Retired, current professor release book on ecocinema

AJ Fournier, Campus Reporter

A new book, written by a retired and current Eastern professor, will show how movies depict the environment and how it is presented in both fictional films and real life.

“Ecocinema in the City” was written by English professor Robin Murray and former communication studies professor Joseph Heumann.

The book is set to be released at the end of the month.

Murray said the book talks about how different movies based on the environment reveal and critique visions of urban environmentalism.

“The book emphasizes the increasingly transformative power of nature in urban settings, explored in both documentaries and fictional films,” Murray said.

This is the sixth book Murray and Heumann have worked on together.

Murray said with this book, both writers wanted to take a more positive view on nature.

“‘Ecocinema and the City’ seeks to move beyond most films, urban/rural and nature/culture oppositions by revealing nature in the urban places where we live,” Murray said.

Murray said with the previous books Murray and Heumann have written, a variety of films had been used to show environmental disasters. With this book, films such as “Dark City” and “Dark Days,” will be used to show a positive approach to environmental adaptions within cities.

“This book seeks to add to urban ecology cinema scholarship by exploring four sections arranged to highlight the increasing importance nature performs in the city,” Murray said.

Murray said the book could be used in sociology classes, film classes and environmental studies classes.

She and Heumann have been working on the book for three years.

“We have been researching each chapter by both watching films and reading criticisms about them and researching the environmental history and environmental studies behind each of the topics we explore,” Murray said.

Murray said some of the different topics explored in the book are sewers and subways, global slumps, urban dog fighting, zoos, bird watching, gardens and parks, urban farming and more.

Murray plans to release more books with Heumann in the future focusing on the same environmental subjects.

“Right now, we are thinking about where we want to go from here. We finished an article on Arctic documentaries and a review of ‘Mother!’” Murray said. “We are currently considering what our next book’s focus will be.”

Heumann and Murray have been researching together for 15 years and plan on continuing to work in the field.

“Robin and I are currently discussing our next project,” Heumann said. “We have nothing concrete to mention yet, except it will be about environmental issues and using films as an interpretive lens.”

Heumann said he is happy the book is being published and he hopes people working in the field find it interesting and educational.

AJ Fournier can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]