Articulating difference: gender, sexuality and ethnicity in French cinema

Tarr, Carrie (2004) Articulating difference: gender, sexuality and ethnicity in French cinema. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This portfolio of published work consists of a selection of articles and book chapters representing the originality, breadth and coherence of my research into the ways in which gender, sexuality and ethnicity are mediated and articulated in French cinema. It is prefaced by an introductory section which discusses the unifying themes running through the work presented, placing it in the context of existing work within the field and also relating it to my research career to date. The portfolio opens with an early article on two white male-authored British films of the late 1950s/early 1960s, which establishes many of the concerns that have since informed my work: it analyses the films' discursive strategies within the particular context of their moment of production and reception, and assesses the extent to which they invite the spectator to accept or resist dominant ideologies of sexual and/or racial difference. The rest of the portfolio focuses not just on the deconstruction of gender, sexuality and ethnicity in white male-authored French cinema, but also on the challenges to dominant ideologies to be found in films by women and by ethnic minorities in France. The articles are grouped into three independent but interlocking sections: “Gender and Sexuality” addresses selected white, male-authored French films of the 1940s and 1990s, “Women's Filmmaking” focuses on films directed by French women directors in the 1980s and 1990s, and “Ethnicity, Identity and Ethnic Minority Filmmaking” looks at the construction of ethnicity and difference in both white and ethnic minority films in France, also in the 1980s and 1990s. The work presented provides both a comprehensive overview of women's filmmaking and postcolonial cinema in France in the 1980s and 1990s, drawing on extensive filmographies, and also detailed analyses of individual film texts (from the 1940s to the 1990s). Unified by a common concern with the changing hegemonic and counter-hegemonic representations of difference and identity within particular socio-historic contexts, it establishes the importance of the work of women and minority directors in offering new strategies of identification and cultural contestation.

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