Eleonora Sammartino (KCL) presents: “Femininity, Race, and the Postindustrial City: ‘Flashdance’ as a site of negotiation and debate”

flashdancetuxedo

In the ideological project of the musical, gender identity has a central role in determining its political significance. Considering the period that spans between 1980 and 2012, the shifts in gender politics and debates have played a key role in reshaping the forms of the musical for new audiences. At the same time, the genre has increasingly focused on subjectivities who assert their gender identity through a performance that gestures towards a fluidity between gender positions, thus escaping “normative” identity categories.

In this talk, I will analyse the interdependence of gender and genre by focusing on the relationship between identity and the construction of space and time in the musical through a paradigmatic case study: Flashdance (A. Lyne, 1983). Starting from Bakhtin’s theorisation of the chronotope, I will examine how the focus on the female protagonist redefines the time and space characteristic of the fairy tale musical subgenre in relation to the setting in 1980s Pittsburgh, in which hip hop music and dance play a key role.

Adopting an intersectional framework, my analysis will demonstrate how the opposition between overly-masculine and upper-class spaces on the one hand and the street and postindustrial landscapes on the other informs the protagonist’s ambiguous gender and racial identity, while problematising her role in the gentrification of Pittsburgh. Further contextualising the film in contemporary debates on gender and the regeneration of the city, I will show that the film offers more nuanced identity politics than the common critical reception has attributed to it, recuperating Flashdance as a site of negotiation of both identity and cultural anxieties.”

Wednesday 15 November, 5:15 pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).

Refreshments to follow.

ALL WELCOME

 

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QMUL Film Studies Postgraduate Conference

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We are pleased to announce the first annual QMUL Film Studies Postgraduate Conference. Please join us as our PhD candidates showcase their current research. Full abstracts will be posted shortly.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

2:00-3:00: Welcome/ Panel 1

–Adam Plummer: “The British Trauma Film: The Cultural Circulation of Psychoanalysis in the aftermath of the Second World War”

–Tashi Petter: “Sponsored silhouettes- the advertising films of Lotte Reiniger”

3:00-3:30: Tea Break

3:30-4:30: Panel 2

–Lisa Duffy: “Projections of desire: Impossible gender constructions in musical fantasy montages”

–Cathy Lomax: “‘Not a Good Likeness’: Anxiety, Idealisation and Disappointment in Painted Representations of Vivien Leigh”

4:30-5:00: Comfort break

5:00-6:00: First Year PhD showcase (participant information to follow)

–Keynote address: Dr. Lavinia Brydon (University of Kent): “Seaside Spectacles: Visual Pleasure and the British Coastline”

6:00-7:00: Drinks reception

All talks will be held in the Hitchcock Cinema, ArtsOne Building, Mile End campus.

Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance at Eventbrite.

All welcome!

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2017 Fall Semester PostProduction Dates

hitchcock cinema

I’m very excited to announce the upcoming PostProduction dates for the fall semester.

25/10: QMUL Postgraduate Conference (information in the next post)

15/11: Eleonora Sammartino (King’s)- “Femininity, Race, and the Postindustrial City: Flashdance as a site of negotiation and debate”

13/12: Dr. Guy Westwell- Topic TBD

All meetings (except for the Postgraduate Conference) will be held in the Hitchcock Cinema starting at 17:15.

Keep up-to-date on more film studies events on the Facebook page.

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PostProduction presents MA Thesis Showcase

film-studies

Join us for the final PostProduction of the academic year. We are excited to have students from the QMUL Film Studies MA Programme present their final thesis topics. Speaking on the day will be:

Ellena Brooks- “The Mediation of American Anxiety to Male Homosexuality through Film Noir”

Ivy Hutchison- “The final girls: the evolution of horror cinema into a feminist genre”

Ada Kotowska- “A camera, a brush and an eccentric. The depiction of famous painters in cinema”

Xiaoyi Yan

There will be the opportunity for Q & A sessions after each speaker.

Thursday, 8 June, 5:15pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).

All welcome!

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Frances Hatherley (Middlesex) presents “An Unseen Portrait of a Female Grotesque: Carol Morley’s ‘The Alcohol Years (2000)'”

carolmorley

“I will explore the ways in which working-class femininities and sexualities have been negatively constructed as “grotesque”. Carol Morley’s film explores her teenage years and experimentation with sex, drinking and participation in the music scene in the Manchester of the late 1980s. I argue that her representation in the film both conforms to and challenges the classist and misogynistic constructions of a working-class female grotesque. The image of the female grotesque in the film is one that is unseen: the representation comes solely from the oral recollections of friends and acquaintances of Morley’s who knew her during her teenage years in Manchester during that period. The descriptions given of her by others, who themselves are often unreliable narrators, create a portrait of a young female grotesque – a woman who rejected modest, lady-like, respectable behaviour in favour of the excessive, uncontrollable and carnivalesque.

This talk also considers the experiences of growing up a working-class girl, of rebellion in the form of music, clothing and sexuality as an outlet for expression and self-determination. I will also introduce a discussion of space and place, of the experience of growing up on council estates and their potential for adventure. I will counter accusations of deviant misbehaviour by instead arguing that much of the behaviour Morley is judged so harshly for, constitutes positive forms of knowledge gathering and limits-testing, all vital aspect of growing up.”

Thursday, 13 April, 5:15pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).

Refreshments to follow.

ALL WELCOME

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Lisa Duffy presents “Interacting with ‘Flaming Trails of Masculinity’: Female Sexual Awakening in Classical Hollywood Dream Ballets”

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Dream ballets, a fantasy trope which permeated classical Hollywood musicals during the post-war years, permit characters to explore a metaphorical erotic freedom, which enhances their ability to investigate and ultimately obtain their desires. Emotions and sexuality are coded into the movement of the dancers’ bodies, causing dance to function much in the same way dreams do by presenting themes in an abstract manner. The content of these sequences is sharply divided down gender lines—while the dreams of men allow them to identify and pursue their true desire, the dreams of women focus on their sexual awakening. It is this latter group that this paper will explore, examining the dream ballets found in Oklahoma! (1955), Lili (1953), and The Pirate (1948). Each of these sequences unfold from the anxieties of the dreamer and centre on interacting with a dark, fearsome portrayal of masculinity. The dream space provides a safe place for the characters to explore a more transgressive side of sexuality, permitting them to act on subversive desires which would lead to ostracisation if carried out in their diegetic realities. By processing their sexual awakenings in the realm of dream ballets, the women are prepared to be romantically paired off in the waking world.

Wednesday, 14 December, 5:15 pm. ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).

To be followed by drinks and holiday merriment.

ALL WELCOME.

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An Unseen Portrait of a Female Grotesque: Carol Morley’s The Alcohol Years (2000)

Update: This event has now been cancelled.

frances-hatherley-poster

“I will explore the ways in which working-class femininities and sexualities have been negatively constructed as “grotesque”. Carol Morley’s film explores her teenage years and experimentation with sex, drinking and participation in the music scene in the Manchester of the late 1980s. I argue that her representation in the film both conforms to and challenges the classist and misogynistic constructions of a working-class female grotesque. The image of the female grotesque in the film is one that is unseen: the representation comes solely from the oral recollections of friends and acquaintances of Morley’s who knew her during her teenage years in Manchester during that period. The descriptions given of her by others, who themselves are often unreliable narrators, create a portrait of a young female grotesque – a woman who rejected modest, lady-like, respectable behaviour in favour of the excessive, uncontrollable and carnivalesque.

This talk also considers the experiences of growing up a working-class girl, of rebellion in the form of music, clothing and sexuality as an outlet for expression and self-determination. I will also introduce a discussion of space and place, of the experience of growing up on council estates and their potential for adventure. I will counter accusations of deviant misbehaviour by instead arguing that much of the behaviour Morley is judged so harshly for, constitutes positive forms of knowledge gathering and limits-testing, all vital aspect of growing up.” — Frances Hatherley, Middlesex University

Wednesday, 16 November, 5:15 pm. ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).

Refreshments to follow.

ALL WELCOME.

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