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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

The Nasty (kind) woman and female authorship in cinema and television Seminar

9 November 2021

Event details

Speaker: Professor Agnieszka Piotrowska (Film and International Engagement, Gdansk University, Poland and Professorial Fellow, Film, Oxford Brookes, UK).

In this talk I present my research on the figure of the 'nasty ( but kind) woman' which I have discussed in my 2019 monograph of the same name, suggesting that the rise of 'the nasty woman' in cinema and culture is linked to the #Mettoo movement also in terms of the rise of a female voice/female authorship and a greater awareness of the need to do so, subverting patriarchal system. Here I will show some excepts of the published video essays and explore how the idea can be applied in different contexts across different cultural outputs. I suggest a video essay might offer a productive way for this scholarly research.

In one of the recent published video essays I have juxtaposed material from three films about female desire – written and directed by women at different historical moments in time, in different countries. These are: The Piano (1993) by Jane Campion (New Zealand), Fuga (2018) by Agnieszka Smoczynska (Poland) and Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (2019) by Celine Sciamma (France). In the Polish context it is particularly important that these three films about female desire speak to each other, as Poland has been late in acknowledging its links to international feminism. In the essay I suggest that video essay is a good vehicle for intertextuality as a tool as I evoke in the same video essay literary echoes with the work of Polish Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Olga Tokarczuk and Wislowa Szymborska, the Polish poet who also won the Nobel Prize in 1996. The immediacy of a video essay as a tool of film scholarship invites the comparisons which might otherwise be more challenging to carry out.

In the talk I will also reflect on the recent BAFTA award winning film Promising Young Woman (2020) and the BBC TV award winning drama I May Destroy You. Despite it supposedly feminist stance I see the former as reinscribing a patriarchal narrative and the latter as a new non-binary and creative way of subverting the dominant culture. I will show my brand new video essay ideas linked to these texts.

Please register using Eventbrite and you will then be sent a Outlook meeting request which will include the link to the seminar. Please note the seminar will take place online using Microsoft Teams. The deadline for registering for this event is 3pm on the day of the seminar (09/11/2021).

Any questions or queries please contact Tracy Storey on

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