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Warwick seminar for interdisciplinary French Studies - 2021 programme

All seminars this year will take place on MS Teams. All are welcome. To access the events please click on the MS Teams link for the relevant seminar, displayed below. Please email the convenor, Oliver Davis, at O dot Davis at warwick dot ac dot uk, with any questions.

Recordings of past papers from this series can be accessed here.

Tuesday 25th May (Week 5), 6.00-7.30pm, Agnieszka Piotrowska (University for the Creative Arts): 'What does a (nasty) woman want? – combining theory, practice and literary influences'

In this talk I present my research on the figure of the ‘nasty woman’ which I discussed in my 2019 monograph of the same name, suggesting that the rise of ‘the nasty woman’ is linked in culture to the #Metoo movement and subversion of the patriarchal system. Here I show my newly published video essay and explore how the idea can be applied in different contexts across different cultural outputs. I suggest a video essay might offer a productive path for this research. In this work I have juxtaposed material from three films about female desire – made 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 work are also evoked the recent Polish Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Olga Tokarczuk and Wislowa Szymborska, the Polish poet who won the Nobel Prize in 1996. However, this method might invite further exploration of the links between different cultural and artistic outputs. In the French context, apart from famous French feminists, might we also trace the links to the single-sex romances in Colette and the Claudine novels, for example? Could another video essay be made about the same 3 films, focusing on the French links instead, thinking through different associations relating to the aesthetics of eroticism in the film, including Anaïs Nin and Marguerite Duras? Is the video essay method therefore a way of thinking about scholarship differently? In the talk I will also reflect on the recent BAFTA award winning film Promising Young Woman (2020) and why I see it as reinscribing a patriarchal narrative. The paper will be followed by a response from Mary Harrod. To join the seminar please use this MS Teams link.