Please join us for the official launch of Barbara Creed’s Return of the Monstrous-Feminine: Feminist New Wave Cinema, 2022. This is the follow-up to the classic text of The Monstrous-Feminine analysing contemporary films which explore social justice issues such as women’s equality, violence against women, queer relationships, race and the plight of the planet and its multi-species.
Creed will be joined in conversation with Lisa French, Professor and Dean in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.
Examining a new movement – termed by Creed as Feminist New Wave Cinema – The Return of the Monstrous-Feminine explores a significant change that has occurred over the past two decades in the representation of the monstrous-feminine in visual discourse. The Monstrous-Feminine is a figure in revolt on a journey through the dark night of abjection. Taking particular interest in women directors who create the figure of the Monstrous-Feminine, in cinema that foregrounds everyday horrors in addition to classic horror, Creed looks at a range of diverse films including The Babadook, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Nomadland, Carol, Raw, Revenge, and the television series The Handmaid’s Tale. These films center on different forms of revolt, from inner revolt to social, supernatural and violent revolt, which appear in Feminist New Wave Cinema. These relate in the main to the emergence of a range of social protest movements that have gathered momentum in the new millennium and given voice to new theoretical and critical discourses. These include: third and fourth-wave feminism, the #MeToo movement, queer theory, race theory, the critique of anthropocentrism and human animal theory. These theoretical discourses have played a key role in influencing Feminist New Wave Cinema whose films are distinctive, stylish and diverse.
Creed will also be discussing the recently released second edition of The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, 2023, which includes a new section entitled ‘The Monstrous-Feminine as Nonhuman’; and Re-Reading the Monstrous-Feminine: Art, Film, Feminism and Psychoanalysis, 2020, edited by Nicholas Chare, Jeanette Hoorn and Audrey Yue, and contains thirteen chapters by feminist academics about their views of the Monstrous-Feminine.
Barbara Creed is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of eight books, including The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, 1993; Darwin’s Screens: Evolutionary Aesthetics, Time & Sexual Display In The Cinema, 2009; Stray: Human-Animal Ethics in The Anthropocene, 2017; and Return of the Monstrous-Feminine: Feminist New Wave Cinema, 2022. Her recent research is in feminist new wave cinema, ethics in the Anthropocene and animal/human studies. Her writings have been translated into eleven languages for publication in academic journals and anthologies. She is the director of the Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network (HRAE). She has made several documentary films including the landmark Homosexuality: A Film for Discussion, 1975, recently screened for the Melbourne International Film Festival’s 70th anniversary. Creed has been invited to participate in international research events, including the Courtauld Institute, the Yale Centre for British Art, and the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of the Sciences, USA. She has been on the boards of Writers Week, the Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne Queer Film Festivals, and served as film critic for The Age, The Big Issue and ABC Radio National.
Lisa French is Professor and Dean in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Melbourne Australia. In that role she is responsible for the academic leadership, vision and strategic direction of the School. Her professional history in film and media includes a wealth of experience in the leadership, management, curatorial, creative and strategic direction of screen culture activities, including three years as the director of the prestigious St Kilda Film Festival and nine years as a Non-executive Director of the Australian Film Institute (AFI). She is currently the co-chair of a UNESCO 19 global university research network on media, gender and ICTs (http://www.unitwin.net ) and in that role advocated at the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York in 2019, influencing the agenda to increase women’s access to media. She is a member of the Screen Australia Gender Matters Taskforce.