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Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

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Examines the significance of women’s participation in popular genres

  • Interrogates how women filmmakers participate in changing U.S. cinema cultures by tapping into the generic formulas of horror, the war movie, the Western, the costume biopic and the romantic comedy
  • Analyses both the different socio-cultural circumstances and the textual implications of women’s involvement in generic productions
  • Prompts new avenues of inquiry on the complexity and diversity of women’s impact on and participation in cinema

Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers examines the significance of women’s contribution to genre cinema by highlighting the work of US filmmakers within and outside Hollywood – Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Nancy Meyers and Kelly Reichardt, among others. Exploring genres as diverse as horror, the war movie, the Western, the costume biopic and the romantic comedy, Katarzyna Paszkiewicz interrogates questions of ‘genre’ authorship; the blurring of the borders between commercial and independent cinema and gendered discourses of (de)authorisation that operate within each sphere; ‘male’–‘female’ genre divisions; and the issue of authorial subversion in film and popular culture in a wider sense.

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List of Figures


Introduction: Impossible Liaisons? Genre and Feminist Film Criticism

1 Subversive Auteur, Subversive Genre

2 Repeat in order to Remake. Diablo Cody and Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body

3 Hollywood Transvestite. Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker

4 Genre in the Margins. Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff

5 Genre on the Surface. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

6 What a Woman Wants? Nancy Meyers’s The Intern

Afterword: Desperately Seeking Wonder Women



About the Author

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz lectures in the Department of Modern Languages and English Studies at the University of Barcelona. Her research focuses on film genres and women’s cinema in the USA and Spain. She has published book chapters and journal articles on Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Nancy Meyers, Icíar Bollaín and Isabel Coixet. Most recently she has co-edited with Mary Harrod the forthcoming Women Do Genre in Film and Television (Routledge, 2018).


'Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers is a challenging,complex and critically intelligent work. It offers new perspectives on the cinema¹s fraught relationship with women directors and their significant contribution to popular genre cinema from the war and horror film to the western and biopic. An important addition to feminist film theory, Paszkiewicz's book is essential reading for anyone interested in the most recent debates around gender, genre and the achievement of women filmmakers.'

- Professor Barbara Creed, The University of Melbourne, author of The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis

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