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Blog:18 Mar 2013

La famille au cinéma - conference at La Rochelle University

I am delighted to see that interest in the family on screen is gaining momentum - or have I simply become more aware of new films, books and conferences because I have a vested interest in the topic?

I am particularly looking forward to a conference entitled The Family in Film organised by the interdisciplinary research team 'Droit et cinéma' that has been exploring the interface of film and law at a number of international conferences for the past five years. I will be giving a keynote lecture provisionally entitled 'Immigrant families and alternative models of family life in European cinema'. 

The conference will take place between 28 - 29 June 2013 at the University of La Rochelle.

The sixth edition of the “Droit et cinema” conference, which since 2008 has been organised during the Festival International du Film of La Rochelle, will be devoted to the family in the cinema. Through an interdisciplinary approach (legal, historical, economic, literary, civilisationist, managerial, sociological, communicational, cinematographic), we will attempt to analyse the family as seen through the eye of the camera.
There are countless examples of movies from all over the world that fluctuate between two extremes : "Families, I love them" and "Families, I hate them". Whether they examine family life, or conflicts within families, in films where the family is central to the plot or is just a backcloth, it is nevertheless possible to garner numerous elements in relation to the family of the characters.
The family has changed: previously considered as being founded only on and through marriage, today it is plural. The end of the distinction between legitimate and natural filiations and the fact that couples in a civil union have been granted almost the same rights in marriage, and soon there will be the possibility of a marriage for all lifestyle choices (heterosexual or homosexual), has resulted in a profound mutation of traditional family law, some authors even preferring to use the expression “law for couples” (X. Labbée) rather than “family law”.
Does the cinema, in its representations of the family, reflect this parallel trend? What place does marriage occupy in the constitution of the family? Does a couple without children constitute a family? Are blended families represented? How are single-parent families portrayed? Are homosexual couples, with or without children, depicted in films?
These questions are coming under the scrutiny of the eye of the law, but are also being examined through the cinematographic lens. This is true for the structure of the family, family ties, and the functions and rites of the family that the world of cinema leads us to re-examine with a fresh eye in a vast continuum, ranging from the critical to the playful.
Finally, the family is sometimes seen to be the creative matrix of filmmakers, whether it is real, fantasised, or sublimated. Although several filmmakers (including Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood and Stanley Kubrick) have no qualms about involving their families in their work, others recreate a family atmosphere on their films by using the same actors and technical teams (John Ford, Arnaud Desplechin, Robert Guédiguian), while for many it is a recurrent theme in their filmography (Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Clint Eastwood, Michael Haneke, Elia Kazan, Stanley Kubrick, Louis Malle, François Truffaut ou Yasujiro Ozu).

The conference aims to be wide-ranging, so the body of work that will be studied - both fiction and documentaries -, will enable communications to encompass all cinematographic history and all national cinemas, without exception.

Papers should be sent before the 1st of March 2013 to Magalie Flores-Lonjou and should include :
-    At least 3 000 characters ;
-    The title of the paper, its theme, a list of films ;
-    A short biography of the contributer(s) ;
The list of papers selected by the scientific comittee will be published on the 10th of April 2013. The final versions of papers should be sent before the 18th of June 2013.
Papers can be given and written in English, but only a French version of them will be published (either authors can translate their papers or we can offer to translate them).
The conference will be held in La Rochelle on the 28th and 29th June 2013.

For more information, please contact

Edited on 18 Mar 2013 around 4pm

Category: Films

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