Dr Fiona Handyside
My research interests broadly fall into three main, sometimes overlapping, areas:
Spatiality in Cinema
The main focus of my research is the question of cinematic space, by which I mean both the spaces within which and between which films circulate, and the way in which film itself can be considered a spatial art, involved in both the mechanical reproduction and artistic representation of various places. Given its prestige, financial importance, and cultural resonance, French cinema is particularly well placed to allow us to interrogate both these means of conceptualising cinematic spatiality. My interest in space has lead to a sustained investigation of the representation of the beach in French cinema, and I am currently writing a monograph of this topic to be published with Peter Lang, and articles considering different inflections of the beach in cinema have appeared in Screen, L'Esprit Createur and Studies in French Cinema. I have also written on the cityscape in Sex and the City and the 'banlieue' in Eric Rohmer and Annie Ernaux.
Feminism, Postfeminism and Cinema
Recently, I have become interested in the question of how films map out various stages of the female lifecycle, and the way contemporary cinematic cultures may shore up or allow space for the critique of a contemporary cultural formulation generally characterised as 'post-feminist'. I am interested in the way in which contemporary French cinema, due to various institutional and aesthetic factors, may be creating a 'girls' cinema' and also in understanding the ways in which engaging with global cinemas allows to complicate received understandings of the 'girl' as constructed within mainstream cinema and media, and I am co-editing a book that will investigate global girlhood in the cinema. My interest in questions of gender and representation also extends to more general inquiries into the representation of female sexuality in contemporary media, and a desire to open up 'adaptation' as a process that may allow us to 'queer' textuality, an approach I have explored in articles in Literature/Film Quarterly and Sexualities.
My other passion is for the films of Eric Rohmer. I have published on Rohmer in Senses of Cinema, Nottingham French Studies, Studies in French Cinema and am currently completing a chapter for an edited collection to be published by Palgrave. I have also edited a collection of his interviews published by University of Mississippi Press, which includes a critical introduction, and many interviews Rohmer gave over his career which are now available for the first time in English.