'Running around the trees'

Indian film usually includes scenes where the hero and heroineburst into song, in fantastic locales far removed from the actual setting of the story, often with multiple costume changes and scores of dancers in the background.

Derided by the press as "running around the trees," these song sequences are perhaps the most defining and distinctive feature of popular cinema in India, said Teja Ganti, Minority Scholar in Residence at the Center for Visual Culture, in a November 14 lecture on the social and visual world of Hindi film music.

Most Indian scholars and intellectuals dismiss popular cinema as formulaic and escapist, citing the song sequences as primary evidence, Ganti said. "There is also a sense in Indian scholarship that film music, due to its hybrid and syncretic nature that assimilates influences from all over the world, is not authentically Indian, although many songs are directly based on folk tunes or classical melodies."

Music and song have been woven into Indian culture and daily life over thousands of years, she explained, and in Indian cinema, unlike Western, they shape and move the narrative. Song sequences are used, for example, to show the passage of time, evoke memories, and express intense emotion, "eliminating the need for verbalization and creating a mood that cues the viewer in to the character's state of mind," Ganti said. The most common emotion expressed musically in Hindi films is love, and where a love story is not the main focus of the plot, a romantic track is developed.

A standard sequence with hero and heroine singing and dancing in the rain indicates the intensification of love. "These often highly erotic sequences with wet clothes clinging to bodies, especially the heroine's, are part of the elaborate system of allusions to rather than explicit portrayals of sexuality and physical intimacy in Hindi films," Ganti said.

India produces the most feature films in the world, 600-900 annually, and approximately five billion theater tickets are sold yearly. The cinema is exhaustively discussed by the press, broadcast media, the state and viewers. Film music accounts for nearly 80 percent of music sales, and Indian television is packed with film-based programming.

Ganti focuses her research on everyday life and production ideologies of the Bombay film industry, dubbed "Bollywood," which produces Hindi films. "Indian feature films are produced in 20 languages; only about 20 percent of the total are in Hindi, but they are the ones that circulate nationally and internationally and dominate the discourse about Indian cinema," she said.

Ganti noted that while song sequences are seen as "a sign of backwardness, the industry's inability to rid itself of older narrative traditions and the demands of mass undiscriminating audience, they are also seen as a sign of modernity in terms of visual, aural and economic mastery." Film-makers' search for "exotic" locales have led them to sites around the world, including its "seven wonders," and even last July to Haverford's Duck Pond and Bryn Mawr's Goodhart Hall!

Af'Ford'able abundance

Anna McCarthy's multi-media presentation used "virtually" all the technologies of a smart classroom, including CD-Roms, videos and slide and overhead projections in an October 31 Center for Visual Culture colloquia lecture: "Fordism and the History of Television Advertising."

The two decades following World War II, explained McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at New York University, were the golden age of Fordism, when both popular opinion and specialist policy making assigned consumption a key role in the making of national economic health. The term Fordism was coined by the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci in the 1930s in his interpretation of the writings of Henry Ford. Through intensified exploitation of labor, Gramsci thought, the system of Fordist mass production might counter capitalism's endemic tendency toward a falling rate of profit. Social institutions of mass production, collectively referred to as Fordism, emerged in the United States early in the 20th century and were at the center of a decades-long process of social struggle which extended into the immediate post-World War II era.

To show how Fordist social relations shaped the visual meaning of television, McCarthy presented World War II-era promotional images, among them one made by DuPont in which women shoppers purchase over telephones the products passing by on a conveyor belt. Such images, said McCarthy, were part of extensive public relations campaigns conducted in all media, allowing largecorporations to promote "their good will," which often hinged on public acceptance of unfettered growth and laissez-faire economic policy. These campaigns were crucial for big business as it faced the end of the war: Upcoming peace threatened not only to bring labor troubles but the potential continuation of New Deal and wartime economic policies such as price controls.

The DuPont promotional image seems to enact a "proto-televisual fantasy of consumption, by and which an endless parade of goods flowed past the shopper purveyable for instant purchasing through the space-binding technology of the phone," explained McCarthy. "Such fantasies of efficient, rationalized selling were typical of department store design goals at mid-century."

The image also envisions the act of purchasing commodities as a mechanized process analogous to the process of producing them, right down to the presence of the conveyor belt. Transition of women out of war production jobs, yet the continued presence of the assembly line, suggests that they should expect some kind of continuity between their experience of production and the act of consumption. "And moreover," said McCarthy, "if labor activism in the 20th century historically involved struggles over control of the point of production-that is to say, the shop floor-then this image focuses our attention on the emergence of the sales floor as a site of struggle in the postwar years, a brand-goods manufacturer's struggle for control over the point of consumption and the behavior of shoppers." Additionally, the image focuses attention on the fact that women's household labor played a crucial role in the socialization of consumption both before and after the war.

Other images-TV commercials, short films, magazine ads-illustrated that the era's promotion of corporate identity directly aligned with the interests of Americans at that time to secure the premise of "affordable abundance." Not only did ads sell products, but they sold an ideology in which national economic health rested on theidentification of corporate proactivity goals with the aspirations of working people who viewed themselves as consumers as well as producers.

McCarthy's research is funded by a Stephen Charney Vladeck Fellowship in Labor History from NYU.

Energy efficiency

Maxine Lazarus Savitz '58 offered an expert's perspective on energy efficiency, a topic made more crucial than ever by the current instability in the Middle East, in a November 16 lecture co-sponsored by the Chemistry Department, the Environmental Studies Program and the Center for Science in Society.

"We are now importing about 50 percent of our oil, and think that may be as much as 60 to 70 percent by the year 2010 if we don't develop alternatives," Savitz said. "Energy efficiency doesn't mean being cold in the winter and hot in the summer or giving up consumer comforts that save time. It is the use of technology and policies, such as tax incentives and standards, to produce more efficiency in our use of energy and industrial processes. ... Europeans drive cars that are much more fuel efficient than ours because of their very high taxes on gasoline."

Savitz noted that because of efficiency innovations, the United States has the same energy use per capita it did in 1973 while its GNP has increased by 74 percent. "There are more technologies-consider them options almost like an insurance policy-that might be developed but either the price signals aren't yet right or the consumers are not ready for them," she said. "Why should Detroit try to sell 80-mpg cars when they can sell SUVs with 20 mpg, make $10,000 for every one they produce, and customers want more of them?"

On January 9, in fact, the Bush administration launched a new partnership with domestic automakers to spur the use of hydrogen fuel cells.It replaces a program started by the Clinton administration to develop 80-mpg vehicles using advanced aerodynamics, new engine technologies and lighter composite materials such as ceramics. Fuel cells produce energy from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen with water as the only byproduct. Up to this time, they have been too expensive for use in automobiles.

Savitz is Director of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell Corpora-tion and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Science Board. She was directly involved in many of the Department of Energy's research programs from 1974 to 1983 and received the department's Outstand-ing Service Medal in 1981, while she was serving as its Deputy Assistant Secretary for Conservation.

Principles, passion, perspicacity

Hannah Kaufmann Moses '46, A.B. '45 received special honors at a meeting of volunteers for the Alumnae Regional Scholar program and for Bryn Mawr bookstores in November.

Mary Berg Hollinshead '69, Ph.D. '79, Representative to the Executive Board for Alumnae Regional Scholars, recalled: "I met Hannah when we were both members of the first Task Force on Alumnae Regional scholarships. From Day 1 it was clear that she was thinking several steps ahead of most of us, a result of her extensive experience and penetrating intellect. She did, after all, finish Bryn Mawr in three years, then went on to Harvard for further study-and found it much easier than Bryn Mawr.

"The ARS program has benefited from Hannah's energy and intelligence over several generations. She looks out for students in ways both direct and behind the scenes. Many ARS Scholars never know how carefully and caringly Hannah has tracked their progress and aided their plans-and others know very well indeed!"

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