Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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Women's Cinephilia and the Reframing of Female Subjectivity in Film
Rosanna Maule

Last modified: 2010-02-22


Cinephilia – literally “love of cinema” – brings together the notions of an intensive film-going activity and a culture informed by highly subjective responses to film. The cinephile's approach to film entails an idiosyncratic rapport with cinema's temporal and material conditions, expressed through compulsive and fetishistic viewing rituals, as well as appreciations based on the sensorial and emotional impact of films on film spectators. This paper views women’s cinephilia as a different way of constructing and theorizing female subjectivity in film. The overall argument is that cinephilia helps to reconceptualize women outside of the passive or marginal positions where classical film forms typically relegate female characters and spectators.

The purpose is to theorize cinephilia as an apprehension of film set apart from narrative or formal clues designed to make a film “readable” to an ideal (typically male) film spectator. Cinephilia’s stress on the fragmented and perceptual aspects of  films points at new possibilities for feminist theorists to conceive gender-specific types of meaning formation and spectatorship in the cinema. 

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