Women Film Directors (Fall 2014)
This course explores cinematic discourses of gender and other signifiers of identity from the perspectives of women directors. Beyond character, plot, and thematic content, it will consider the cinematic “language” and rhetoric through which diverse female directors construct meanings and interrogate ideology.
As such, the course brings textual analyses to bear on the social, political, and ideological contexts that accompanied women’s filmmaking for some one hundred years, including the effects of race and ethnicity, social class, sexual identity, national formation, and religion. While it is historic in its sweep over a body of work that evolved across a century of profound changes in the discourses and practices of gender and other social upheavals, it will be weighted toward recent work.
Scholarly writing may include work by Butler, Clement, de Lauretis, Doane, Gaines, Halberstam, Kristeva, Mayne, McHugh, Rich, and others. Films to be discussed (fiction and experimental, not documentary) may include Dulac’s The Smiling Madame Beudet, Riefenstahl’s The Blue Light, Arzner’s Dance, Girl, Dance, Deren’s Meshes of an Afternoon, and more recent feminist work such as Friedrich’s Sink or Swim, Borden’s Born in Flames, Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, Campion’s The Piano, Pierce’s Boys Don’t Cry, Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman, or July’s The Future. [Note: this list is representative, not definitive, subject to time, availability, and other constraints.]