Dominique Blüher is currently lecturer at the department of VES at Harvard University. She studied in Berlin before coming to France where she received her PhD in Film studies from Université Paris 3 (Sorbonne nouvelle). She has been Maître de conférences at the Université Rennes 2 where she taught ﬁlm theory, aesthetics, and analysis. Dominique Blüher has been an editor of the bilingual journal of theory on image and sound, Iris, and also served as the French correspondent for the International Forum of Young Cinema at the Berlin Film Festival. Her publications on French ﬁlm theory, French cinema, and autobiographical ﬁlms have appeared in Camera Obscura, Cinémathèque, Protée, Iris, Film und Kritik and other international journals of ﬁlm theory. She is currently working on two books, one on autobiography and ﬁlm, and the other on the French filmmaker Joseph Morder.
Dated from 2010
Forschungsprojekt am IKKM
Framing the I: Film and Autobiography
My current project, Framing the I: Film and Autobiography, undertakes a historical and critical examination of personal, autobiographical filmmaking in order to propose a genealogical typology. In contrast to literature and art history, where the self-portrait and autobiography are well-established genres, and where a wide range of seminal studies have been published, research on autobiographical cinema is not yet well developed. However, it is also true that the practice of personal filmmaking properly speaking only emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, and has only recently enjoyed a wider distribution in movie theaters and on DVD. But when autobiographical cinema did emerge, it quickly adopted the whole spectrum of possible personal registers — diary, confession, album, travelogue, letter, autobiography, self-portrait, work notes, and autofiction. This is an almost endless list, where hybrid forms are being created continuously and where each autobiographical film worthy of attention transforms the “genre” in innovative ways. Although extensive publications can be found on individual films and filmmakers, there are very few books on this subject and they are often confined to a limited body of films such as the American, German, or Jewish personal film. I will limit the corpus to autobiographical films in the strict etymological sense, i.e. to films wherein filmmakers “write or record” (graphy) their “own” (auto) “life” (bio). Thus I will not taken into account films that focus on the filmmaker’s family or their close relations. Nor will I take into consideration reflexive, participatory, or performative documentaries with a personal stance, or lyrical films and subjective films (experimental genres defined by P. Adams Sitney and Dominique Noquez respectively) despite their indisputable subjective expressiveness. Even so, my research includes a growing list of over two hundred filmmakers who have made at least one autobiographical film, ranging from little known but important experimental or documentary filmmakers to well established independent auteurist directors such as Federico Fellini, Agnès Varda, Chantal Akerman, Jean-Luc Godard, and Nanni Moretti. Framing the I will focus on the four main forms of personal filmmaking: diary, autobiography, self-portrait, and autofiction. The introductory chapter of Framing the I will sketch out the historical and technological as well as the cinematic and artistic contexts in which the different forms of personal, autobiographical filmmaking emerged. The subsequent four parts will each address one of these forms, and examine critically the core features of these four main forms in which filmmakers are documenting their life and portraying themselves. Each part will include in depth analyses of films that exemplify these practices, as well investigations of work that challenges these theoretical categories.
With Philippe Pilard (eds.): Le court métrage documentaire français de 1945 à 1968: Créations et créateurs. Rennes: Presses Univ. de Rennes 2009.
Le court métrage français de 1945 à 1968 : de l'âge d'or aux contrebandiers. Rennes: Presses Univ. de Rennes 2005.
Hip-Hop Cinema in France, in: Camera obscura 46 (2001), S. 77-97.
(ed.,transl.): Christian Metz: Der imaginäre Signifikant : Psychoanalyse und Kino, Münster: Nodus Publ. 2000.
Französische Ansätze zur Analyse der filmischen Figur – André Gardies, Marc Vernet, Nicole Brenez. In: Heinz B. Heller/Karl Prümm/Birgit Peulings (eds.): Der Körper im Bild: Schauspielen – Darstellen – Erscheinen, Marburg: Schüren 1999.
Le cinéma dans le cinéma : film(s) dans le film et mise en abyme. Lille, 1996.
Cinéma, souvenir, film. Paris: Iris 1995.
Le portrait peint au cinéma : actes du Colloque tenu au Musée du Louvre les 5 et 6 avril 1991. Paris: Ed. Analeph 1992.