Media Art and Design Research Blog

Research Seminar 19 October 2016: James Newton on Cult Films.


Research Seminar 19 October 2016: James Newton on Cult Films.

James Newton will discuss “deviant” interpretations of cult films in our latest research seminar.

19 October 2016
Politics in the Background: The Cult Film and Political Iconography

Speaker: James Newton (CCCU)

The placing of political symbols and icons in the background mise en scene is a common feature of a number of diverse cult movies. The placing of such imagery is something very deliberate, and invites “readings” of the scenes which run counter to the themes of the main action, and serves to provide a commentary on the films and their political contexts. By encouraging the viewer to focus away from the main action and onto the background, the screen image becomes divided into fragments, with each element interpretable on its own. This leads to the opportunity for “deviant” interpretations of these cult films, divorced from the meaning of the image/scene/film as a whole. In an age of increasing fragmentation of the screen image such methods and viewing practices take on added relevance. This research seminar explores these uses of political iconography, and what it can mean for cult film and media scholarship to bring such marginal elements of the frame back into focus.


Dr James Newton is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media Theory and his research interests include anarchism in popular culture, radical communities (and the role of digital media in shaping them), political cinema, horror and exploitation, westerns, and documentary. James is also a filmmaker and his work incorporates both narrative and experimental forms.


Powell Building – Pf06
Canterbury Christ Church University
North Holmes Road Campus

Email Dr Andrew Butler – – for further details

— All welcome —


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