Women Film Makers

This module will explore the work of some of the most historically important female film-makers from the 1890s through to the present, considering films from around the globe. The module will examine the significant but often marginalized and obscured roles that women have played in industrial, experimental and avant-garde film production across a spectrum of roles from costume and production designers through to screen-writers, editors and directors. You will be invited to reflect upon the fact that, despite playing key roles in the development of the medium, women continue to be excluded at all levels of film production. The decision by Hollywood star and activist Geena Davis to establish a campaigning ‘Institute on Gender in Media’ is a measure of the urgency of this subject.

The module will engage with revisionist film histories concerned with interrogating the dominant bias of academic and popular histories of the medium; it will also draw on feminist film theory concerned both with a critical understanding of mainstream cinema and the development of politicized women’s cinemas. The module will examine a series of female directors and their work, and each week will be oriented around the screening of a case study film that will be the focus for the seminar. An example of directors included is Alice Guy-Blaché, Dorothy Arzner, Leni Riefenstahl, Ida Lupino, Laura Mulvey, Mira Nair, Kathryn Bigelow, Marziyeh Meshkini, Lynne Ramsay.

Assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.