Skip to the content | Change text size

Film and Television Studies ‘Under Construction’ Seminar Series

2012 Seminar Series

Convened by Associate Professor Adrian Martin

Download recordings of papers from the links below. For more recordings, see our podcasting page.

Photo: Scrap Yard by David Sheehy
14 March

Threads of Horror: Ero Guro, J-Horror and Japanese Modernity

Michael Honig

Since the Meiji restoration period, pre-modern culture has been identified with an unadulterated Japanese nation. Two particular threads of Japanese horror can be seen throughout the 20th century: the pre-modern ghost story and the Ero guro genre. In both of these threads, the body is used both as a symbol of transformation and as a metaphor for the state of the Nation. Since the early short stories of Edogawa Rampo, seminal figure of the Ero guro genre, focused on the changing, modernising landscape of Japan and the deformation of the body. In Post-War Japan the tensions of nationalism again appeared in relation to the body. The ebbs and flows of debates concerning nationalism can be seen throughout the Japanese New Wave, the avant-garde dance movement Ankoku-Butoh and Pink film with its increasing violence. Though the area that the paper is mostly concerned with is the extremely violent V-cinema (Japanese straight to video) splatter horror of the 1980s: a period noted for the Japanese economic ascendency and J-Horror of the late 1990s and early 2000s made during a crisis of modernity.

Michael Honig is writing his PhD on the J-horror genre at Monash University (FTV/RUFCT).

Download a recording of this paper in MP3 format

18 April

Paris in the Cinema

Professor Keith Reader

Professor Reader works on various aspects of (primarily but not solely) twentieth-century French culture. In the area of film he has published a monograph on Robert Bresson (Manchester University Press, 2000) and one on Jean Renoir's La Regle du jeu. He has recently finished an article on Resnais's L'Annee derniere a Marienbad as sado-masochistic text - an approach that incorporates his interest in critical theory (in this case the work of Deleuze) and in gender studies. The latter approach largely underpins his monograph, coauthored with Rachel Edwards, on The Papin Sisters (Oxford University Press, 2001 ), and even more markedly his study of male (self-)abjection The Abject Object (Rodopi, 2006), which examines avatars of the abject phallus across a variety of texts - theoretical (Lacan, Kristeva ...), literary (Bataille, Doubrovsky, Houellebecq ...) and cinematic (Godard, Eustache ...).

His most recent project builds on a developing interest in the area of cultural topography, by way of a cultural history of the Bastille/Faubourg Saint-Antoine area of Paris. The range of texts here extends from canonical literature (Hugo's Les Miserables) and theory (Benjamin's Paris: capitale du XIXe siecle), through the detective novel (Leo Malet), film (Klapisch's Chacun cherche son chat, Pialat's Police) and less-explored areas still such as chanson and bande dessinee.

Download a recording of this paper in MP3 format

16 May

The Figure of La Parisienne in French and US Cinema

Felicity Chaplin

Roland Barthes defines myth as a signifier of the second order, a type of social usage added to pure matter and adapted to a certain type of consumption. In Louis Malle’s 1965 film Viva Maria!, two mythologies productively intersect: the mythology of la Parisienne and the mythology of striptease. The film stars Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau – the two grandes demoiselles of French cinema of the day – as Maria and Maria, who accidentally found the art of striptease. The aura surrounding Bardot and Moreau, cultivated by their star personae, adds a further layer of significance and consecrates the mythological history of the origins of striptease. This paper will also consider Marc Allégret’s En Effeuillant la Marguerite (1956), Rouben Mamoulian’s Silk Stockings (1957) and Jean-Luc Godard’s Une Femme est une Femme (1961).

Felicity Chaplin is a PhD candidate at Monash University, across Film and Television Studies; and Languages, Cultures and Linguistics. Her thesis is titled ‘La Parisienne in Cinema’.

Download a recording of this paper in MP3 format

22 August

‘Never Forget What You Are’: Game of Thrones and Adaptation Studies

Jo Murphy

This presentation will discuss the adapting of series of novels to television, with specific reference to HBO’s Game of Thrones. It will suggest that theories of film adaptation cannot always be successfully applied or translated to television, and that new, medium-specific theories of analysis need to be developed.

Jo Murphy is a postgraduate candidate in ECPS (Film and Television Studies). Her PhD project investigates remaking and adaptation in television. Her MA at University of Otago explored the slasher remake’s status as cumulative hypertext, and was awarded with distinction in 2011. She recently organised the successful Confessional Culture postgraduate conference at Monash.

  • Wednesday 22 August, 5pm
  • Room S703, Menzies Building, Clayton Campus
12 September

Affectless Empathy and The Killer Inside Me

Dr Jane Stadler

This paper analyses the affectively and ethically charged interface between the spectator and the screen in Michael Winterbottom’s potent film The Killer Inside Me (2010), a crime thriller adapted from Jim Thompson’s brutal 1952 pulp fiction novel. Empathy plays an important role in position taking and moral judgment, yet the ways in which it relates to aspects of film spectatorship such as cognition, imagination, emotion and character engagement are not well understood. This paper tests the boundaries and significance of the concept of cinematic empathy by examining whether it may be possible to empathise with an emotionless person or a screen character like the mild-mannered murderer, Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) in The Killer Inside Me. Drawing on scholarship by phenomenologists and cognitive film theorists such as Jennifer Barker and Carl Plantinga, I analyse the film’s aesthetic style to question how affectless empathy might complicate ethical responses to cinema by splitting asunder the cognitive and affective components of emotional experience and inviting epistemological alignment with a dispassionate sociopath.

Dr Jane Stadler is Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at The University of Queensland. She is author of Pulling Focus: Intersubjective Experience, Narrative Film and Ethics (Continuum, 2008), co-author of Screen Media (Allen & Unwin, 2009) and Media and Society (Oxford University Press, 2012), and co-editor of Pockets of Change: Adaptation and Cultural Transition (Lexington Books, 2011).

  • Wednesday 12 September, 5pm
  • Room S703, Menzies Building, Clayton Campus
10 October

The Sapphires and Politics of Mainstreaming in Indigenous Film and Television

Dr Therese Davis

“Having four Aboriginal women on the big screen is political.” – Tony Briggs, Co-writer and Associate producer, The Sapphires, Melbourne International Film Festival, July 2012

The Sapphires (2012) is Australia’s most commercially successful Indigenous film to date. It took $2.3 million at the Australian box office in its opening weekend in August, beating other recent local releases such Kath and Kimderella ($2.1 million) and the big budget, much-hyped Bait 3D ($365,000). Since then it has gone on to become only the fifth Australian film in the past five years to gross more than $10 million at the local box office. Much of this success is undoubtedly due to its ‘feel good’ style and its soundtrack of soul classics (the latter having spent several weeks at No.1 on the ARIA Albums Chart). But The Sapphires is not a one-hit wonder. It is part of a broader ‘Black Wave’ of successful screen projects resulting from a strategic shift in Indigenous screen policy in the past five years toward mainstream production models and career development. This paper will discuss these policies, including a new work and training program to create media jobs for Indigenous Australians, titled Media RING (Media Reconciliation Industry Network Group), encompassing more than 40 broadcasters, government media agencies, Indigenous organisations, trade associations, media buyers and newspaper groups, including Screen Australia, ABC, SBS, FOXTEL and News Limited. Paying particular attention to The Sapphires, I look at the ways in which emphasis on mainstreaming and professional development in Indigenous screen policy is impacting filmmaking practices. I argue that box-office receipts cannot be the only measure of success of The Sapphires and other Indigenous screen projects; and I propose a new analytical approach designed to help us to understand the ways in which Indigenous cultural knowledge and values are successfully being applied in mainstream film/television projects, exploring benefits of this work for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.

Therese Davis is a senior lecturer in film and television studies at Monash University. She is the author of The Face on the Screen: Death Recognition and Spectatorship (Intellect, 2004) and co-author with Felicity Collins of Australian Cinema After Mabo (CUP, 2004). She has published articles on Australian Indigenous film and television in Screening the Past, Continuum, Studies in Documentary Film, Studies in Australasian Cinema, Australian Historical Studies, Senses of Cinema and Metro. She is currently working with Dr Romaine Moreton on a new book on Australian Indigenous filmmaking for Screen Australia.

  • Wednesday 10 October, 5pm
  • Room S703, Menzies Building, Clayton Campus
14 November

Difficult Subjects: Cinema, ‘Distinction’ and Women Who Kill

Janice Loreck

Femmes fatales, girls-with-guns and action heroines are common figures in popular cinema. Both ‘inherently violent’ in their unruly femininity, but also supposedly ‘incapable of aggression’ as women, female murderers’ troubling ontology has long been understood as a symptom of cultural ambivalence about gender. This hypothesis is informed by a tendency to view the violent women as the purview of popular cinema. This presentation revisits the violent women to investigate how her subjectivity is produced in films such as Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003), Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009), Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994), and other films that circulate, both industrially and culturally, as ‘distinguished’ cinema.

Janice Loreck is a PhD Candidate with the Department of Film and Television Studies, Monash University. She has spoken at conferences here and abroad, and her work has appeared in M/C.

  • Wednesday 14 November, 5pm
  • Room S703, Menzies Building, Clayton Campus

Past and Present Conferences and Seminars

Visit our archives of conferences and seminars - recordings of many papers are available for download: