Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 20: Doing Women's Film and Television History
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- ItemAlphaville 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, AnneThis 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.
- ItemDoing women’s film and television history: Locating women in film and television, past and present(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne; Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, AnneThe scholarship collected in this issue of Alphaville represents a selection of the research that was to be presented at the 2020 Doing Women’s Film & Television History conference, which was one of the many events cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic itself greatly impeded academic life and our capacity to carry out and share research among colleagues, students and the public. Covid-19 was even more problematic for women, who shouldered a disproportionate care burden throughout the pandemic. Therefore, we are particularly delighted to be able to present an issue that addresses a number of topics and themes related to the study of women in film and television, including, but not limited to, the production and use of archival collections for the study of women’s film and television histories; the foregrounding of women in Irish film and television histories; women’s productions and representation in films of the Middle East; representations of sex and sexuality in television drama; and women’s work and labour in film and television. The breadth of the themes covered here is indicative of the many ways in which scholars seek to produce, describe and uncover the histories and practices of women in these media. They suggest opportunities for drawing attention to women’s work, whether that is labouring in the film and television industries or the work that women’s images are put to do on screen. Collectively, the articles contained in this issue point to a multitude of opportunities for doing and producing women’s film and television histories, either as they occurred in the past or as they materialise in the present. They offer correctives to absences and marginalisation in production histories, in archiving or preservation, and in representation.
- ItemQueer 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, AnneQueer 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.
- ItemWriting 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, AnneThe 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.
- ItemCinematic 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, AnneOne of 2019’s most acclaimed documentaries, Waad Al-Kateab’s For Sama is an extraordinary feminist representation of the Syrian civil war (2011present). 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.