séminaire Genre #session 8

Monday 8 April 2019 (17h-19h, ODG 153), Laura Mulvey, (Birkbeck College, University of London) “Space, time and motherhood in some films made by women”  (joint session with the research group Imaginaires Contemporains). Respondent: Martine Beugnet (Université Paris Diderot).

This session will take place at the University Paris Diderot, in room 153 of the Olympe de Gouges building, on Monday April 8th 2019, between 17h and 19h. The seminar will end with an apéritif, around which we will continue the discussion. All are welcome!


“Space, time and motherhood in some films made by women”

The seminar will draw on material from a few films directed by women, produced within very divergent social and cultural contexts, but all revolving around the figure of the mother.   These films have given me new ways of thinking about a topic that has always been close to me, dating back to my early interest in Hollywood melodrama and to Riddles of the Sphinx (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen 1977); I will return to that period at the beginning of the seminar.     The films I then discuss, rather than simply sites of story-telling or accounts of women’s lives (however effective they may be as such), break away from a neutral lens and narrative transparency; experimenting with time and space, they reconfigure the idea of the maternal conceptually and from a feminist perspective.  Ultimately, the films address the ‘ineffable’ and the ‘unspeakable’ through the material of film itself, exploiting its potential as a visual and conceptual medium that can challenge patriarchal representations.  And these formal challenges are indissolubly linked to issues of women’s cultural silence.

I will refer to these films:

  • Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman Belgium 1976)
  • Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash USA 1991)
  • Under the Skin of the City (Rakshan Bani-Etemad Iran 2001)
  • Un’ora sola ti vorrei (Alina Marazzi Italy 2002)
  • The Arbor (Clio Barnard UK 2010)

Laura Mulvey is Professor of Film at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of: Visual and Other Pleasures (Macmillan 1989/2009), Fetishism and Curiosity (British Film Institute 1996/2013), Citizen Kane (BFI Classics series 1992/2012) and Death Twenty- four Times a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (Reaktion Books 2006). She made six films in collaboration with Peter Wollen including Riddles of the Sphinx (British Film Institute 1977; dvd 2013) and Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (Arts Council 1980).  With artist/filmmaker Mark Lewis, she has made Disgraced Monuments (Channel 4 1994) and 23 August 2008 (2013).


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