Title: Gérard Depardieu: On Ageing, Abjection and Late Style.
7 December: 4pm, Rendall Building, Seminar Room 6
Abstract: The narrative of origins is one that has been recycled again and again by those seeking to understand Gérard Depardieu the man, the actor and the star. From the most impoverished of backgrounds, both materially and culturally, he grew via a combination of energy, ambition and autodidact gall to become the defining male star of his generation. But I am less interested in thinking about Depardieu in terms of where he came from, than I am at looking at the way in which his career now, as an ageing star, is in the process of developing a new performative idiom; an artistic state that might be best conceived of as ‘late style’, a term proposed by Edward Said (On Late Style: 2006). In Said’s view, the relationship between bodily condition and aesthetic style in an artist's late period of production lies not in examples of the crowning of a lifetime of artistic endeavour in work that expresses and amplifies ‘harmony and resolution’; but rather in work that critiques its own forms and relevance in terms of ‘intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction’. I will engage with this concept through a consideration of the display and self-conscious performance of Depardieu’s body in films since 2010.
Biography: Sue Harris is currently Chair of the Film Studies Department at Queen Mary, University of London. She is Secretary to the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS, http://baftss.org) and serves on the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She is an Associate Editor of the journal French Cultural Studies and a member of the Editorial Board of Studies in French Cinema. She is a regular contributor to the BFI film magazine Sight & Sound, and has also written for The Conversation and OUPblog. She is currently working on two research projects: a revised and updated book on the career of French director Bertrand Blier, and a monograph on French star Gérard Depardieu.