Press Release #FILMADRID2017
Laura Mulvey, ultimate example of feminist film theory, will participate in the FILMADRID 2017 Seminar
Madrid, Feb 1st, 2017 – FILMADRID International Film Festival is preparing its third edition with many novelties and with the commitment to discover new paths in the landscape of contemporary cinematography by focusing on the promotion and exhibition of authorship in films. This Edition will be held on 8-17 June 2017, and will give special focus to women participation in Cinema.
Since last year, one of the main events of FILMADRID 2017 is the Festival’s International Seminar. In this edition, the Seminar will be held by Laura Mulvey, one of the most brilliant feminist film theorist in the world, and will have the title “Women and Film: An Approach Through Representations of the Mother in Image and Narrative”.
The Seminar draws on a wide variety of films to reflect how the emotions and social issues associated with motherhood have been depicted on screen. From Hollywood melodrama, to British avant-garde, Iranian social realism, and Italian feminist compilation film, this Seminar will combine historical context, and stylistic and theoretical analysis with a close study of selected sequences.
Laura Mulvey’s groundbreaking essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, has become the most influential and most recognized text in feminist film studies. Mulvey was also prominent as an avant-garde filmmaker in the 1970s and 1980s. Together with Peter Wollen, her husband, she co-wrote and co-directed Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), Riddles of the Sphinx (1977, perhaps their most influential film), AMY! (1980), Crystal Gazing (1982), Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982), and The Bad Sister. In 1991, Mulvey returned to filmmaking with Disgraced Monuments, which she co-directed with Mark Lewis. This film examines “the fate of revolutionary monuments in the Soviet Union after the fall of communism.”
The Seminar will be given in English (with simultaneous translation into Spanish) and it will be held on 12-15 June 2017, in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid from 10am to 2pm. For more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Laura Mulvey
Laura Mulvey was born in Oxford on 15 August 1941. After studying history at St. Hilda’s, Oxford University, she came to prominence in the early 1970s as a film theorist, writing for periodicals such as Spare Rib and Seven Days. Much of her early critical work investigated questions of spectatorial identification and its relationship to the male gaze, and her writings, particularly the 1975’s essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, helped establish feminist film theory as a legitimate field of study.
Between 1974 and 1982 Mulvey co-wrote and co-directed with her husband, Peter Wollen, six projects: theoretical films, dealing with the discourse of feminist theory, semiotics, psychoanalysis and leftist politics. The first of these, Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974) explored concerns central to Mulvey’s writings: the position of women in relation to the patriarchal myth, symbolic language and male fantasy. Penthesilea represents an experimental British venture into territory pioneered by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard. With its counter-cinema style and relentlessly didactic approach, however, its appeal was inevitably limited to a restricted audience.
The most influential of Mulvey and Wollen’s collaborative films, Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), presented an avant-garde film as a space in which female experience could be expressed. Remarkable formalistic innovation, notably 360-degree pans, informs the film’s content, describing the mother’s loss of and search for identity. The result is a challenging, forceful and intelligent film.
AMY! (1980), a tribute to Amy Johnson, is a more accessible reworking of themes previously covered by Mulvey and Wollen, but it is ponderous and slow. Far from a conventional biopic, the aviator is used as a symbolic figure, her journey exemplifying the transitions between female and male worlds required by women struggling towards achievement in the public sphere.
Crystal Gazing (1982) represented a departure from the emphatic formalism of Mulvey and Wollen’s earlier films. It demonstrated more spontaneity than previous works, both in performances and in the storyline, elements of which were left undecided until the moment of filming. Bleak, but with playful touches, this representation of London during the Thatcher recession was generally well received, despite criticism of Mulvey for the lack of a feminist underpinning to the film. She admitted she had been reluctant to incorporate feminist polemics fearing they would unbalance the film.
Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982) and The Bad Sister (1982) followed, revisiting feminist film issues. After these, Mulvey did not return to filmmaking until 1991, when production began on her solo project Disgraced Monuments, an analysis of the fate of revolutionary monuments in the Soviet Union after the fall of communism.
Laura Mulvey is currently Professor of Film and Media Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London.
More information and interviews:
FILMADRID International Film Festival was born with the determination to discover new paths in the landscape of contemporary cinematography by focusing on the promotion and exhibition of authorship in films. Participation in the contest is open to fiction and non-fiction films from all over the world, with special interest in pieces of work innovating in both narrative and formal approaches, regardless of production formats. FILMADRID is created by Pasajes de Cine, a cultural association from Madrid.