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Luis Freijo Escudero

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

De-Westernising the Western: Remapping Genre Theory for World Cinema


This thesis aims to remap film genre theory to make it newly relevant to the rapidly evolving reality of World Cinema. Genre theory is a field of research within film studies that remains strongly dependent of a colonial hierarchy that places Hollywood as the main referent over the rest of cinemas in the world, thus creating a relation of dominance through notions of periphery and centre. The writings of Rick Altman and Steve Neale in the early 2000s are revised and repurposed by this thesis, considering them as nuanced analyses of genre theory that work locally, that is, within the industrial context of Hollywood. In a world of cinemas, each mode of filmmaking has to be studied without creating relations of hierarchy, but rather considering them in regard to their specific contexts and, indeed, transnational relations. Therefore, Hollywood genre theory as has been studied by these authors cannot be claimed to be a general genre theory, which is in turned pursued by this research.

To achieve this objective, this thesis utilises the post-2000 Westerns as its research context. However, following the title’s notion of “de-Westernising the Western”, my case studies are not circumscribed to the US Western, but rather constitute a wide array of worldwide iterations of the iconography, narratives, stylistic tropes and themes of the Western, including films from Europe, East- and South-Asia, South-Africa, South America, Australia and, indeed, the US. The significance of choosing the Western lies within its iconic and as yet uncontested status as the genre that uniquely reflects the idiosyncrasy of the USA, because if the Western can be de-Westernised through these World Cinema Westerns, then this operation is possible for any World Cinema genre. This thesis will thus provide a significant step forward in the fields of World Cinema and genre studies because it will attempt a theoretical redrawing of genre that has not been approached and reveal the possibilities of using global genres as tool for understanding between othering cultures. 


Research Area

  • Languages and Literature

Publications


Articles in Journals

  • Stone, R. & Freijo, L. (2021) 'World Cinema Between the Rock of Unknowability and the Hard Place of the As Yet Unknown', Transnational Screens, 12 (1), pp. 1-22. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/25785273.2021.1873572
  • Freijo, L. (2021) 'Cinema Against Doublethink: Ethical Encounters With the Lost Pasts of World History, by David Martin-Jones', Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas, Forthcoming.

Chapters in Edited Books

  • Freijo, L. (2021) 'Two Speed Economic Systems and Bi-Polarity in the European Union: Frontier Spaces in Valeska Grisebach's Western', in Hayward, S. and G. Gergely (eds.) (2021) The Routledge Companion to European Cinema. London and New York: Routledge. Forthcoming
  • Freijo, L. (2021) '"No One to Call Around Here. These Boys Is On Their Own": The Post-Industrial Frontier in Hell or High Water and the Western as a Landscape of Crisis', in Tarancón, J. and H. Loyo (2021) Screening the Crisis: U.S. Cinema and Social Change in the 21st Century. London: Bloomsbury. Forthcoming.
  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'Héroes Cansados, Familias Extrañas: Dibujando la masculinidad post-industrial en Old Man Logan', in Gracia Lana, J.,  A. Asión Suñer and L. Ruiz Cantera (eds.) (2020) Dibujando historias, más allá de la imagen. Zaragoza: Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza. Forthcoming.
  • Freijo, L. (2021) 'Sense8 and the City: Frontier Cosmopolitanism', in Shaw, D. and R. Stone (eds) (2021) Sense8: Transcending Television. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 133-148. 

Co-authored Books

  • Álamo, L., Freijo, L., Iglesias, J., Llácer, T., and Tello, L. (2021) El apartamento. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Corral, J. M., Freijo, L., Sánchez, A., and Vallet, J. (2020) Los siete magníficos. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Alfonso, R., Díaz, V., Freijo, L., Sánchez, A., y Vicente Echagüe, J. (2019) Alien. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Alfonso, R., Casas, Q., Freijo, L., Iglesias, J., and Sánchez, A. (2019) Grupo Salvaje. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.




Conferences


  • Freijo, L. (2021) 'De-Westernising the Western: Genre Under Erasure as a Methodology of Resistance in Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)', Screen Studies Conference 2021. University of Glasgow (online): 25-27 June. 
  • Freijo, L. (2021) ‘The Nation in Transit: the Reconfiguration of Modern Spain through Migration in Luz de domingo (José Luis Garci, 2007)’, Necs Conference 2021: Transitions: Moving Images and Bodies. University of Palermo (online): 7-13 June.
  • Freijo, L. (2021) ‘Mediterranean Migrations: Transitory Identities in Italian and Spanish Cinema’, panel organiser, Necs Conference 2021: Transitions: Moving Images and Bodies. University of Palermo (online): 7-13 June.
  • Freijo, L. (2021) '"Where the Centuries Don't Follow One Another": Ritualising the Nation in Global Westerns', video-essay presented at the M4C Digital Research Festival, 7-10 June. Virtual Gallery: https://my.ltb.io/#/showcase/midlands4cities-digital-research-festival-2021/ Video-essay: https://vimeo.com/552848805.
  • Freijo, L. (2021) 'Cosmopolitanism at the Urban Frontier: Discussing a Glocal Sense8', 4th Annual B-Film PGR Symposium. University of Birmingham: 5 March. 
  • Freijo, L. (2021) 'Unearthing the Colonial Ghosts of the Patagonian Western', B-Film PGR Seminars 2020-2021. University of Birmingham: 21 June. 
  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'De-Westernising the Western: A Trailer', video-essay presented at the M4C Digital Research Festival, 13-14 July. Virtual Gallery: https://my.ltb.io/?fbclid=IwAR0Q3TZz01VCyLRXRwEjhia2h1q6eTFXVfByD8P4cBLt1axHZ6Dt4foP3z0#/showcase/midlands4cities-digital-research-festival-2020 Video-essay: https://vimeo.com/424506558.
  • Freijo, L. (2020) Member of the organising team of ‘World Cinema Summit: The Longitude and Latitude of World Cinema’, University of Birmingham, 4-5 June 2020. https://2020worldcinemasummit.wordpress.com/home/about/
  • Freijo, L. (2020) Organiser of the 3rd Annual B-Film PGR Symposium on Identities in Transnational Cinemas. University of Birmingham: 17 February. 
  • Freijo, L. (2019) 'Héroes cansados, familias extrañas: Dibujando la masculinidad post-industrial en Old Man Logan', 2nd International Congress of Interdisciplinary Studies about Comics. University of Zaragoza: 15-17 May.
  • Freijo, L. (2019) Organiser of the 2nd Annual B-Film PGR Symposium on World Cinema. University of Birmingham: 15 March.
  • Freijo, L. (2018) 'A Gun of One´s Own. Gender Representation in Contemporary Westerns' [Poster]. Exhibited at 12th UoB Research Poster Conference. University of Birmingham: 13 June. Winner of Social Engagement Award.
  • Freijo, L. (2018) 'Slowness, Art Cinema, and Poetry in Contemporary Westerns. Toward a Definition of Slow Westerns", 1st B-Film PGR Symposium. University of Birmingham, 2 March.
  • Freijo, L. (2017) 'El Viñedo en Celuloide. Valores de Representación del Vino en Cine', Vino, letras y un par de besos callados: el viñedo en el paraíso, San Lorenzo del Escorial, Summer Course of Universidad Complutense de Madrid: 17-21 July.

Public Engagement & Impact

  • April 2020: Guest in the "Lockdown Movies" series of podcasts made by Screen Brum. https://brumradio.com/screen-brum-the-podcast/
  • March 2019: Guest in the radio show Screen Brum at Brum Radio for a special show about World Cinema Westerns. https://www.mixcloud.com/BrumRadio/screenbrum-taking-the-west-out-of-western-with-luis-frejio-2232019/
  • March 2018: Introduction of a screening of The Magnificent Ambersons at the Electric Cinema, Birmingham. 
  • May 2016: Speaker in the tribute to Maximilian Schell celebrated in Casa del Lector del Matadero on the occasion of the release of a new DVD edition of his film 'Five-finger exercise'. Moderated by David Felipe Arranz and with Marta Fernández, Guillermo Balmori and Luis Miguel Rodríguez.

Other Research Interests

  • Westerns 
  • Film Genre
  • Gender Studies
  • World Cinema Studies

Memberships

Department of Film and Creative Writing, University of Birmingham

B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies

European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS)

Professional experience

January 2021-June 2021: Teaching Associate at the Department of Film and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Modules: Film Genre (15 hours). 

October 2019-November 2019: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant at the Department of Film and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Modules: Studying Film A (4 hours); Film Theory and Criticism (6 hours).

July 2019: Visiting lecturer in the Birmingham International Summer School of Media, organised by the Department of Film and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, with the session 'Film Genre, World Cinema and the Western'.

March 2019-July 2019: Project Support Assistant with the University of Birmingham Graduate School in the organisation of the 14th University of Birmingham Research Poster Conference.

October 2018-Present: Research Assistant and member of the Management Committee of the research centre B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies, attached to the Departments of Film and Creative Writing and Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham.

September 2018-June 2019: Contributor in the digital marketing company Syndicali as content writer.

September 2017-September 2018: Contributor in the Film section of Redbrick newspaper.

March 2017-July 2017: Contributor in the Culture section of the digital newspaper bez.es.

April 2016-Present: Panellist at the cultural radio show El Marcapáginas, hosted by David Felipe Arranz in Capital Radio.

September 2015-February 2017: Editor in the TV show 'Qué tiempo tan feliz', hosted by María Teresa Campos. Mandarina Productions, Mediaset.

June-August 2015: Intern editor in the TV show 'Qué tiempo tan feliz', hosted by María Teresa Campos. Mandarina Productions, Mediaset.

June 2015: Intern for Red Shoes Cultural Communication.

May 2014: Cameraman covering the National Female Basketball Championship (Junior Category) in Guadalajara, Spain.

May and June 2013: Cameraman covering the National Male Basketball Championship (Junior Category) and the National Female Basketball Championship (Youth Category) in Guadalajara, Spain.

February 2013-April 2017: Director and co-founder of the online cultural magazine Gran Imaginador.

http://www.granimaginador.es/

January 2013-October 2016: Co-founder, producer and editor of the radio show Jarra y Siete, in Radioenlace (Madrid).

http://www.ivoox.com/podcast-podcast-jarra-siete_sq_f158852_1.html 

Other publications

  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'La venganza de Frank James'; 'El secreto de Convict Lake'; in Balmori, G., and Alegrete, E. (eds.) (2020) El universo de Gene Tierney. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'El baile de los malditos'; 'El desertor', in Balmori, G., and Alegre, E. (eds.) (2020) El universo de Montgomery Clift. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'Camino de Santa Fe'; 'Mi mujer favorita', in Balmori, G., and Alegrete, E. (eds.) (2020) 1940. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'Amores de cine, amor por el cine: Cinema Paradiso', in Arranz, D. F. (2020) Amores de cine. Pasiones más allá de celuloide. Madrid: Sial Pigmalión, pp. 131-135.
  • Freijo, L. (2020) 'Y la nave va'; 'El jeque blanco', in Balmori, G., and Alegre, E. (eds.) (2020) El Universo de Federico Fellini. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones, pp. 110-115; 12-15.
  • Freijo, L. (2019) 'Veracruz'; 'Llegaron a Cordura', in Balmori, G. and Alegrete, E. (2019) El Universo de Gary Cooper. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones, pp. 312-317; 344-347.
  • Freijo, L. (2019) 'Don Juan en los Infiernos: La leyenda de amor canalla', in Arranz, D. F.  (ed.) (2019) Amores canallas. Madrid: Sial Pigmalión, pp. 139-143.
  • Freijo, L. (2018) 'Rebellion'; 'Juvenile Court'; 'The Naked Zoo'; 'La ira de Dios' in Balmori, G. (ed.) (2018) El universo de Rita Hayworth. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones, pp. 32-35; 80-83; 282-285; 290-293.
  • Freijo, L. (2018) 'Hombres errantes', in Balmori, G., and Alegrete, E. (eds.) (2018) El universo de Nicholas Ray. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones.
  • Freijo, L. (2018) 'La carcoma'; 'En el jardín de las delicias'; 'Infiel', in Balmori, G., and Alegrete, E. (eds.) (2018) El universo de Ingmar Bergman. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones, pp. 146-149; 214-215; 222-223.
  • Freijo, L. (2018) 'A todas las Audreys que he amado', in Arranz, D. F., and Nieto Rodríguez, A. (eds.) (2018) Amores de ficción. Bendita Recompensa. Madrid: Sial Pigmalión, pp. 167-176.
  • Freijo, L. (2017) 'Ser o no ser'; 'El intrépido'; 'Hombres sin miedo'; 'Corazones indomables', in Balmori, G. and Alegrete, E. (eds) (2017) El universo de John Ford. Madrid: Notorious Ediciones, pp. 50-51; 74-75; 88-89; 174-177.
  • Freijo, L. (2017) 'Librepensando, libreleyendo y librescribiendo', prologue to Arranz, D. F. (2017) Escrito al raso. Artículos político-festivos (2007-2017). Madrid: Sial Pigmalión, pp. 13-20.
  • Freijo, L. (2017) 'Inmortal amor mortal', in Nieto Rodríguez, A. (ed.) (2017) Inmortal amor mortal. De la ceniza, la máscara. Madrid: Sial Pigmalión, pp. 243-249.