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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

‘Challenge or cosmetic makeover? The ‘feminised’ Parisian banlieue film’ Seminar

Centre for International Film Research
16:00 - 18:00
28 November 2017
Lecture Theatre B Avenue Campus Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Shelley Cobb at .

Event details

Part of the Film Research Seminar Series 2017-18. All welcome.


Since La Haine/Hate in 1995, the ‘genre’ of the cinéma de banlieue has almost exclusively designated films representing the economically and culturally deprived suburbs of Paris, with a recognisable iconography of high-rise blocks, derelict shopping malls and empty walkways – sites replete with poverty, boredom, violence and racism but also … machismo as the films are inhabited, in the main, by male delinquent youth. Such narrow representations echo wider media discourses on the banlieue and continue to inform popular and art films alike (relatively recent examples include David Charhon’s De l’autre côté du périph’/On the Other Side of the Tracks in 2012 and Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan in 2015). There have nevertheless been a few attempts at widening the cinematic vision of the Parisian suburbs, their inhabitants and social issues. Among these, a burgeoning trend has consisted of ‘feminising’ the genre by focusing on female characters.

Building on a longer (if modest) tradition, challenges to the masculine bias of the banlieue film have recently produced high-profile texts, both in popular cinema, for instance Hervé Mimran and Géraldine Nakache’s Tout ce qui brille/All That Glitters (2010), Jérôme Enrico’s Paulette (2012) and Sou Abadi’s Cherchez la femme (2017), and in art cinema, with Céline Sciamma’s Bande de filles/Girlhood (2014) and Houda Benyamina’s Divines (2016).  While arguing for a more comprehensive and complex definition of the film de banlieue that goes beyond the entrenched image, this presentation explores the reasons for the male bias of the genre and the impact of changing the gender of the main protagonists, in terms of iconography, of the protagonists’ relation to space and of narrative motifs, aiming to understand whether the new, female-oriented films produce a truly challenging new vision of the suburbs or not.

Speaker information

Ginnette Vincendeau, King’s College London. Professor in Film Studies. Ginette has written widely on popular French cinema and is a regular contributor to Sight and Sound. Among her books are Pépé le Moko (1998), Stars and Stardom in French Cinema (2000), Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris(2003), La Haine (2005), Brigitte Bardot (2013 and 2014). She has edited and co-edited several volumes, including The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks (with Peter Graham, 2009), A Companion to Jean Renoir (with Alastair Phillips, 2013) and Paris in the Cinema: Beyond the Flâneur (with Alastair Phillips, 2017). She is currently writing a book on the filmmaker Claude Autant-Lara.

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