CFP: Anglo-French Cinematic Relations Conference

Sometime area-studies conferences fall off my radar, but this one sounds like an interesting and valuable one. The deadline for this is fast approaching.

Anglo-French cinematic relations since 1930

Department of Film Studies, University of Southampton
September 14-16 2007

Call for papers: deadline 30 April 2007

Despite the close geographical, political and cultural links between France and Britain, the dynamics of Anglo-French cinematic relations remain critically understudied. While numerous Anglophone studies have been written on French film - and indeed Francophone studies on British film - rarely do these works account for the dialectical interplay between the two at the levels of production, distribution, exhibition and reception. In order to redress this balance, this conference is aimed at an examination of the two-way flow of cinematic traffic between France and Britain from 1930 to the present day, filling significant gaps in our knowledge of British and French film and film personnel in transit, and what this reveals about the respective cultures. The conference will hopefully also have implications for the study of Anglo-French relations more generally, and the study of European cinema as a whole, as it moves away from the Hollywood / Europe axis which has dominated studies of cross-cultural traffic, replacing it with an engagement with inter-European exchange.

The event will run in conjunction with a special exhibition, ‘French Cinema in Britain, 1930-present’ and a series of screenings, to take place at the Harbour Lights Cinema, Southampton. Keynote addresses will be given by Pam Cook, Sarah Street, Robert Tombs, and Ginette Vincendeau. The conference will also feature a panel of industry experts who will discuss contemporary issues in the distribution, exhibition and promotion of French cinema in the UK.

Proposals for papers covering any aspect of Anglo-French cinematic relations since 1930 will be considered, but the organisers would particularly welcome papers exploring the following areas:
  • Representations: In what ways is each country and its culture represented by the other’s film and television production, and vice versa? How does this correspond with or compare to each country’s self-representations? Are Anglo-French social, political and personal relationships represented on screen?
  • Production Contexts: What implications does the increased frequency of co-productions have on Anglo-French cinematic relations? What can be said about the trend for multi-lingual works such as L’Auberge espagnole (Cédric Klapisch, 2002)? What role does the national exchange of personnel from the two countries play in French and British cinema?
  • Distribution and Exhibition: What are the principal distribution channels for French cinema in Britain, and vice-versa? What is the contribution of specialist distributors such as Artificial Eye in the UK and MK2 Diffusion in France? Of art cinemas and cinématheques? Of film festivals and film societies? Of television? How do dubbing and subtitling strategies feed into questions of exhibition and reception?
  • Institutional Discourses: What are the roles of various cinematic and non-cinematic institutions (for example, The UK Film Council, Le CNC, L’Institut français du Royaume-Uni, the British Council in France) in producing films, promoting and disseminating information about their national products abroad? Or promoting foreign products to a domestic market? What role do television companies such as the BBC and Film4 play in terms of both exhibition and production? What can be said about relationship of censorship boards such as the BBFC to foreign film?
  • Promotion: Who are the audiences for French films in Britain, and British films in France? In what ways are French films ‘pitched’ to British audiences, and vice versa? How does their marketing and promotion rely on particular perceptions of nationality and national cinema? Does this vary according to social / political / historical context?
  • Stars and Auteurs: What roles do stars and auteurs play in Anglo-French cinematic relations? Do some stars and directors travel better than others? Are some received differently across the channel than at home, and if so, why is this? What do foreign stars represent to national audiences in terms of identification and desire?
  • Receptions and Perceptions: Which films export best from one country to another and why? How can we account for those that do not cross the channel well? How do responses between domestic and foreign audiences vary?
  • Criticism and Theory: What is the relationship between French and British film criticism? To what extent does the domestic criticism of a film influence its reception abroad? What refractions take place as British films pass through the lens of French criticism, and vice-versa?
Please send a proposal of 200 - 300 words for a paper of approx. 20 minutes, together with your contact details and a brief biographical note by April 30th 2007 to the conference organisers, Lucy Mazdon (lem1@soton.ac.uk) and Catherine Wheatley (C.Wheatley@soton.ac.uk).

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