Current Projects

Rape in Art Cinema

This anthology explores the representation of rape in art cinema. Its aim is to highlight the prevalence and multiple functions of rape in this prestigous mode of filmmaking as well as to question the meaning of this ubiquity and versatility. Focusing on key films from the fifties to the present, Rape in Art Cinema is divided into four sections that address the theme from different historical and theoretical perspectives: i. “Re-reading the Classics”, in which well-known “rape films” are reassessed under new perspectives and the works canonical auteurs are analyzed in relationship to this theme, ii. “Recent Film,” which includes comparisons of mainstream and art films, iii. a section on “American independents” and iv. a final section on the recent French films that have garnered much controversy due to their graphic representations of sexual violence. Rape in Art Cinema brings together well-known critics alongside emerging voices and is international in scope, with contributors from Canada, the U.S. and Britain analyzing Japanese, French, American, Spanish and Danish films. It is interdisciplinary in approach: scholars from philosophy, film studies, religion and literature come together to investigate the representation of rape in some of cinema’s most cherished films.

Sound in the Cinema of Argentina and Spain

A work-in-progress, currently developed in articles, this monograph focuses on the soundtrack of Spanish and Argentine cinemas.

In the introductory chapter, I compare the history of sound in each country. Spain is a particularly important for exploring the “sound of the nation,” as the Francoist regime made a conscious use of sound for ideological purposes. The official documentary voice of the No-Do [Documentary News], on the one hand, and the use of dubbing, on the other, mean that sound played a key role in Francoist propaganda. During this period Spain was inundated with Hollywood productions, and boasted the greatest numbers of cinemas in Europe. Part of a deliberate policy of promoting a culture of escapism to distract from the politically repressive environment, the Franco regime used Hollywood film and U.S. newsreels to its own purposes, choosing dubbing as the best means to control undesirable ideological messages. I will look at how dubbing and voice-over both intersected and deviated from the American soundtrack, molding and shifting according to the regime’s political aims.

Thereafter, I propose case studies from each national cinema, beginning with Buñuel’s L’âge d’or as an experiment in the expressive possibilities of sound. A second section looks at the aesthetics and politics of silence in the work of Víctor Erice and Adolfo Aristarin. Both filmmakers produced their first works in opposition to a dictatorship. Erice’s acclaimed The Spirit of the Beehive can be studied as exemplifying the art cinema’s “aesthetics of silence.” I argue that it nevertheless can be read for its political use of silence. In a different mode of production and under very different national and political circumstances, Adolfo Aristarain’s early films turn silence on screen into a covert political weapon. The comparison allows me to demonstrate that silence in the cinema is extraordinarily complex in its construction and effects.

The last section compares the renewal of the Spanish and Argentine industries through “youthification.” With a focus on the soundtracks of Alejandro Amenabar and Lucrecia Martel, two young filmmakers who pay careful attention to sound, I show the differing ambitions of the two movements in relationship to European cinema and the dominance of Hollywood films.

Birth Onscreen: Documentary Aesthetics and the Ideology of Birthing Practices

An exploration of works on television, video and film that use documentary footage of birth, including “reality tv: ” Life’s Birth Stories, Slice’s Birth Days, experimental film (Brakhage’s Window, Water, Baby, Moving ) educational films (A Clear Road to Birth by Judy Seaman, Birth: Eight Woman’s Stories, Nancy Durrell McKenna) and many more.

Michel Moreau: The Documentarian, Documented

Michel Moreau emigrated to Québec from France in 1960. He was a documentary filmmaker, painter and sociologist. With his wife, Edith Fournier, he documented the birth of his daughter and the involvement of his son in the process in the 1979 film Une naissance apprivoisée. They subsequently published a book on the same topic. Moreau initially worked for the National Film Board, but in 1972 he founded his own company, EducFilm. Over the course of the next twenty-five years he made over forty films. He returned to the NFB to make his last film, an autobiographical meditation on emigration Le pays rêvé [The Dreamed-Of Country]. In 1998, he began to show signs of Alzeimer's. The couple's struggle with the disease was documented in several films including Mon Ami Michel, by Jean-Pierre Lefebvre (Cinak 2004) and Édith et Michel, by Jocelyne Clarke (productions Erézi, 2004). In 2007, Edith Fournier published a book entitled J’ai commence mon éternité [My Eternity has Begun] in which she chronicles her life with a declining Michel. It is, essentially, a love letter.

My project is to bring together Michel Moreau's work and the documentaries about him as a kind of chronicle of Québec history, but also that of a family, and of a man.,fr/