Journée d’études – Tuer les pères : femmes derrière la caméra dans les films de famille

9 December 2019, IRCAV, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, Paris

Coordinated by Beatriz Rodovalho & Giuseppina Sapio

Submissions deadline : 5th of July 2019.

The Study day « Killing the fathers : Women behind the camera on home movies » proposes a collective reflection on amateur images produced by the family. By affirming and perpetuating the family institution in its patriarchal, nuclear and heterosexual configuration, the home movie has thus contributed to reproduce the bourgeois codes and hierarchies of gender and sexuality. By conceiving amateur cinema as a “technology of gender” (De Lauretis, 1987), we welcome papers on amateur images made by women to uncover and analyse their own “familial gaze”.

Argument

In 1979, Roger Odin published the article “Rhétorique du film de famille” (“The home movie rhetoric”) in the Rhétoriques, sémiotiques issue of the Revue d’Esthétique, in which he defined the home movie as “a film made by a member of a family, about objects or events related in one way or another to the history of this family, and for the privileged use of members of this family.” The familial practice of image-making has been the subject of many scientific works in several disciplines: from sociology (Bourdieu, 1965) to anthropology (Chalfen, 1987), from history (Zimmermann, 1995) to communication (Odin, 1995, 2011, Moran, 2002, Cati, 2009, Rascaroli, Young, Monahan, 2014, Sapio, 2016) through cinematographic studies (Turquety, Vignaux, 2016, Rodovalho, 2018).

Home movies fulfill essential functions through which the family and its members negotiate their roles and their identity. In this perspective, the making and the viewing of private images contribute to a process of subjectivation and constitute “spaces of communication” (Odin, 2011) characterized by strong power stakes.

Forty years after the publication Roger Odin’s article, we propose a collective reflection on amateur images produced by the family. We will examine the ways of seeing and being seen that exist within family groups and that devices (analog and digital cameras, mobile phones) help to shape and materialize.

In taking up the notion of familial gaze developed by Marianne Hirsch, we consider that family photographs and home movies are characterized by an important ideological factor because, by constructing a certain vision of the family, they frame and determine the familial looks of the subjects they mobilise. For a long time, the familial gaze corresponded to a patriarchal gaze, to the extent that, behind the camera, the operator was generally singular and male, while women were the privileged objects of representation. However, this hyper-visibility of women masked, in fact, their absence as producers of images and gazes. By affirming and perpetuating the family institution in its patriarchal, nuclear and heterosexual configuration, the home movie has thus contributed to reproduce the bourgeois codes and hierarchies of gender and sexuality. By constructing images oscillating between the real and the imaginary, they normalised and naturalised the distribution of gendered roles.

By conceiving amateur cinema as a “technology of gender” (De Lauretis, 1987), we welcome papers on amateur images made by women to uncover and analyse their own “familial gaze”: can these home movies build another archive, one free from paternal and patriarchal law (Derrida, 1995)? How do they challenge this law by offering other ways of seeing? Can we write a history of cinema made by amateur women as well as a feminist history of domestic cinema?

In a diachronic perspective, taking into account the social, cultural and legal transformations that have profoundly redefined the contours of the family unit, we are interested in filmic and photographic amateur productions – both from the past and present, analog and digital – which establish a marginal and non-hegemonic familial gaze. Thus, we welcome proposals in which home movies are apprehended as sensitive media objects, situated at the intersection of complex relations of gender, class and race.

How to submit

Please email proposals to both the coordinators, Beatriz Rodovalho and Giuseppina Sapio, using the following adress : filmsdefamille2019@gmail.com.

The proposals must contain the following information: the presentation title; anabstract of no more than 500 words; a short bibliography; five key words; a bio- bibliography of no more than 150 words.

Submissions deadline : 5th of July 2019.

Scientific committee

  • Laurence Allard (Université de Lille 3);
  • Jean-Pierre Bertin-Maghit (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3);
  • Alice Cati (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore);
  • Sébastien Layerle (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3);
  • Roger Odin (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3);
  • Beatriz Rodovalho (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3);
  • Giuseppina Sapio (Université Jean Jaurès – Toulouse 2);
  • Guillaume Soulez (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3);
  • Valérie Vignaux (Université de Caen).

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