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Univeristy of Melbourne CCGC Seminars: Friday 22 February, Felicity Ford on Michael Haneke

The Culture and Communication Graduate Committee at the University of Melbourne begin this year’s Friday Seminar Series of graduate presentations on Friday the 22 February, starting at 4pm in Room 106 of the John Medley Building. Felicity Ford will be presenting ‘Embracing the Abject in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher’. Staff and graduate students are welcome. The details of the talks are as follows:

Title: ‘Embracing the Abject in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher‘ by Felicity Ford

Date: Friday 22 February

Location: Room 106, John Medley Building, West Tower, University of Melbourne, Parkville

Abstract: The cinematic space can be best understood as one riddled with the scars of duality: a stitched up Frankenstein of sound and image resurrected and shaped by filmic conventions that seek to structure the cinematic space into a unified whole. It is a medium that uses boundaries to define and shape itself: the boundary between what is filmed and not filmed, the boundary of the edit, the boundary of the narrative, the boundary of audibility. These conventions create a language of cinema but this boundary, like all structures, is open to disruption. Julia Kristeva describes abjection as a “place where meaning collapses” and it is this breakdown of language that allows Haneke to explore the border that separates moral and criminal behaviour: the pure and the abject. In her discussion of the monstrous-feminine, Barbara Creed argues that “the concept of a border is central to the construction of the monstrous in the horror film” and defines the abject as “that which crosses or threatens to cross the ‘border.’” Informed by the work of Julia Kristeva, Barbara Creed and Tina Chanter, I seek to explore the abject in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher with particular interest to the disruption of boundaries.

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