Laura Mulvey, (Birkbeck College, University of London) “Space, time and motherhood in some films made by women”

Posted on November 18, 2019

18 November 2019 - 17 h 00 min - 19 h 00 min

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).

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.

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