach to his work by repeated claiming ´!El cine mexicano so yo¡/ I am Mexican cinema´
In his introduction to La fatalidad urbana: El cine de Roberto Gavaldón (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2007), Fernando Mino Gracia writes:
What would Mexican cinema be without the the sure look — distant, reflexive — of Roberto Gavaldón. We would have lost no less that the most rounded, audacious and finished oeuvre, one that explains a fundamental period of Twentieth Century Mexican cinema, that which covers the period of the end of the Second World War to the start of the 70s. Because Gavaldón is the the filmmaker who best diagnosed, over the entirety of his work, the pulse of a society in the process of consolidation. Nothing was the same by the end of the 1950s and Gavaldón was a privileged witness and chronicler. A mirror which re-works with complex subtlety the inequality of that society and which today, for better and worse, gives us sustenance (p. 19, trans my own).
The podcast below is a wide-ranging discussion on the films and careers of Fernández and Gavaldón with the hope of drawing attention to these immense works of world cinema and also to Dolores Tierney´s invaluable writing on both of these directors.
In the podcast, Dolores and I discuss the work of each director, their collaborations with leading stars such as Pedro Armendáriz, Dolores Del Rio, María Felix, Arturo de Cordova; Melodrama, Mexican Nationalism and its discourses, how the films, be they noirs or melodramas or even rural sagas, fit into a post-revolution political project whilst also being dialogue transnationally with classical Hollywood cinema.
My hope for the podcast is that Dolores´enthusiasm will lead you to the films and that my own will lead you to Dolores´invaluable work on them.
Those of you wishing to pursue further links might enjoy this video essay by Dolores Tierney and Catherine Grant on the ´cabaretera´films of the period.
I have also written on several Gavaldón films and you can pursue links here: