Cinema and Intimacy

Next week, I will be presenting part of my research on Cinematic Philematology at the 17th annual SERCIA conference, held at the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon.

The conference title is Cinema of Intimacy and/or the Intimacy of Cinema. In the presentation text, organizers states that “Unlike literary studies, film studies have rarely focused directly on intimacy as such … and English-speaking cinema might itself seem an unlikely candidate for this topic. Most film scholars and critics have tackled the question indirectly, by studying, for instance, the representation of the family or specific genres such as the biopic in which private lives occupy center stage. And yet as a photographic and aural medium that enables us to see and hear the bodies of actors, cinema is very much based on intimacy, although perhaps intimacy of a different nature from the kind literary scholars examine when studying letters and diaries as expressions of a human subject’s inner life. Clearly, what is at stake in the question of intimacy in cinema is the relationship between outside and inside, the outer and the inner life, the body and the self, the private and the public. This concerns not only the medium itself, but the industry as a whole. With its star system and movie tie-ins, including everything from Marilyn Monroe biographies to Luke Skywalker pyjamas, cinema undoubtedly occupies an intimate place in people’s lives, although, television, as it is positioned at the heart of domestic life, might arguably appear a more intimate medium.

Keynote speakers will be Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam) and Marc Vernet (Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot).