Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 20: Doing Women's Film and Television History

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    Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media Podcast. Episode 05, Issue 20, ‘Doing Women’s Film and Television History’
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne
    This episode features a discussion between the co-editors of the issue: Dr Sarah Arnold, lecturer in Media at Maynooth University, and Dr Anne O'Brien, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Media Studies at Maynooth University. The discussion took place online in January 2021 and introduces the key topics that are covered in Issue 20 of Alphaville: Doing women’s film and television history: Locating women in film and television, past and present.
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    Archivally absent? Female filmmakers in the IFI Irish Film Archive
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) O'Connell, Kasandra; Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne
    This paper is an initial exploration of women’s contribution to collections of the IFI Irish Film Archive, specifically in the area of amateur film production. It considers two female-created collections in this sphere of practice, the Currivan and Overend Collections, examining the context in which they were created as well as the nature of the films themselves. This article also examines the reasons why women are underrepresented in film production, specifically the extent to which organisational policies and the gendered nature of leadership and employment effect what material is produced and preserved. It concludes by looking at praxis within the IFI Irish Film Archive collections and asking what measures the Irish Film Institute can adopt to improve women’s representation and visibility in its programmes of exhibition and preservation.
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    Cinematic Islamic feminism and the female war gaze: Reflections on Waad Al-Kataeb’s For Sama
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Mincheva, Dilyana; Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne
    One of 2019’s most acclaimed documentaries, Waad Al-Kateab’s For Sama is an extraordinary feminist representation of the Syrian civil war (2011present). Al-Kateab impressively documents five years of the most traumatic contemporary conflict in the Middle East by focusing on personal confessions to Sama, her new-born daughter. Raw, dramatic, and sometimes unbearable to watch, it is a poetic tribute to a micro-level, “singularly unmanly”, and painfully intimate portrayal of war and hope (Montgomery). A mixture of love and horror unfold through a kaleidoscopic personal narrative that broaches macro-political and religious subjects without centralising them in the cinematic experience. This article discusses how Al-Kateab’s documentary is a novel and risky experiment that intermingles the female war gaze with a subtle, image-based Islamic feminism. Capitalising on Svetlana Alexievich’s “female war gaze”, which represents the invisible stories of women in war, I show how Al-Kateab’s cinematography expands the scope of the female war experience through carefully selected visual refences to Islamic ethical praxis, as interiorised by the camerawoman. For Sama is simultaneously an intimate motherly confession and act of both “listening” and “remembrance” (as the praxis of the Sufi Samāʿ suggests). In short, it mediates an ethical truth about the human condition in ruins.
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    Writing the history of women’s programming at Telifís Éireann: A case study of Home for Tea
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Wait, Morgan; Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne
    The history of women’s programming at the Irish television station Teilifís Éireann has long been neglected within the historiography of Irish television. Seminal studies within the field have focused quite specifically on the institutional history of the Irish station and have not paid much attention to programming. This is particularly true in regards to women’s programmes. This paper addresses this gap in the literature by demonstrating a methodological approach for reconstructing this lost segment of programming using the example of Home for Tea, a women’s magazine programme that ran on TÉ from 1964 to 1966. It was the network’s flagship women’s programme during this period but is completely absent from within the scholarship on Irish television. Drawing on the international literature on the history of women’s programmes this paper utilises press sources to reconstruct the Home for Tea’s content and discourse around it. It argues that, though Home for Tea has been neglected, a reconstruction of the programme illuminates wider themes of the everyday at Teilifís Éireann, such as a middle-class bias and the treatment of its actors. As such, its reconstruction, and that of other similar programmes, are exceptionally important in moving towards a more holistic history of the Irish station.
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    Queer representation in Arab and Middle Eastern Films: A case study of women in Caramel (2007), Circumstance (2011), and In Between (2016)
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Abdel Karim, Maria; Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne
    Queer representations have been present since the 1930s in Arab and Middle Eastern cinema, albeit always in coded forms. However, the idea of homosexuality or queerness in the Middle East is still not tolerated due to religious, political, social and cultural reasons. Middle Eastern filmmakers who represent homosexual relations in their films could face consequences ranging from censorship to punishment by the State or religious extremists. This article explores the representation of lesbians in three transnational Middle Eastern women’s films: Caramel (Sukkar banat, 2007) by Nadine Labaki, set in Lebanon, Circumstance (2011) by Maryam Keshavarz, set in Iran, and In Between (Bar Bahar, 2016) by Maysaloun Hamoud, set in Israel/Palestine. It analyses the position the female lesbian protagonists occupy in the narrative structure and their treatment within the cinematic discourse. The article will examine mise-en-scène elements and compare each director’s stylistic and directorial approach in representing homosexuality within different social and cultural contexts. It will also prompt discussions related to queer identity, queer feminism, women’s cinema, audience reception and spectatorship within the Middle East.
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