Passages of Gothic Screening in Jarman Gallery on 3rd of April

The multi-screen Passages of Gothic, a 20 minute video essay the Melodrama Research Group worked on for the Festival of Projections last year, is being screened  in Jarman Gallery on Monday the 3rd of April. You are welcome to come and join us!

The Melodrama Research Group and Gothic Feminism invite you to

Passages of Gothic

Experience an atmospheric multi-screen installation celebrating the Gothic heroine in film. This curated collection of film clips counters her frequent dismissal as a passive observer, instead privileging the Gothic heroine in moments of active investigation and bravery. These often stand directly in opposition to her suffering and persecution. Explore the slippage between women’s private and public behaviours in a setting which underlines the complexity of these under-rated female protagonists and their social significance.

The Gallery , Jarman Building

Monday 3 April 2017

 Screenings at 11.30, 12.30, 1.30, 2.30.

The Melodrama Research Group and Gothic Feminism are research groups sponsored by the Centre for Film and Media Research within the School of Arts, University of Kent.

https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/melodramaresearchgroup/

https://gothicfeminism.com/

 

Registration for the Gothic Feminism Conference is now open!

Frances Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald are pleased to announce that:

Registration for the Gothic Feminism conference ‘Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema’  (24th-26th of May at the University of Kent) is now open and will close on Friday 12th May 2017.

You can register here: http://store.kent.ac.uk/product-catalogue/faculty-of-humanities/school-of-arts/arts-events/gothic-feminism-conference-2017

Find out more, including the conference programme, on the Gothic Feminism blog: https://gothicfeminism.com/

Screening of La Belle et La Bete on 12th March, 3.30 pm, Canterbury Curzon

Exciting News!

Melodrama Research Group member Frances Kamm is introducing a screening of Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bette (1946). The French Classic stars Jean Marais as the lonely Beast, and Josette Day as Beauty, the object of his desires.

The Curzon in Canterbury will be showing the film of Sunday the 12th of March at 3.30 pm. You can find more information on the Curzon’s website here: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/canterbury/film-info/la-belle-et-la-bete-1946

Screening Timetable for Autumn Term 2016

We now have dates for our Melodrama Screening and Discussion Sessions next Term. Meetings will take place on even Mondays, from 5-7pm, in Jarman 7.

screening

All are welcome to join us on: the 3rd, 17th and 31st of October, the 14th and 28th of November and the 12th of December 2016.

Following the success of the Gothic Feminism conference we will be screening films and reading novels relating to the Gothic.  We start with Bluebeard (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1944, 72 mins) in the first session, also taking this opportunity to discuss the remainder of the term as well as other plans.

Passages of Gothic on Vimeo

Thanks to Frances, everyone can now see the Passages of Gothic video essay screened during the Gothic Feminism conference. Originally part of the University of Kent’s International Festival of Projections, Alaina has edited this from a 3 screen  to a 1 screen version- thanks Alaina!

Passages poster

Watch it here: https://vimeo.com/170080190

 

Gothic Feminism Conference: Registration now Open!

Registration Open:
Gothic Feminism: The Representation of the Gothic Heroine in Cinema
University of Kent
 
(Registration deadline: 18th May 2016)
 
Keynote Speaker: Dr Catherine Spooner (Lancaster University)

We are delighted to announce that registration has now open for Gothic Feminism: a conference on cinema’s Gothic heroines taking place within the School of Arts.
This conference seeks to re-engage with theories of the Gothic and reflect specifically upon the depiction of the Gothic heroine in film. This conference shall engage with questions of representation, interpretation and feminist enquiry in relation to the Gothic heroine throughout film history including present day incarnations. This event shall illuminate the concerns, contradictions and challenges posed by the Gothic heroine on-screen through reference to specific case studies which re-engage with older examples of the Gothic and/or explore contemporary films, reflecting upon the renewed academic and commercial interest in the genre of recent years.
 
The conference fee is £20 (waged) and £10 (student/unwaged).
The conference fee includes lunch and tea and coffee breaks on both days.
Further updates can be found here:
 
For any queries please contact: gothicfeminism2016@gmail.com
Conference organisers: Frances Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald, University of Kent
Melodrama Research Group
Centre for Film and Media Research
School of Arts

Opportunity to vote for the BFI to restore Margaret Lockwood Melodrama Bedelia (1946)

Exciting News! The British Film Institute (BFI) is giving the public the chance to vote for 1 of 3 selected films to be restored back to its former glory.

Bedelia 6145628601_d8bb8155b6_b

You have the choice of:

Bedelia (Lance Comfort, 1946, starring Margaret Lockwood)

Mr Topaze (Peter Sellers, 1961, starring Peter Sellers)

The Assam Garden (Mary McMurray, 1985, starring Deborah Kerr and Madhur Jaffrey)

All of these films look really interesting though the possibility of seeing another Lockwood melodrama made Bedelia my choice.

The poll closes on the 11th of March.

Find more information and vote here:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/vote-rescue-forgotten-british-film

 

The International Festival of Projections 18th-20th of March

The Melodrama Research Group is taking part in the University’s  International Festival of Projections, running from the 18th-20th of March.

We will be presenting a piece entitled Passages of Gothic on the 20th of March from 5-8pm in Eliot Dining Hall. This 3 screen installation, lasting around 20 minutes, will begin on each hour and half hour.

innocents-ms-giddens-deborah-kerr-candlelight-candelabra

Our blurb:

Experience an atmospheric multi-screen installation celebrating the Gothic heroine in film. While she is often dismissed as a passive observer, this curated collection of classic film clips privileges the Gothic heroine in moments of active investigation and bravery. These often stand directly in opposition to her suffering and persecution. Explore the slippage between women’s private and public behaviours in a setting which reflects, indeed heightens, the complexity of these underrated female protagonists.

You can find more information, including the Festival’s programme, here: http://www.kent.ac.uk/projections/

 

Call For Papers: Gothic Feminism Symposium at the University of Kent, Thursday 26th-Friday 27th of May

Exciting News! Melodrama Research Group members Frances and Tamar are organising a symposium entitled: Gothic Feminism: The Representation of the Gothic Heroine in Cinema. This builds on our Gothic focus over the last 6 months and seems especially apt given our most recent screening of The Stepford Wives (1975). The symposium will take place at the University of Kent Canterbury campus from Thursday 26th to Friday 27th of May. Our confirmed keynote is Catherine Spooner of Lancaster University: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/english-and-creative-writing/about-us/people/catherine-spooner

 

Gothic blog untitled

 

 

Gothic Feminism:

The Representation of the Gothic Heroine in Cinema

University of Kent

Thursday 26th – Friday 27th May 2016

Confirmed Keynote: Catherine Spooner, Lancaster University

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

Since its literary beginnings, the Gothic has featured distinctive female characters who engage with, and are often central to, the uncanny narratives characteristic of the genre. The eponymous ‘Gothic heroine’ conjures up images of the imperilled young and inexperienced woman, cautiously exploring the old dark house or castle where she is physically confined by force – imprisoned by the tale’s tyrant – or metaphorically trapped by societal expectations of marriage and domesticity. The Gothic heroine is habitually motivated by an investigative spirit and usually explores her surroundings in a quest to uncover a sinister secret which will, for example, reveal her love interest’s past or provide explanation for her supposedly supernatural encounters.

The importance of the Gothic’s women protagonists is not limited to these narrative functions but extends to considerations of the genre itself; the Gothic can be defined by its portrayal of the heroine. Ellen Moers’ work on female literary traditions is a key text in this respect, identifying the ‘Female Gothic’ as a distinctive mode within the genre. The ‘Female Gothic’ highlights the prevalence of female writers exploring the Gothic mode and the implied woman reader engaging with the heroine’s exploits. Moers writes that ‘Female Gothic’ texts – such as those by Ann Radcliffe – convey a specific form of ‘heroinism’ which evokes the idea of a ‘literary feminism’.

Moers’ work demonstrates how the Gothic and the Gothic heroine intersect with feminist criticism because, as Helen Hanson notes, ‘the female gothic bears a political charge’ (Hanson, 2007, 63). This ‘political charge’ is equally applicable to the Gothic film and its representation of the heroine. In cinema, the Gothic enjoyed particular attention with the 1940s cycle of melodrama and noir films which emphasised the Gothic traits of the old dark house, mystery and domestic threat, with the Gothic heroine’s exploits central throughout. Films such as Rebecca (1940), Gaslight (1940/1944) and Secret Beyond the Door (1947) are exemplary of this trend. Several writers have explored the political and feminist ramifications of these films which have been seen as Gothic or, as Mary Ann Doane writes, ‘paranoid woman’s films’ (Doane, 1987). The reception and interpretation of these films is inextricably linked to societal contexts in which these films were made, as Diane Waldman notes how the war and immediate post-war period offer distinct visions – and varying degrees of validation – of the heroine’s feminine perspective.

This symposium seeks to re-engage with these theories and reflect specifically upon the depiction of the Gothic heroine in film. Since the release of Rebecca over 75 years ago, has our evaluation of the Gothic heroine necessarily changed? How does the Gothic heroine relate to its literary predecessors? Can one speak of a cinematic Gothic heroine, distinct and separate from the original Gothic literature? Victoria Nelson notes that, in film history, ‘[in] a relatively short span of time, the perennial swooning damsel in distress had turned into a millennial female jock’ (Nelson, 2013, 136). How have the Gothic heroines of the screen evolved and is it possible to trace this specific lineage in contemporary representations? Whether the Gothic heroine be a ‘damsel’ or a ‘jock’, this inevitably raises the question of interpretation: how should the Gothic heroine be evaluated and can such a representation be thought of as ‘feminist’?

This symposium will engage with these questions of representation, interpretation and feminist enquiry in relation to the Gothic heroine throughout film history including present day incarnations, with films such as Crimson Peak (2015) directly re-engaging with the Gothic genre. This event seeks to wrestle with the difficulties posed by the Gothic as a mode which emphasises terror, the uncanny and suspense, alongside representations of women protagonists who given agency as investigators motivating narrative development but are subjected to horror for the story’s pleasure. These difficulties are not new to the Gothic genre. As Fred Botting notes: ‘Women’s gothic, it seems, straddles contradiction and challenge, persecution and pleasure’ (Botting, 2008, 153). Similarly, David Punter and Glennis Byron write that ‘[whether] female Gothic should be seen as radical or conservative has been an issue of particular concern’ (Punter and Bryon, 2004, 280). This symposium will illuminate the concerns, contradictions and challenged posed by the Gothic heroine on-screen through reference to specific case studies which re-engage with older examples of the Gothic and/or explore contemporary films, reflecting upon the renewed academic and commercial interest in the genre of recent years.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • How interpretations of the Gothic heroine relates to large feminist criticisms. Can Gothic film be said to be ‘progressive’? Is the Gothic heroine always defined in relation to a patriarchy?
  • In light of Moers’ work, can one speak of ‘heroinism’ and a ‘cinematic feminism’ to Gothic film?
  • Historical explorations of the Gothic heroine in cinema. How has representations of the heroine changed and how does this relate to larger social and political contextual concerns?
  • Contemporary incarnations of the Gothic heroine.
  • Comparisons between the cinematic Gothic heroine and the genre’s literary beginnings.
  • On-screen adaptations of Gothic literary texts.
  • How does the Gothic heroine compare to other distinctive representations of female protagonists in genres such as melodrama and horror? Is the Gothic heroine a distinct and separate entity apart from other genres, or is she inextricably linked to them?
  • Can one speak of a separate Gothic heroine tradition in cinema?
  • The reception of Gothic film and Gothic heroine audiences.
  • The relationship between the heroine and space, particularly domestic spaces such as the house. How does architecture relate to the representation of the Gothic heroine?
  • The significance of costume and fashion to the Gothic heroine’s identity.
  • Comparisons between the Gothic heroine and other protagonists, such as the archetypal ‘other woman’ or male lead. How, for example, is the concept of ‘Gothic feminism’ affected by the genre’s representation of masculinity/masculinities?
  • The Gothic heroine as virgin or mother figure.

Please submit proposals of 500 words, along with a short biographical note (250 words) to gothicfeminism2016@gmail.com by 18th March 2016.

Frances Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald, University of Kent.

References

Botting, Fred. (2008). Gothic Romanced: Consumption, Gender and Technology in Contemporary Fictions. Oxford: Routledge.

Doane, Mary Ann. (1987). The Desire to Desire: The Woman’s Film of the 1940s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hanson, Helen. (2007). Hollywood Heroines: Women in Film Noir and the Female Gothic Film. London and New York: I. B. Tauris.

Moers, Ellen. (1976). Literary Women. New York: Doubleday and Co.

Nelson, Victoria. (2013). ‘Daughters of Darkness’. In: Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film. London: BFI.

Punter, David. and Byron, Glennis. (2004). The Gothic. Oxford: Blackwell.

Waldman, Diane. (1983). ‘”At last I can tell it to someone!” Feminine point of view and Subjectivity in the Gothic Romance Film of the 1940s’, Cinema Journal 23: 29-40.

Screening Timetable for Spring Term 2016

We now have dates for our Melodrama Screening and Discussion Sessions next Term. Meetings will take place on even Mondays, from 5-7pm, in Jarman 7.

screening

All are welcome to join us on: the 25th of January, the 8th and 22nd of February, the 7th and 21st of March and the 4th of April 2016.

Some possibilities for Gothic-related films have been discussed, and these will be confirmed in due course.