Assistant Professor of Media and Society Lisa Patti recently published the book, “The Multilingual Screen: New Reflections on Cinema and Linguistic Difference” (2016). Co-edited with Tijana Mamula of John Cabot University, “The Multilingual Screen” is the first edited volume to offer a wide-ranging exploration of the place of multilingualism in cinema.
The book, published by Bloomsbury Academic, investigates how linguistic difference has impacted film production and reception in a diverse set of historical, geographic and industrial contexts. Some chapters present new perspectives on well-known film movements such as the French New Wave. Others discuss previously unexplored films such as the Smithsonian Institution’s 1930s documentaries preserving images of Plains Indian Sign Language.
The volume emphasizes the political effects of national language policies on film. Patti and Mamula argue that film scholars need “to ask which languages are not being spoken as well as which ones are.”
“The Multilingual Screen” also features Patti’s interview with Carlos Gutiérrez, the co-founder and executive director of Cinema Tropical, the leading programmer of Latin American cinema in the United States. Patti and Gutiérrez discuss the networks that a film must travel in order to reach a global audience or, even, a local audience. Their conversation highlights the challenges that programmers face as they try to build a multilingual film culture in the U.S.
Patti’s interview with Gutiérrez is the first in a series of interviews she is conducting with U.S.-based global media distributors and programmers. Her interview with Karin Chien, the founder and president of dGenerate Films, a distributor of independent cinema from mainland China, was published in the most recent issue of the journal Film International.
Patti joined the HWS faculty in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature with a concentration in film and video from Cornell University. She is the co-author (with Glyn Davis, University of Edinburgh; Kay Dickinson, Concordia University; and Amy Villarejo, Cornell University) of the book “Film Studies: A Global Introduction” (2015), published by Routledge.
“The Multilingual Screen” is available at The College Store.