Royal Holloway Conference Abstracts Monday 18th April 2016



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Karen Lury is Professor of Film & Television Studies (Theatre, Film and Television Studies) at the University of Glasgow. Karen's most recent monograph is The Child in Film: Tears, Fears and Fairytales, published in 2010 by I. B. Tauris (and Rutgers University Press) and she is currently editing a new anthology, The Child in Cinema, for BFI/Palgrave due to be published in 2013. Her own research in to questions of the representation of childhood and children on screen is now primarily related to her AHRC funded project 'Children and Amateur Media in Scotland' where she is working in collaboration with Dr Ryan Shand and the Scottish Screen Archive.


Panel 3a) Sensuality and Queer/Female Sexuality
Reframing the figure of the sexual child and teenager in Argentine Cinema: from ‘abnormality’ and victimhood to ‘difference’”, Guillermo Olivera (University of Stirling)
This paper seeks to explore how contemporary on-screen representations of queer childhoods/adolescence are capable of rendering visible the constitution of ‘the queer self’ as both shameful or injured and antagonistic, but capable as well of triggering processes of peer solidarity. The analysis will thus focus on the processes of ‘queer child/teenage self’ as (a) shameful (Sedgwick) or injured (Butler) selves but able to bring about child or teenage performativity; (b) early queer antagonism and negativity associated with experiences of heterotopias and heterocronies, in which the ‘closet space’ plays a constitutive and configurative role. Thirdly, I will also address (c) emerging processes of child/child and teen/teen solidarity and alliances, processes that allow for a political reading in terms of equivalence. The paper will provide a historical angle to the topic by drawing on various examples from an array of post-2000 films in which the figure of the child as a sexual subject –in its specific junctions and intersections with gender– is central: Glue (Dos Santos, 2006), XXY (Puenzo, 2007), El último verano de la Boyita (Solomonoff, 2009) and Miss Tacuarembó (Sastre, 2010). Although antecedents from the 1990s will be considered, this is an important shift in Argentine cinema because the three characteristics outlined above seem to have become central to a wider corpus of post-2000 Argentine movies in which child sexuality is the focus: the on-screen sexual(ised) child/teenager is now a ‘queer child/adolescent’ that gains in agency and identity/subjectivisation processes. This will be contrasted with previous representations of the sexualised child as mere victim (marginalised and/or institutionalised, i.e. usually abandoned, socially destitute, victims of rape, etc.) in films such as El secuestrador (Torre Nilsson, 1958), Crónica de un niño solo (Favio, 1965) or El polaquito (Desanzo, 2003).
Guillermo Olivera is Lecturer in Visual Cultures and Latin American Studies at the University of Stirling (Scotland). He has also taught at the University of Nottingham and Queen Mary (University of London). He had a previous academic career in Argentina as a Research Fellow, Lecturer and Profesor Adjunto of Semiotics (National University of Córdoba). As a trained semiotician and cultural critic, he has published articles, translations, annotations and interviews on Argentine Film, Television and Visual Culture, queer cinema, semiotic theory, political discourse and LGBT identity politics. His most recent publications include the book Laboratorios de la mediatización (Bern: Peter Lang, 2011), and the co-edited volumes Estudios queer. Semióticas y políticas de la sexualidad (Buenos Aires: La Crujía, 2013) and The 2001 Argentinazo: The Boom of the Film Documentary As Political Action and Reconstruction (Nottingham: CCCP, forthcoming).

Her Skin Against the Rocks, The Rocks Against the Sky: Revisiting Weir's ‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’ (1975) after Morley’s ‘The Falling’ (2014), and the Fable of Female Hysteria”, Davina Quinlivan (Kingston University)


Picnic at Hanging Rock is Peter Weir’s stunning 1975 adaption of Joan Lindsay’s classic novel which follows the mysterious disappearance of a group of school girls after a Valentine’s Day picnic in the Australian Outback. Weir’s film is lush, evocative and elliptical, as oneiric and shimmering as the sun-bleached day itself in which the girls vanish from existence. More recently, the filmmaker Carol Morley has directed a similarly sensuous tale, The Falling (2014), in which a group of British girls are experiencing a wave of hysterical exhaustion, fainting during a dizzying spell of eerie contagion. Fainting, is for Morley, a manifestation of denied or displaced sexuality, inspired by ‘the explanation traditionally offered for hysterical outbreaks – particularly in late 17th-century Salem’.  My paper will consider the concordances and rich correspondences between Morley’s film and ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, tracing a cinematic genealogy of girlhood, of the mystical and mythic, and the questions surrounding embodied experience and sensuality which both films invite.
Davina Quinlivan is a Senior Lecturer in Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University. She is the author of The Place of Breath in Cinema (EUP, 2012) and Filming the Body in Crisis: Trauma, Healing and Hopefulness (Palgrave, 2015). She has published in Screen (OUP) and is the winner of the Studies in French Cinema Best Article Prize. She writes on theories of embodiment, sound and trauma in a range of films, especially the French cinema of the body, Female Directors and Girlhood on screen.

"Into the Black: Vietnam, Out of the Blue, and the End of Childhood", Ara Osterweil (McGill University)
I am currently writing a book entitled The Pedophilic Imagination: Children, Sex, Movies, which argues that the representation of pedophilic relationships structures American cinema from its emergence in the late nineteenth century to the present. By examining key films from every decade, I interrogate how and why the cinematic figuration of pedophilia is so often called upon to negotiate anxieties about race, gender, sexuality, class, labor, immigration, and war during moments of crisis during the industry and the nation. As I argue, American cinema has capitalized upon American ambivalence towards child sexuality in order to both incite and assuage cultural anxieties about the transgression of racial, sexual, and generational boundaries. For this conference, I would like to present an excerpt from my chapter on Vietnam-era cinema that focuses on Dennis Hopper's 1980 film Out of the Blue. Directed by Hopper in Canada after he was blacklisted from making films in the United States, Out of the Blue offers a searing portrait of the incestuous relationship between an alcoholic father, played by Hopper, who has just been released from prison for drunkenly killing a school bus full of children and his punk teenaged daughter, played by Linda Manz. Although the film never explicitly references Vietnam, I approach it as an allegory for the war and the subsequent transformation of American conceptions of childhood and masculinity. For not only does Out of the Blue radically subvert the "redemption through violence" narrative that characterizes American cinema, but through its portrayal of an empowered, androgynous, and ultimately suicidal queer child, it refutes all claims to the political and erotic innocence of both children and the nation.
Ara Osterweil is a writer, film scholar, and painter who lives in Montreal and New York. She teaches world cinema and cultural studies in the English department at McGill University, where she is an Associate Professor. Her book, Flesh Cinema: The Corporeal Turn in American Avant-Garde Film (Manchester University Press, 2014), examines the representation of sexuality in experimental film of the 1960s and 1970s. She has also published numerous essays in journals such as Camera Obscura, Film Quarterly, Frameworks, The Brooklyn Rail, and Millennium Film Journal, as well as in anthologies such as Porn Studies, Warhol in Ten Takes, and Women's Experimental Cinema. She has received an ArtsWriters Grant from Creative Capital/ The Warhol Foundation, as well as a SSHRC Insight Grant. She is currently working on a book entitled The Pedophilic Imagination: Children, Sex, Movies.

Panel 3b) Class, the Father and the Family
Little Lord Fauntleroy Goes to Spain: A Case Study of Adaptation and Appropriation in Spanish Child-starred Cinemas”, Erin H. Hogan (University of Maryland Baltimore County)
A resounding and perennial success, Anglo-American Francis Hodgson Burnett’s children’s literature classic Little Lord Fauntleroy has been adapted many times to the screen. This paper will examine the analogue and transposition, per Deborah Cartmell’s and Julie Sanders’ adaptation terminology, of Little Lord Fauntleroy in the Spanish films Un rayo de luz (Luis Lucía 1960) and El viaje de Carol (Imanol Uribe 2002). Common to all three texts is the child’s journey to the country of his or her parents’ origin and the revelation then hierarchized reconciliation of cultural differences therein. The triptych I propose here spans the United States and England of the 1880s, Spain and Italy of the early 1960s, and Spain of 1938 and 2002. Although these features share Hodgson Burnett’s literary intertext, each offers exceptional insight into the utilization of the child protagonist during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries for opposing ideals of family, nation, class, and gender. The mothers of the twelve-year-old protagonists are not accepted either for reasons of nationality and class in Un rayo and Little Lord or for politics in El viaje. Spain’s problematic relationship with the memory of its Civil War and Francisco Franco’s dictatorship (1939-75) sheds light on how each film barters with the national symbolism of the child protagonist in the literary intertext in order to serve the ideologies of Franco’s Spain of the early 1960s and Constitutional Spain of the early 2000s.

Erin K. Hogan is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her research focuses on the representations of children in contemporary Spain and Latin America. She is preparing a book manuscript that approaches narratives of appropriation of the child and the Spanish cine con niño film genre through the metaphorical and theoretical lenses of ventriloquism and biopolitics. One of her most recent publications, on the Catalan film Black Bread (Villaronga 2010), appeared in the February (2016) Screen Arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal.

“‘Iniquity of the Fathers’: Masculinity, Class and Childhood in Scottish cinema”, Robert Munro (Queen Margaret University)


The films of directors Bill Douglas (Childhood Trilogy, 1972-78) and Bill Forsyth (That Sinking Feeling, 1979; Gregory’s Girl, 1981) begun an enduring focus with childhood and adolescence within the Scottish Cinema, which can be seen in recent years through films such as: Ratcatcher (Ramsay, 1999), Sweet Sixteen (Loach, 2002), Neds (Mullan, 2010), Shell (Graham, 2012), Iona (Graham, 2015) and Sunset Song (Davies, 2015). Many feature a troubling father-child relationship, most frequently between father and son; however the three most recent films listed above also probe the relationship between father and daughter. These films interrogate notions of class (in doing so validating particular modes of experiencing) by filtering their portrayals of poverty in Scotland through the eyes of the child. This paper will analyse three of these films in close detail (Ratcatcher, Neds and Shell), drawing upon previous work on Scottish cinema which has frequently, and sometimes problematically, focused primarily on film and national identity. Do these films position Scotland as the poor child in the family of the United Kingdom; or is such political allegorising too neat when textual analysis of the films is rounded out with a study of their production, and the motives of their ‘auteurist’ directors? Scottish cinema has ‘grown up’ alongside processes of political and arguably cultural devolution from the British state since the 1970s, and this paper will locate its analysis of the role of the child in the aforementioned films within this socio-political context.
Robert Munro is a third year PhD student, whose research examines contemporary film adaptations of Scottish literature, and the relationships between cultural policy, national identity and screen production in Scotland.  

Gramsci, Pasolini and the Girl: Analyzing Alice Rohrwacher’s Le meraviglie”, Stefano Guerini Rocco (University of Bergamo)


Twelve-year-old Gelsomina and her younger sister secretly sing a commercial pop hit in the barn of their farm. Suddenly their father calls them: he is a stern, patriarchal beekeeper who wants them to take part in all the phases of his apiarist work. This brief scene perfectly embodies the double heart of Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders (Le meraviglie, 2014). On one hand, the movie depicts the coming of age of a young girl in mid-90s Italy: Gelsomina’s conflict between belonging to or escaping from her rigid, archaic family is the plot’s backbone. On the other hand, Rohrwacher wants to portray the progressive and irreversible end of an entire traditional cultural system – what Antonio Gramsci called “folklore” – while the commercial song and the crew that arrives in the Tuscan countryside to shoot a TV program represent what Pier Paolo Pasolini defined as a kind of “sviluppo senza progresso” (“development without progression”). Thus The Wonders depicts a crucial moment of the Italian recent history, but Rohrwacher overlaps this passage with a typical coming of age narrative: it is a double transition. The rural life and the TV program represent for Gelsomina two opposite ways of growing up and becoming a woman, two antithetical views of the world and the future. However, Gelsomina will find out that both of them are ghost worlds, which lead only to a dream of shadows dancing on the walls of a cave.
Stefano Guerini Rocco is a PhD student in Studi Umanistici Interculturali (Intercultural Humanistic Studies) at the University of Bergamo. His research project concerns the representation of girlhood in contemporary American cinema, focusing on the teen movie genre. In 2010 he earned a BA in Cultural Heritage Studies and in 2013 a MA in Cinema Studies at the University of Milan with a thesis on the relationship between Peter Bogdanovich’s work as a filmmaker and as a film critic. He also received a Diploma in Film Production at the Scuola Civica di Cinema, Televisione e Nuovi Media of Milan in 2011. In 2007 he started a collaboration with Il Morandini – Dizionario dei Film and since then he writes as a film critic for several periodicals, online magazines and academic journals like Cineforum. He occasionally takes part in the production of short movies, documentaries, TV commercials, and feature films. Currently he is part of the Scientific Committee of F.A.T.F., an Italian association that promotes the educational role of theatre during childhood and adolescence.

Keynote: David Martin Jones (University of Glasgow)

Telling the Story of History with (to, or by) the Child: Non-National, National, and Transnational Takes”

The size, complexity and richness of a world of cinemas make it extremely difficult to chart how the child is depicted, globally, in any all-encompassing way. Yet by focusing on clusters of films which feature the child, as a way of sorting or taxonomising, we can better understand the different ways in which the story of history (its cinematic manifestation so famously explored by Hayden White, Robert Rosenstone, Marcia Landy, Robert Burgoyne et al.) is told in such films. This paper will explore three such clusters, focusing on recent representative examples: national (the Brazilian film The Year My Parents went on Vacation (2006)), non-national (the Scottish-Gaelic film Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (2007)), and transnational (the Uruguayan horror La Casa Muda/The Silent House (2010)). Such an approach to sorting a world of cinemas should not suggest that the topic of the child is not in itself of key importance. In fact, what is evident across such difference is that the story of history being told through the child often has a relationship to generational difference (the story of history is often also being told to the child, at other times by the child), which can help explain why many such films foreground temporality (above and beyond the association of childhood with a less structured sense of time than that of adulthood). When viewed together, “across borders”, can this generational relationship help explain why, in their engagement with history, these various clusters challenge any too neat an association of childhood and nation in world cinemas?
David Martin-Jones is Professor of Film Studies, University of Glasgow. His specialism is film-philosophy, and his research engages with world cinemas. He is the author of several books, including Deleuze and World Cinemas (2011) (shortlisted for the BAFTSS Annual Book Award). He is co-editor of various anthologies and special editions along with the Bloomsbury monograph series Thinking Cinema and the online research resource deleuzecinema.com.

Screening of Little Soldier, with director, Stella Corradi, and producer, Carol-Mei Barker

 

Little Soldier is the story of 10 year old Anya (Amaris Miller). Anya's mother Amanda (Zawe Ashton) suffers from addiction, forcing Anya into the role of carer and provider. She works for Derek (Morgan Watkins) a drug dealer who wants to keep Anya and Amanda under his control. However, Anya takes matters into her own hands, with darkly comic consequences. Told entirely from Anya’s perspective, the harsh realities of her life are punctuated with moments of colour and imagination, to suggest a sense of hope and the magic of a child’s resilience to life’s difficulties.


Stella Corradi is a filmmaker, writer, and director. Born in Italy, Stella emigrated to London as a child and has studied and worked in east London ever since. She graduated with a Masters degree in Film from Queen Mary University of London specialising in Latin American cinema. In 2011 she travelled to New York to work as a Production Assistant on A Late Quartet (2012). Stella went on to be mentored by Sally Potter working as Director's Assistant on Ginger and Rosa (2012), and then with Justin Kurzel on Macbeth (2015). Stella continues to work closely with Sally Potter. Stella speaks fluent Italian and Spanish and is a skilled steel pan player. Stella has made several short films, documentaries and collaborated on various productions.

 

Carol-Mei Barker is a film writer and academic, with a PhD in Film Studies. She was winner of the 2010 UNESCO 'City of Film' Doctoral scholarship, and she specialises in Chinese and British cinema and the city in film. She taught film and media studies at the University of Bradford, and developed educational resources for the charity Film Education. She has written about film for various publications including Time Out London, and in 2013 sat on the short film jury at the Bradford International Film Festival. Carol-Mei lives in east London, where she grew up and also worked as a Learning Mentor to young people. She is also researching a book on social housing and British cinema

Films from ‘Le Cinéma Cent Ans de Jeunesse’, an international film education programme” with Mark Reid (BFI) chaired by Stephi Hemelryk Donald
The international film education programme ‘le Cinema cent ans de jeunesse’ has been running for 20 years under the aegis of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris.  Each year, groups of children and young people from all over the world participate in a ‘question of cinema’, led by French critic and cineaste Alain Bergala.  The ‘questions’ are always centred on an aspect of aesthetics or form: ‘why move the camera?’, ‘how do films use real things and people to tell stories’, ‘how do filmmakers use long takes in their films?’ The programme is highly structured, around a set of exercises that test and try out formal approaches, and a recommended viewing list of film extracts from all over the world.  At the end of each edition, all the participants make an 8-10 minute film around a common brief, which consolidates some of the learning from the programme. In this session, Mark Reid will share some of the work made by young people from recent editions of the programme, and the specific approaches and activities that support them.’
Mark Reid looks after film education programmes at BFI Southbank in London, England.  He originally trained in, and then taught, English and Media, before joining BFI in 1998 as their Teacher Development Officer, where he set up MA programmes for media and film teachers.  In 2006 he took over leadership of the Education teams at BFI, focusing on building programmes at BFI Southbank. In 2012 he led a research team in a survey of film education in Europe, published as Screening Literacy, and most recently he co-ordinated the EC-funded project that created the Framework for Film Education in Europe.  For the last year 6 years he has been leading the UKs participation in the international film education programme Le Cinéma, Cent Ans de Jeunesse.

Engaging Young People with Difficult Pasts through Film”, with Paul Cooke and respondent Kelly Royds


This session will present the results of an AHRC project that looked at the way film can be used to engage young people in discussion about the legacy of Europe’s ‘difficult’ past and its relationship to their place in the world. The project worked with the Bautzen Memorial in Germany - formerly the main prison of the East German Secret Police – a German community filmmaking organisation and the BFI Film Academy to co-produce a series of films that explore the ways in which popular culture reflects the changing legacy of the GDR in contemporary Germany. The project provided young people, who received filmmaking training, with a means to reflect creatively upon the lessons to be learnt from the GDR dictatorship for contemporary understandings of democracy, global citizenship and the competing ways that notions of 'heritage' relate to our sense of identity.
Professor Paul Cooke is Director of the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on the legacy of the GDR, contemporary German cinema and European heritage drama. He has undertaken community filmmaking projects with international development charities in Germany and South Africa, with further projects planned in 2016-17 for Bosnia and Palestine.


Tuesday 19th April 2016
Panel 4a) Childhood’s History an Identity on Screen
Performing History: Girlhood and The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998)”, Margherita Sprio (University of Westminster)
Performance and children’s performance of history in particular is untheorised within contemporary cinematic debates, although ideas about history and its relationship to realism are very well rehearsed. What might be some of the issues raised by the scrutiny of film performances by non-professional female child actors within the wider context of contemporary Iranian cinema? How might issues of performed authenticity relate to contemporary concerns that mark out ‘girl hood’, ‘reality’ and history as being a problem that is to be contained? How does ‘girlhood’ actually figure in this debate? How do competing histories function within the context of the (girl) child’s performance in film? Amongst others, the work of Samira Makhmalbaf (The Apple, 1998) testifies that contemporary Iranian cinematic practices very often utilise the idea of restaging girls’ lived experiences. Non-professional actors re-perform their ‘original’ experiences and the director creates a narrative from these historical moments. In this context, the feature film format is refigured in order to re-think the role of the performative female and the nature of truth giving within the realm of the moving image. Power relations, and the ethics of a gendered history and realism are further complicated through the explicit manipulation by the (female) film director and her overt interventions both within and outside of the film. This essay will look at the historical context for this form of gendered/realist performance through making connections between this contemporary practice and earlier modes of film and performance. In particular it will offer up some considerations about the very construction of history through film and think through how a resistance to conventional modes of historical knowledge in relation to the role and function of the Iranian girl (and beyond) is both necessary and desirable in the current ‘age of global austerity’.
Dr Margherita Sprio is Senior Lecturer in Film Theory at University of Westminster, UK. She works on film practice and theory as well as the relationship of film theory to photography, contemporary art and philosophy. Her particular research interests relate to the politics of cinema and art, globalisation and diaspora, cultural/sexual difference and transnationalism. She is author of Migrant Memories – Cultural History, Cinema and the Italian Post-War Diaspora in Britain (Peter Lang, 2013), which focuses on the relationship between film, cultural memory, and migrant audience consumption. This paper forms part of a longer essay that is forthcoming, Performing History: Girlhood and the Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998), in the anthology, International Cinema and the Girl. Eds, Fiona Handyside, Kate Taylor-Jones (Palgrave, 2015). Also, forthcoming is ‘The Terrain of Subculture in Silences of the Palace (Mofida Tlatli, 1994)’ which is an essay in the collection Arab Cultural Studies: Mapping the Field. Ed, Tarik Sabry (I.B.Tauris, 2015). Her current book project A Certain Tendency in British Women’s Experimental Cinema explores the politics of feminism in relation to film practice in Britain from the 1980s onwards.

German Landscapes seen by Children: Searching for Identity in (New) German Cinema”, Bettina Henzler (University of Bremen)


Young filmmakers in the 1970s and 1980s, who were to the fore in the New German Cinema Movement, searched for new stories and aesthetic forms to confront the history of National Socialism and World War II, and to encounter a contemporary Germany that was indelibly marked by its past. As already explored in film studies, those films deal with and represent a quest for identity for post-war generations, for whom established concepts of belonging, gender and nation have become dubious due to German history. Nevertheless, the significant frequency and function of child figures in those films has rarely been mentioned and examined so far. The children in these films function as mediators between past and present, between self and other. They embody the perspective of a home landscape (and culture) that has become estranged or they represent utopic figures of resistance. By engaging with a selection of films from the 1970s and 1980s I will explore how the body and the perspective of children are employed to confront landscapes, contemporary as in Alice in den Städen (Wim Wenders 1974), lost and past as in Deutschland, Bleiche Mutter (Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1980), or imaginary as in Das Goldende Ding (Edgar Reitz. Ula Stöckl 1971) or Peppermint Frieden (Marianne Rosenbaum 1983). In crossing borders those child figures interrogate established categories of nation and gender, that have become problematic and embody a search for new modes of belonging. They also represent the filmmaker’s view, examining the strategies of filmmaking – as a different mode of crossing borders. With reference to Milchwald (Christoph Hochhäusler, 2003) I will also ask how this motif is being re­employed in contemporary cinema to deal with the new historical situation after the Fall of the Wall in 1989.
Bettina Henzler is assistant professor since 2006 at the University of Bremen, Institute for Arts, Film and Education. She is currently working on a research project on “Film Aesthetics and Childhood” with a main focus on French and German auteur cinema. Before she wrote her PhD thesis on the aesthetic approach of film education in the tradition of French cinephilia (Filmästhetik und Vermittlung, published as a monograph 2013). Besides her engagement as researcher and lecturer at the university she also works as freelance consultant in film education, cooperating with international film institutions such as, Deutsche Kinemathek (Berlin); Deutsches Filminstitut (Frankfurt am Main); Österreichisches Filmmusem (Vienna), Cinémathèque française (Paris). Together with Winfried Pauleit she published several publications on film education and mediation, including: Learning from the cinema. International perspectives on film education (German/English publication, 2010) and Filme sehen, Kino verstehen. Methoden der Filmvermittlung (2009). Articles include: “Me, you, he, she, it – Intersubjectivity in Film mediation and education”. In: Henzler/Pauleit 2010; ’Education artistique’ ou ‚Medienkompetenz’. Sur des differences de l’éducation à l’image en France et en Allemagne In: Philippe Bourdier, Jean­Albert Bron, Barbara Laborde, Isabelle Le Corff (Hg.): Mise au point, Nr. 7, Les Enjeux des Études cinématographiques et audiovisuelles: Théories, Méthodes, Idéologies (2015). Stimmen der Geschichte. Deutschland, Bleiche Mutter von Helma Sanders-Brahms. In: Nachdemfilm, Nr. 14, Audiohistory, www.nachdemfilm.de (2015).

Wuthering Hills in Willow and Wind (Mohammad-Ali Talebi, 1999)
Mohammad-Ali Talebi’s forgotten masterpiece Beed-o baad (Willow and Wind, 1999) was only recently rediscovered, when it featured in Mark Cousins’ documentary A Story of Children and Film (2013). It was subsequently screened across the United Kingdom as part of the touring season ‘The Cinema of Childhood’ (2014). This paper will examine Willow and Wind as a significant example of the Iranian children films of the 1990s. Written by Abbas Kiarostami, the film was produced by Kanoon (the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults), a governmental institution focusing on education initiatives. I will explore the visual leitmotifs (a boy climbing a hill, single trees, wind, rain) paying particular attention to the interaction with nature. The landscape and the wind alluded to in the title underline the struggle and determination of Iranian children. The young heroes in films of this period often have a mission, which they stubbornly pursue until it is accomplished. During the Iran-Iraq war, when fathers were away at the front, children took on the role of father-figure within families. This theme is taken up in other films contemporary with Willow and Wind, including those directed by Majidi, Jalili and others. Talebi, who has for over thirty-five years directed films “with children, about children and for children”, pays tribute to these post-war children. Willow and Wind gives recognition to their suffering and expresses admiration for their resilience. It applauds the willpower of a generation with enormous responsibilities, while placing his protagonist as a role model for audiences of all ages. In this moral tale Talebi stresses the dignity and resourcefulness of rural Iran and accurately depicts the solitude of children, and the distance between the worlds of adults and children.
Dr Lidia Merás is a film historian based in London. Among her various contributions to film journals, she serves as a member of the editorial staff of Secuencias, a peer-reviewed film journal published by the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid. She was a Post-doctoral Researcher at Royal Holloway (University of London) and previously taught at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), Universidad Autonóma of Madrid and Universidad Carlos III (Madrid). A substantial portion of her work has involved researching Spanish film, often in connection with contemporary arts and politics. A recent interest is Iranian documentary. Her latest publications within this field will be a book chapter on Profession: Documentarist for Edinburgh University Press, edited by Boel Ulfsdotter and Anna Backman Rogers (2017), and two entries in Parviz Jahed (Ed.) Directory of World Cinema Iran, vol 2 (Intellect, 2016). She is currently the Network Facilitator of the Leverhulme Trust funded project ‘Childhood and Nation in World Cinema’ based at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Panel 4b) Time, Interruptions, Miscommunications

Childhood, Time and Universality in Herz Frank’s Ten Minutes Older (1978) and Víctor Erice’s Lifeline (2002)”, Anna Kathryn Kendrick (New York University Shanghai)


This paper interrogates filmic representations of childhood temporality as an entry to questions of nationhood and universality. It begins from the Latvian director Herz Frank’s Ten Minutes Older (1978), which comprises a close-up shot of children’s faces across ten minutes. The children are seen to cycle through a vast range of emotions, illuminated only by the monochrome flickering of the screen. Frank appears to take a universal view of time and interiority by removing his subjects from space and place, yet to what degree is such distance possible? The paper thus turns to a related short film that formed part of a larger explicit homage to Frank’s work. Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet (2002) saw directors including Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog and Jim Jarmusch play on structural, temporal aspects of Frank’s film, while leaving themes of childhood aside. Only Spanish filmmaker Víctor Erice, in his contribution Lifeline (Alumbramiento, 2002), explicitly foregrounds the passage of time in childhood. Erice depicts the first ten minutes of an infant’s life, yet all his subjects exist within a social and narrative context: specifically, a rural northern Spanish village on 28 June 1940. This paper argues that Erice absorbs Frank’s notion of universality while questioning how aspects of temporality abide in and transcend the medium of film. Relying on filmic evidence and cognitive readings of child development, this paper asks how ‘universal’ portrayals of time’s passage are bound to nationally-bound portrayals of photographic and lived memory.
Anna Kathryn Kendrick is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature and Director of Global Awards at NYU Shanghai. She recently defended her doctoral dissertation, The World of the Child: Holism and Education in Spain, 1918-1936, at the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She holds an MPhil in European Literature from Cambridge, as well as a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University, and has previously lived and worked in the United States, Chile, India, Germany and Spain.

Menino de rua, caralho, tá!” [“Don’t call me street urchin!”]: Stereotypes, Simulations and Mis-Communication in the Brazilian media”, Rachel Randall (University of Leeds)


The fictional performance of thirteen year-old protagonist Branquinha in Como nascem os anjos (Murilo Salles, 1997) eerily foreshadows the real events that took place in Brazil on 12 June 2000 when twenty-one year old Sandro do Nascimento brought Rio de Janeiro to a standstill by orchestrating a highly theatrical bus hijacking. Sandro’s actions have been interpreted as an attempt to monopolise the attentions of Brazil’s broadcast media in the documentary Ônibus 174 (José Padilha 2002), which delves into Sandro’s childhood and adolescence, lived out on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. This presentation explores the processes of subjectification and subordination that occur during infancy (Butler 1997; Foucault 1977) and their relationship to reified notions of childhood ‘innocence’ and ‘evil’. Through their use of self-reflexive and performative techniques, these films acknowledge both the enormous power wielded by Brazilian media apparatus, as well as the commodification of favela youth culture in transnational media. The presentation explores the influence that these media discourses have on the development of vulnerable children’s subjectivities. Ultimately, Branquinha and Sandro mimic the media stereotype of the bandido as it represents their only recourse to power and collective recognition. The privileged space of ‘childhood innocence’ has been barred to them as a result of their impoverished backgrounds, and in Branquiha’s case, because of her queer gender behaviours. Nonetheless, these subjects’ ambivalent Baudrillardian simulations of this role consign them to an even more violent social and media invisibility. Despite this, these films attempt to reclaim their lives as ‘grievable’.
Rachel Randall is a teaching fellow in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University of Leeds. Her doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Children on the Threshold: Bio-power, Gender and Agency in Contemporary Brazilian, Chilean and Colombian Film (1996-2013)’, was undertaken at the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Latin American Studies (CLAS). (She will submit her thesis in October 2015.)

Unfinished Narratives and Radical Uncertainties: Celine Sciamma's Theory of Adolescent Sexuality”, Hannah Dyer and Monica Eileen Patterson (Carleton University)


In her last two films, Tomboy (2011) and Girlhood (2014), Celine Sciamma offers a theory of adolescent sexuality rooted in radical uncertainty. Sciamma’s unfinished narratives see her protagonists resisting, refusing, and refashioning the normative and hegemonic conventions imposed upon them. The films, taken together, offer a productive site for considering the representability of youth's sexual curiosity. Mikael and Vic possess sexualities in excess of the futures imposed on them by adults. At issue is the regulation and foreclosure of their sexual desires. Pressures to adapt to conventional expressions of desire do not disparage their curiosities. In Sciamma’s films, sexuality is not limited to knowable or stable or necessarily singular identity, but rather the drive towards human connection and (self) exploration. Both films narrate their character's gender and sexuality as always emergent, as only a potential preface for a possible future. Our engagement with the films pays specific attention to the racial geographies of the French suburbs that the film's children and youth traverse. These suburbs become historically and psychically significant to their gendered and sexual development, and are infused with meaning resultant from economic and geographic displacement. As recipients of physical and psycho-social forms of violence, Sciamma's young protagonists teach their audience about the difficult beauty of surviving hegemonic masculinity and creatively circumventing expected futures.
Dr. Hannah Dyer is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University. Her work communicates across the fields of child studies, education and sexuality studies. She is particularly interested in how theories of childhood create the psychic and material conditions amidst which children develop. Her current research employs the figure of the ‘queer child’ to provoke questions about aesthetic experience, trauma and futurity.
Dr. Monica Eileen Patterson is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada where she teaches in Child Studies. She received her doctorate in Anthropology and History and a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. Patterson is coeditor of Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge and Questioning Discipline (University of Michigan Press, 2011). As a scholar, curator, and activist, she is particularly interested in the intersections of memory, childhood, and violence in postcolonial Africa, and the ways in which they are represented and engaged in contemporary popular culture and public spheres.


Panel 5a) Rural Spaces and Landscapes

The Neorealist Child and the Nation in Theo Angelopoulos’s Landscape in the Mist (1988)”, Christopher Marnoch (Royal Holloway, University of London)


Theo Angelopoulos’s Landscape in the Mist (1988) follows the journey of two young siblings, Voula and Alexandros, across Greece in search of their absent father, who, they are told, lives in Germany. On their haphazard trip, the children come across various different people – a train conductor, a truck driver, a group of travelling actors – and traverse many different landscapes, both rural and urban. In these situations, the protagonists largely observe the people and places of the Greek nation that surrounds them, rather than being at the centre of the events. In its dramatic approach, the film thus reflects the influence of Italian neorealism, a major antecedent to Angelopoulos’s work overall. According to Gilles Deleuze, neorealism can be defined as a ‘cinema of the seer’, following characters who observe rather than act, depicting their simple ‘encounters’ with the world. And Deleuze notes the particular importance of the child as an archetype of the neorealist seer. This paper will take as a key precursor to Landscape in the Mist Roberto Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero (1948), where the optical encounters of a young boy wandering through the devastated topography of post-war Berlin provide a bleak reflection of the German nation at this time. Taking a similar approach, Angelopoulos organises his film around the various observations and encounters of the two children, through which he is able to build a stark vision of a failed bourgeois nation in 1980s Greece.
Christopher Marnoch teaches film history at Royal Holloway University of London and has also taught at the University of East London.

Lost in the Forest? Childhood and the Nation in Contemporary German Cinema”, Alex Lloyd (Magdalen College, University of Oxford)


This paper examines two recent German-language films which dramatize the fate of parentless children at the end of World War II: Lore (2012, dir. by Cate Shortland) and Wolfskinder (2013, dir. by Rick Ostermann). The narratives chart the children’s respective journeys through the (apparently) quintessentially German setting of the forest, a liminal space through which they pass as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. In doing so, the children find themselves forced to exert their spatial agency in a number of politically and socially contested territories. From their perspective, we witness a fight for survival, and the aftermath of war. Both films utilize standard cinematic tropes of childhood – fairy-tale allusions and the Romantic association of childhood with nature – which in themselves embody the close conceptual associations between childhood and a specifically ‘German’ cultural heritage. This paper considers the different ways in which these two films explore and comment on German identity and ideas about Germany as an emerging nation, both in the immediate post-war period – when the films are set – and as a re-unified state after 1990 – the context in which the films were made and distributed. While both films offer stories based on individuals’ own experiences, they offer a fruitful comparison in the light of their different production histories: Wolfskinder was funded primarily in Germany; Lore was a British-Australian-German co-production, filmed with German-speaking actors, but directed by the non-German-speaking Shortland. I read the films as part of a wider discourse on the legacy of Nazism in the Berlin Republic, particularly in the context of recent debates about German wartime suffering and victimhood.
Alex Lloyd is Lecturer in German at St Edmund Hall and Magdalen College, Oxford. Her main research interests lie in representations of youth, memories of war and dictatorship, and the material culture of childhood. Her doctoral thesis (Wadham College, 2012) examined post-1990 representations of childhood and youth under Nazism in literature, film, and museum exhibitions. She has published articles on German and Austrian cultural memories of the Third Reich, and recently co-edited a special issue of Oxford German Studies on childhood in German film after 1989. Forthcoming articles explore film adaptations of children’s literature by Erich Kästner, and child figures in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s cinematic oeuvre.

The Postcolonial Child in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild”, Veronica Barnsley (University of Sheffield)


This paper considers the figure of the child in Benh Zeitlin’s film Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), a vibrant but urgent ecological drama motivated by the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It examines how a film that on its release was praised as an American survival story focused on a feisty young heroine can be more productively understood through a postcolonial lens as a radical vision of world ecology underpinned by a complex critique of childhood, development and marginality. Exploring how vectors of racial, economic and environmental relations intersect in the film’s fantastical form, my discussion shifts the focus from individual survival to the connectivity that the precarious child heroine enables amongst actual and mythological animals and between past, present and future ‘time-worlds’. I argue that understanding the heroine, Hushpuppy, as a ‘postcolonial child’, allows us to explore the film’s critique of the capitalist, neoimperialist world-system, which decentres the contemporary notion of the human and the tenets of progress and mastery over ‘nature’ that hold it in place, provoking new ways of imagining ecological and political relations.
Veronica Barnsley joined the School of English at Sheffield as a University Teacher in September 2014 and was appointed as Lecturer in September 2015. She completed her PhD on Colonial and Postcolonial Indian Literature in 2013 and has taught at the Universities of Manchester and Salford and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Leeds. Her primary research interests are in colonial and postcolonial literatures from India and Africa, with a particular focus on alternative and global modernisms and writing interested in children, youth and development.


Panel 5b) Memory and Identity
The Sentimental Child: Emotional (Ab)uses of the Child Figure in Two Films of Spain’s Memory Boom”, Sarah Thomas (Brown University)
In Spanish cinema depicting and emerging from the Civil War (1936-1939) and dictatorship (1939- 1975) periods, we find a proliferation of child protagonists and films highlighting the child’s perspective. There are many reasons this is the case: the child as a vehicle for (nostalgic) recreation of a depoliticized or supposedly “objective” past; skirting censorship; the child’s connection to nonlinear time; childhood as a universalizing category of experience, to name a few. This paper examines two films from the so-called “memory boom” of the 1990s and 2000s, La lengua de las mariposas (Butterfly’s Tongue, José Luis Cuerda, 1999) and El viaje de Carol (Carol’s Journey, Imanol Uribe, 2002), as a means of critiquing the sentimentality and appeals to emotion that these heritage films deploy in their representations of both childhood and the historical past. It asks to what degree nostalgia and sentiment mediate or disrupt access to both the past and the child’s perspective, examining how the films construct viewer identification and sympathy. Given the films’ release dates – solidly anchored in the pre-crisis democracy of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and coinciding with the memory boom in literature and film dealing with the Civil War and dictatorship periods – the paper proposes that easy slippage into spectator identification points toward a lack of rigorous engagement with both the violent national past and child subjectivity. It posits that these films frequently offer too-easy identification with or sympathy for their child protagonists, eliding the ethical and representational complexities of accessing both the past and the child’s perspective.
Sarah Thomas received her PhD from New York University in 2013, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at Brown University. Her research primarily focuses on contemporary film from Spain and Latin America, with particular interest in post-dictatorship cinema and the representation of childhood. She has published on representations of the child in Spanish, Argentine, and Peruvian cinema, and is presently completing a monograph entitled The Filmic Child: Childhood, Temporality, and the Violent Past in Spanish Cinema.

Cinema’s Wild Child and The Invention of Ethnicity”, Dijana Jelača (St. John’s University, New York)


The child has been a frequent cinematic witness in films about the Bosnian war (from the SaGA documentaries made during the siege of Sarajevo, to Bosnia’s first postwar feature Perfect Circle, to So Hot Was the Cannon). These cinematic children and their stories frequently call attention to screen’s complicity in perpetuating and fetishizing the pain of “innocents.” In this paper, I focus on No One’s Child (Vuk Ršumović, Serbia, 2014), a film that depicts a wild child whose enculturation develops in parallel with Yugoslavia’s disintegration and emerging ethnic violence. Karen Lury notes that, through the figure of the wild child, cinema explores how children “forge an uneasy alliance with the natural, animal world in a manner that usurps a conventionally anthropocentric position” (2010: 15). Furthermore, Vicky Lebeau suggests that: “the wild child, as both fact and fiction, has been used to question not only the boundary between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ but the idea of the child as such” (2008: 58). Building on their interventions, I show how No One’s Child locates the onset of violence in the moment of the wild child’s entrance into ethnic identity. In a blurring of the nature/culture split, war and violence are here provocatively exposed as defining traditions of the civilized and cultured rather than their abominations. I examine how, in its critique of the invention of ethnicity, the film depicts wilderness as the child’s final retreat from the violence of war, and from identity as such—through a return to a non-anthropocentric mode of being.
Dijana Jelača holds a PhD in Communication and Film Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She teaches in the department of Rhetoric, Communication and Theatre at St. John’s University, New York. Jelača's research interests include critical ethnic studies, Eastern European cinema, childhood and trauma studies. Her forthcoming book is Dislocated Screen Memory: Narrating Trauma in Post-Yugoslav Cinema (Palgrave 2015). Jelača's work has appeared in Camera Obscura, Feminist Media Studies, Studies in Eastern European Cinema and elsewhere.

Growing pains: Young people and violence in Peru’s fiction cinema”, Sarah Barrow (University of Lincoln)


The process of ‘coming of age’ has been used as a narrative, thematic and ideological device in much of the fiction cinema that has emerged from Peru over the last two decades. Most of the more well-known and critically acclaimed films from this period have dealt with the violence between government and Shining Path that rocked Peru from 1980-2000. While critical attention has been paid to the topic of violence itself as a cinematic metaphor for the struggle for identity and nation formation in Latin America, and the image of the child is a widely debated device for exploring the processes of self-discovery, this presentation looks specifically at the use of the image of a young person at the centre of this period of social, political and cultural turbulence in Peru. This paper looks at questions of personal and collective identity/memory in relation to the cinematic image of the young person, and explores some of the ethical issues raised by these representations in films such as Lion’s Den (Francisco Lombardi, 1988), Paper Dove (Francisco Aguilar, 2003), Milk of Sorrow (Claudia Llosa, 2009) and Bad Intentions (Rosario García-Montero, 2011), whose protagonists’ lives have been dramatically affected by the struggles of the recent past. Drawing inspiration from the work of Karen Lury, I ask to what extent the child’s story serves as ‘metonym for wider suffering’ and/or as a blank screen on which to ‘project adult emotions and fears’ (2010, 106-7).
Sarah Barrow is Head of the School of Film & Media at the University of Lincoln. Sarah worked at the Cambridge Arts Cinema as one of the first venue-based film education officers, funded by the BFI. While there she set up a production company which focused on making films with and for young people. She was one of the founding members of the Cambridgeshire Film Consortium, a film education initiative, and is committed to a range of media literacy and digital arts education projects in Lincoln and beyond. She is currently a Trustee of the English & Media Centre in London, and the lead on an Arts Council Exceptional Award-funded project for young people linked to Magna Carta themes called 1215.today (www.1215.today)


Panel 6: Child Stars, Commodification and Children Acting
“‘The kid is not my son’: The Evolution of Children and Media in Leslie Thornton’s Peggy and Fred in Hell”, Stefan Solomon (University of Reading)
While a number of landmark filmmaking projects, such as Seven Up (Michael Apted, 1964-present) and Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2002-2014), have captured the growth of children over an extended period of time, less is known about Leslie Thornton’s evolving experimental work, Peggy and Fred in Hell (1984-present). Elliptical in nature, Thornton’s collection of films depicting the real life siblings, Janis and Donald Reading, offers itself as a combination of found footage, documentary, and science-fiction, and is difficult to summarise. The work is also concerned with the evolution of media, as Thornton has employed 16mm film, analog video, and digital over the last three decades, and has exhibited Peggy and Fred as a single-channel installation piece in a number of galleries and museums. In taking this transitional, open-ended approach, Thornton locates unexpected sympathies between children and media, where changes in both dictate changes in the project as a whole. This paper will consider the way in which the protagonists of Peggy and Fred, ‘raised by television’, develop into intermedial characters, their growth determined in part by Thornton’s use of different modes of visual representation. It will seek to understand the singularity of the child in American avant-garde filmmaking, and the way in which an ongoing work registers the strange and uneven experiences of childhood in the late-twentieth century United States.
Stefan Solomon is a Visiting Fellow in Film Studies and New Media at the Australian National University. He is the co-editor of William Faulkner in the Media Ecology (LSU Press, 2015), and has just completed work on a monograph, William Faulkner: From Hollywood to Mississippi (UGA Press, 2016). His next project focuses on examples of protracted composition in film, literature, and other media.

Darsheel Safary: Bollywood, Globalization and the Child Star”, Michael Lawrence (University of Sussex)


This paper will address the relationships between the network’s themes of nation, childhood and world cinema in the contemporary global era by examining the career of the Indian actor Darsheel Safary (b. 1996), who became the highest-paid child star working in Bollywood following his debut performance in the award-winning and highly successful Taare Zameen Par (Aamir Khan, 2007). This film, like the fantasy adventure film Zokommon (Satyajit Bhatkal, 2011), which Safary made in 2009, and in which he plays a Kick Ass-style vigilante superhero, are among the first Indian films to be co-produced and distributed worldwide by the Walt Disney company; significantly, the latter was released under the ‘Disney World Cinema’ label, suggesting a new stage in the global consumption of popular Hindi film, long considered “an ‘un-fine’ world cinema” due to its lack of realism and notable auteurs (Bhaumik 2006). In 2015, the eighteen-year-old Safary appeared in an episode of Lage Raho Chachu, a popular children’s television show that airs on Disney’s Indian television channel. Safary’s association with global corporations includes working as official brand ambassador for companies such as Adidas, Horlicks and PlayStation; Bumm Bumm Bole (Priyardarshan, 2010), in which Safary starred, was produced in association with Adidas India. Safary’s relationship with such companies reflects specific transformations of Indian society and culture associated with the nation’s economic liberalization in the 1990s; he belongs to a new generation known as “liberalization’s children”. His last screen appearance, however, was as Saleem Sinai, the central character in Canadian director Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s magic realist novel Midnight’s Children (2012), who, like all the children born at the moment of Independence (midnight, 15 August 1947), has mysterious powers (in his case, telepathy). Whereas Saleem’s magical powers function in the historical fantasy to unite children from all over the nation, Zokommon’s “superhero” adventures function in the film to maximise its appeal to children all over the world (Bollywood has only very recently begun making “superhero” films of this kind). This paper focuses on both Zokommon and Midnight’s Children and considers how the “super powers” of Safary’s characters function in relation to this child star’s participation in such diverse products oriented towards international audiences, namely popular genre cinema produced with Disney or prestigious adaptations made by a Non-Resident Indian auteur director.
Michael Lawrence is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. His research interests include cinema’s various uses of children and animals, and popular Hindi cinema. He is the author of Sabu (BFI, 2014) and the co-editor, with Laura McMahon, of Animal Life and the Moving Image (BFI, 2015) and, with Karen Lury, of The Zoo and Screen Media: Images of Exhibition and Encounter (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2016). He is currently working on a new monograph, The Children and the Nations: Juvenile Actors, Hollywood Cinema, International Relations and Humanitarian Sentiment 1940-1960, and has chapters on Hindi cinema forthcoming

”’A Market of The Senses; Your Relations Are of Power:’ The Female Body as Decorative Object and Commodity in Sofia Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette'” (2006), Anna Backman Rogers (University of Gothenburg)


Marie Antoinette evinces a fascination with surfaces and materiality; the film abounds with tightly framed shots of food, drink, fabrics, furnishings, shoes, clothes, hairpieces, and jewelry. It is, markedly, a film that is concerned with the mechanics and fetishized objects of rabid consumption. It is also, fittingly, a film that is about images: both historically or culturally inscribed images and images that work on us internally as a form of psychic structure. Its politics lies in the image, then. The film’s insistent engagement with surface and cliché as a form of (gendered) politics seems to have caused scholars and critics alike to argue that the film’s very form attenuates or precludes any kind of political engagement with the images it sets forth. This conflation of the image’s surface with superficiality is an erroneous interpretation that has marred the reception of many of Coppola’s films, but Marie Antoinette’s flagrantly anachronistic and postmodern approach to French history and its indulgent exploration of material culture renders it especially susceptible to critical misunderstanding and misappropriation. It is my contention, alongside Rosalind Galt, that implicit within such cavalier dismissal of the film as being too engrossed in its own superficiality is a misogynist agenda. Coppola’s devotion to exploring feminized and feminist space and female subjectivity through ambiguous imagery that draws directly upon prefabricated forms of visual culture, such as the cliché, precipitates a tendency to elide image and meaning too closely; the location of crisis – and by extension a politics - within the adolescent female body radically troubles the psychoanalytic notion (after Freud and Lacan) that a woman is too close, too approximate, with/to her own body and specular image to have perspective or knowledge and thus, to engender critique. As such, critical eschewal of images that explore female experience through deliberately feminized space, as is the case in Marie Antoinette, is telling: the clear assumption being that the ‘feminine’ - or to use Galt’s terms ‘pretty’ or ‘decorative’ - image is devoid of political import and substance. By way of stark contrast with the majority of critical readings of this film in the vein of ‘all style and no substance’ and scholarship that has characterized it almost exclusively in terms of post-feminism (See Diamond in Munich 2011: 203-232), this paper will argue, drawing predominantly on the feminist philosophy of Luce Irigaray (1985), that the film elaborates on the theme of commodity fetishism (through both form and content) in order to reframe history as ‘herstory’. That is, Marie Antoinette delineates precisely the manifold and insidious ways in which a young woman’s body is divested of identity and autonomy and turned into a commodity to be traded amongst and owned by a divisive, hierarchical and fundamentally patriarchal society. The film’s politics lies in its visual alliance of decorative and pretty objects with the female body. As such scholars are not mistaken in identifying a post-feminist strain in the film’s mise-en-scène, but it is my contention that the film enacts a critique rather than an outright endorsement of such a de-politicisation. Furthermore, the film’s resolutely contemporary and postmodern recuperation of history – which made many critics uncomfortable - enables engagement with, and critique of, both historic narratives that falsely and exhaustively pertain to accuracy and truthood, as well as current and neo-liberal forms of feminism. Marie Antoinette may be a film of surface and appearances, but one should not simply infer therefore that its politics is superficial and its form hinders access to interiority: for above all, its very structure demands that the viewer identify with a beleaguered female subjectivity. It is, at its very core, a feminist film.
Dr Anna Backman Rogers completed her PhD at The University of Edinburgh and is a Senior Lecturer in Filmvetenskap at Göteborgs Universitet. She is the author of 'American Independent Cinema: Rites of Passage and The Crisis Image' (Edinburgh University Press) and the co-editor with Laura Mulvey of 'Feminisms' (Amsterdam University Press). She is currently working on a monograph on the films of Sofia Coppola, tentatively entitled 'The Politics of Visual Pleasure' for Berghahn (due out 2017), and two books, co- edited with Dr Boel Ulfsdotter, for Edinburgh University Press (due out 2017) on female authorship and documentary film and the documentary image. She has published on Gus Van Sant, Jim Jarmusch, Miranda July, Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Winding Refn, The Maysles Brothers, Laura Mulvey, Maja Borg, and Lena Dunham. She is currently working on three book chapters: on Shulamith Firestone and the cultural contradictions of late capitalism and the romantic comedy genre, on Kelly Reichardt's 'Meek's Cutoff', and the photography of Francesca Woodman. She specializes in Film Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Feminist Theory, Continental (French) Feminist Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze, and Independent Cinema.


Panel 7: Network Partners Round Table
Children’s Toys, Nationhood and Blondness in Argentine Animated Films”, Jordana Blejmar (University of Liverpool)

This paper analyses two stop-motion short films ‘acted’ almost exclusively by toys – Barbie Gets Sad Too (dir. Albertina Carri, 2002) and Easy Money (dir. Nestor F. and Martín C., 2001) by exploring discourses of childhood, national identity and memory attached to both local and imported/transnational playthings in Argentina. Barbie Gets Sad Too is a short pornographic animation and an explicit, melodramatic, denunciatory and anti-sexist production that tells the story of a sexually unsatisfied and aristocratic Barbie doll, the symbol of Western female beauty and ‘The Blond’ par excellence, who leaves the sadistic and masochistic Ken and falls in love with her Hispanic maid. Easy Money is the tragicomic story of a naïve toy boy called Cuchu, ‘the little blond star’, born in a shantytown during the 1978 World Cup at a time when Argentina was still under a cruel military dictatorship. Cuchu is abandoned by his father and suffers the exploitation of those around him. He spends his lonely life dreaming of playing football with the Argentine national team and hoping, in vein, that his life will improve. I argue that both films playfully use the ‘blondness’ of their protagonists to tackle issues of race, xenophobia, class struggle and the dominant classes’ historical aspirations to ‘europeanize’ the country. I also suggest that what I call ‘subversive play’ and ‘guerrilla toy films’ such as these ones are highly effective for discussing seemingly unrepresentable and taboo subjects, such as sexual violence and disappearance, in ways that more realist or documentary accounts fail to do.


Dr Jordana Blejmar is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of the Arts at the University of Liverpool. She was previously a Research Associate for the AHRC-funded project Latin(o) American Digital Art and a University Teacher at Liverpool, as well as a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London. Originally a literature graduate from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, she was awarded an MPhil and a PhD (as a Gates Scholar) at the University of Cambridge. She is a member of the steering committee of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory (London). She has curated art exhibitions in Buenos Aires, Liverpool and Paris. Her research focuses on the material culture of childhood, ludic art and playful memories of trauma in Latin America. She is the co-editor (with Natalia Fortuny and Luis García) of Instantáneas de la memoria: Fotografía y dictadura en Argentina y América Latina (2013, Libraria), of a special issue on Latin American postmemories (with N. Fortuny,Journal of Romance Studies, 2013) and of a special issue on contemporary Argentine poetry (with Ben Bollig,Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, in press). She is also currently completing the manuscript Playful Memories: The Autofictional Turn in Post-Dictatorship Argentina.

Libidinal Circuits: Childhood migration North and South”, Stephi Hemelryk Donald (University of New South Wales)


Here Donald considers a sub set of the overall theme, that of forced removal. She discusses what she terms the libidinal circuits of forced migration, whence children are moved from place to place without their consent, are part and parcel of a psychologically powerful but essentially amoral cycle of mobility that sits, like the letter on the mantelpiece, in full view of perpetrators and victims. Libidinal circuits (derived as an idea from Lyotard’s understanding of flows and investment): motivated by desire, capital and opportunity, fuel the traffic of humanity between north to south, and south to north. To explain how such circuits also have the effect of layering history and creating heterotopic memories for the children and their inheritors, she draws on the French historian Max Silverman’s concept, palimpsestic memory. The television series, ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ (1992), tells the story of two children sent from Liverpool to Australia as part of the Homing Children forced migration of the poor, that started in the mid 17th century and continued until the 1970s. It charts the inexorability of disadvantage, violent loss, and loneliness for women and children who have insufficient means of support in the eyes of the State, but whose value is counted in terms of their bodies, as workers and as colonial subjects and occupiers. ‘Once my Mother’ (2014) is Sophia Turkiewicz’s account of her own migration as a baby from a Zambian refugee camp, and that of her Mother from Eastern Europe via Zambia (where Sophia was born) to Australia, and is equally harrowing. Both films take children North to South and South to South. Some have their parents with them, some travel alone. The point of both stories is the lifetime of effort required to break the libidinal circuit of colonial desire (whether that be the British Empire or the combined violence of the Soviet regime and the Nazi war machine in the 1940s) and discover the unraveling truth of their own biographical stake in such paradoxically mobile and restricted historical space.
Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald is ARC Professorial Future Fellow at the University of New South Wales (2012- ), where she is Distinguished Professor at the iCinema Research Centre. She is a film scholar specialising in childhood, China and comparative world cinemas. She has previously held a Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship at the University of Leeds. Since 1995 she has published fourteen research books, over thirty book chapters in academic refereed collections as well as twenty-three refereed journal articles. Professor Hemelryk-Donald has worked on the intersection of film, childhood and politics since commencing her doctoral research in 1993. She wrote the first English language book on childhood in Chinese film (2005), which discussed the relationship between ideal childhoods and national identity, emotionality and film, and the new consumption habits of Chinese children in the early twentieth century. Her current work on the migrant child in film connects explicitly to the network and she involves a team of PhDs and film-makers with expertise in participatory video, guerrilla film-making, and film studies in the network. Her experience as a researcher, a supervisor, and an academic manager, and her long involvement in intellectual pursuits are central to the project.

Beiqing sentiments and Left-behind children in compassionate cinema”, Zitong Qiu (NIT, Ningbo)


An extensive internal rural-to-urban migration occurs in China with the nation’s rapid economic growth over the past decade. As a consequence of this prominent social transformation, children of migrants are largely left 'behind' under the care of relatives, and largely exposed to problems pertinent to healthcare, compulsory education, emotional and psychological well-being in rural areas. There is a fundamental lack of research into the representation of left-behind children in cinema and literature in general. In attempt to fill in this gap, this paper examines left-behind children in three Chinese films: Left-behind children (liushou haizi, 2008), Bus fare (Chefei, 2009), and Gift from the heaven (tiantang de liwu, 2010). It suggests that the representation of left-behind children in Chinese cinema combines two similar melodramatic narrative traditions which are very common in popular television dramas: kuqing (bitter emotion) narration (Kong, 2014) and beiqing (misery) narration. Kuqing/beiqing's affective mechanisms ultimately position left-behind children as object of public compassion within a moral enclave, leaving the structural violence and rural-urban division underpinning their condition unquestioned. In the films, Individual’s virtues of compassion and love ultimately provide the solution to the predicament faced by left-behind children as a specific social group, which further reinforces the left-behind children within the moral discourse. This paper argues that exemplified in these three films, cinema about left-behind children exposes the nature of compassionate media and its significant problematic in contemporary China.
Zitong Qiu is Associate Professor and member of the Huallywood Film Research Center, School of Media and Design, Ningbo Institute of Technology, Zhejiang University.
The Female Adolescent Body as Trope for the Spanish Nation in 1980: La isla mínima/ Marshland (Rodríguez 2015)”, Sarah Wright (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Alberto Rodríguez’s stylish noir thriller La isla minima (Marshland) swept the boards at the Spanish Goyas in 2015. Set in the Guadalquivir wetlands of Spain’s ‘deep south’, it is a crime drama (similarities have been drawn to HBO’s True Detective) featuring two cops who are investigating the brutal torture and murder of several teenaged women. In its drawing out of issues of brutality and corruption, the film arguably puts paid to the succession of films featuring wide-eyed children who are conduits for the (often nostalgic) exploration of questions of historical memory and the trauma of the Franco regime who took power after the Spanish Civil War. La isla minima (Marshland) is set in 1980, on the cusp of the Transition to Democracy. This paper will explore the ways that the female adolescent body becomes a trope for the Spanish nation in ways that offer a new direction for the engagement of cinema with questions of Spanish historical memory.
Dr Sarah Wright is Reader in Hispanic Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has an established international reputation in the fields of Spanish theatre, cinema and cultural studies. Dr Wright has published three monographs, one coedited book and various articles. Her most recent book is The Child in Spanish Cinema (Manchester University Press, 2013). Whilst the child is a persistent motif in the cinema of Spain, this is the first book to offer an in-depth analysis of the figure of the child. It draws on recent research in film theory, children’s geographies and memory studies to present a focus on the child and memory in connection with the horrors of Spain’s recent past. Dr Wright is working closely with Professors Wilson and Hemelryk Donald to define the intellectual questions at the heart of the Leverhulme project ‘Childhood and Nation in World Cinema’. Dr Wright brings experience in the coordination of postgraduate events, work with schools and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Céline Sciamma’s sisters”, Emma Wilson (University of Cambridge)

Céline Sciamma’s films have been scintillating for their intense feeling, intimacy, and close apprehension of sensuous existence. In films about girl protagonists Sciamma has explored a full stretch of feelings of love and hurt. Her films variously show vulnerability, pain, rapture and tenderness. This is felt with peculiar energy in the filming of intimate contact between sisters in Tomboy (2011) and in Girlhood (2014). Sciamma traces sister ties as part of a wider engagement with girls’ experiences of friendship and desire. Tomboy has been important politically as a film mobilizing questions about gender and in these terms it has been introduced into the school curriculum in France. Girlhood is opening questions about the experience of girls in the banlieue. This paper argues that crucially involved in the films’ radical impact, and in explorations of girlhood more broadly in contemporary French culture, is attention to sensation and affect, to love, connection, nakedness and raw feeling. Sciamma is interested in representing emotional transitions and in offering plural images of girlhood. In relations between sisters we see girls of different ages involved with one another, physically connected. We see girls as feeling, social subjects. The modes of love and vulnerability in these relations, their negotiation, their involvement in the very modes of filmmaking, are seen as key to Sciamma’s attention to the politics of girlhood.
Professor Emma Wilson is currently Professor of French Literature and the Visual Arts at the University of Cambridge. A scholar of film and the visual arts, since 1996, she has published seven research monographs on French literature, French visual culture and international cinema. In Cinema’s Missing Children (Wallflower Press, 2003), Wilson looked at the figure of the child lost or endangered and at its place in the cinematic imagination, arguing that the child has eclipsed the image of the lady that vanishes. She was concerned in particular with issues of innocence, nostalgia and loss, exploring the emotions gathered in the image of the missing child across first-world and Western cultures. Professor Wilson brings to the Network the particular impact of her research in areas of feminist and queer theory as they relate to children in cinema.

The Child as Victim and Creator of Postnational Affiliations In Diasporic European Cinema”



Daniela Berghahn (Professor of Film Studies, Royal Holloway)
In this paper I will explore the figure of the child in diasporic European cinema, tracing two prominent themes: the death of the child and the child’s ability to create elective familial bonds that disavow the significance of natural kinship. Drawing on Marianne Hirsch’s (1999) discussion of children in Holocaust films, I propose that the vulnerable child who dies as a result of hazardous migratory journeys (Journey of Hope) and honour killings (When We Leave) invites multiple projections and identifications and functions as a powerful melodramatic device. Based on the premise that the family serves as a trope of national belonging, I will examine how children form voluntary affiliations with surrogate fathers (Tour Abroad, Couscous, West is West, Monsieur Ibrahim) that call the legitimacy of the traditional patriarchal family into question and, by implication, advocate the notion of post-national belonging (Hollinger 2000), based on consent rather than descent.
Daniela Berghahn is Professor of Film Studies in the Media Arts Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has widely published on post-war German cinema, the relationship between film, history and cultural memory and transnational cinema. Her extensive work on migrant and diasporic cinema in Europe has been supported by the AHRC and is documented on the websites www.farflungfamilies.net and www.migrantcinema.net. Her publications include Head-On (BFI Film Classics 2015), Far-Flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema (Edinburgh UP, 2013), European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe (co-edited with Claudia Sternberg, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and Hollywood Behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany (Manchester UP, 2005). She is currently developing a research project that explores the decentered exotic in contemporary transnational cinema. 

Screening of Catherine Grant's video-essay about the work of Annette Kuhn:  Interplay: (Re)Finding and (Re)Framing Cinematic Experience: Film Space and the Child's World followed by a dialogue between Catherine Grant and Annette Kuhn

For more see: http://www.lolajournal.com/6/interplay.html
Catherine Grant teaches Film Studies at the University of Sussex. She has published widely on theories and practices of film authorship and intertextuality, and has edited volumes on world cinema, Latin American cinema, digital film and media studies, and the audiovisual essay. A relatively early proponent and practitioner of the online short video form (her work includes numerous audiovisual studies of cinematic children/childhood), she is founding co-editor of [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies. This new peer-reviewed publication was awarded the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award of Distinction for 2015.
Annette Kuhn is Emeritus Professor in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London, a Fellow of the British Academy and a former editor of the journal Screen. Her recent books include Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies (2012, co-written with Guy Westwell) and Little Madnesses: Winnicott, Transitional Phenomena and Cultural Experience (2013). Current interests centre around film history, cinema memory and the cinematic experience.



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