Dr Cecilia Sayad – Performing Authorship: Self-Inscription and Corporeality in the Cinema

Dr Cecilia Sayad, Lecturer in Film, has written a new book titled Performing Authorship: Self-Inscription and Corporeality in the Cinema (I.B. Tauris, 2013).

In an era defined by the instability of identities and the recycling of works, Performing Authorship offers a refreshingly new take on the cinematic auteur, proposing that the challenges that once accelerated this figure’s critical demise should instead pump new life into it. This book is about the drama of creative processes in essay, documentary and fiction films, with particular emphasis on the effects that the filmmaker’s body exerts on our sense of an authorial presence. It is an illuminating analysis of films by Jean-Luc Godard, Woody Allen, Agnès Varda, Orson Welles, Jean Rouch, Eduardo Coutinho and Sarah Turner that shows directors shifting between opposite movements towards authorial assertion and divestiture, palpability and disappearance, exposure and masking. In making this journey, Cecilia Sayad argues, the film author is not necessarily at the work’s origin, nor does it constitute the end product. What the new concept of performing authorship describes is the making and unmaking of a subject.


The endorsement:

‘Can a filmmaker be an author, or is the concept a relic of an old-fashioned ideology unsuitable for a technological and industrial medium? And what about filmmakers who actually perform in their films, as characters, narrators or even appear as filmmakers? Drawing on a range of genres, from fiction film to documentary, and on filmmakers well-known and more obscure, Cecilia Sayad’s work illuminates these issues with a range of careful readings and insights. This book puts film authorship in a new light.’ – Tom Gunning, The University of Chicago.


The book can be ordered on Amazon.