Royal Holloway Conference Abstracts Monday 18th April 2016



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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.
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