Bad ecocinema: rubbish, garbage, and trash films Film Studies Speaker Series

Bad ecocinema: rubbish, garbage, and trash films

The Department of Film Studies is delighted to welcome our very own Dr Becky Bartlett, who will be sharing her fantastic new research on rethinking trash cinema as ecocinema.

Trash generally refers to the things we have no use for, the objects we discard; trash is the stuff we throw away. Trash is not necessarily without value, however; as the saying goes: “one person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

This is particularly true with regards to films described as trash. Although certainly not all trash films have been “rescued from the cultural garbage heap” (Sexton and Mathijs, 2011: 95), the fact that some have indicates how discarded, seemingly worthless artefacts can be repurposed and transformed into useful, and therefore valuable, objects.

Dr Bartlett investigates the intersections between badfilm and ecocinema. Identified by and potentially valued for their technical incompetence, which is typically exacerbated by material poverty, badfilms represent “perhaps the purest kind of trash cinema” (Hunter 2014: 487).

Notably, several badfilms explicitly address concerns regarding waste and waste disposal, among other ecological themes, within their narratives; they are trash films about trash.

Conversely, their impoverished production conditions encourage recycling, repurposing and reusing, reducing the likelihood of material waste created during the filmmaking process itself.

Drawing on cult scholarship, garbology, and rubbish theory, Dr Bartlett explores some of the ways in which badfilms both deliberately and inadvertently engage with issues that are central to ecocriticism – waste, toxicity, trash, recycling, materiality, consumption, environmentalism – and reflects on their value, and usefulness, as bad ecocinema.

Join the event with the link below or email Dr Zoë Shacklock (zrs@st-andrews.ac.uk) for assistance with accessing the event.

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