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Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers$
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Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474425261

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425261.001.0001

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Impossible Liaisons? Genre and Feminist Film Criticism

Impossible Liaisons? Genre and Feminist Film Criticism

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Impossible Liaisons? Genre and Feminist Film Criticism
Source:
Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
Author(s):

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425261.003.0001

This chapter traces how, traditionally, feminist analyses of films authored by women tended to centre on experimental or art-house cinema and, subsequently, on genres culturally codified as ‘female’. It then goes on to engage with the most important debates around the concept of ‘women’s cinema’ and their significance in relation to genre theory. In particular, Alison Butler’s insights into women’s cinema as ‘minor cinema’, adapted from Deleuze and Guattari’s (1975) concept of the minor – as an alternative to the negative aesthetics of counter-cinema – is particularly apt here, as it allows for a reconsideration of women’s film authorship in mainstream productions and the ‘major’ language of film genres. Following and expanding this concept, it is argued that genres can be particularly productive spaces from which to think about female filmmakers, film authorship and the cultural politics of gender (especially in terms of the status of the woman author or her lack of status), as will be explored in the following chapters. Finally, instead of locking women filmmakers into a segregated gender sphere defined by ‘women’s culture’, the chapter argues for the mutability of gendered identities and questions the oversimplified notion of gender-to-gender cinematic identification – a typical assumption underpinning the categorisation of genres by gender – and suggests that ‘opportunities for resistance are more available than the opposition between “dominant cinema” and “counter-cinema” allows’ (Cook 2012: 33).

Keywords:   genre, feminist film criticism, women filmmakers, authorship, women’s cinema, counter-cinema, minor cinema, gendered genre, male/female genres, identification

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