Breaking free: Feminist themes in the feature films of Julie Lopes-Curval

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


This paper explores feminist themes and concerns in the four feature films of Julie Lopes­Curval to consider how the films displace the male gaze, reveal patriarchal oppression of women. and provide women with new, liberating conceptions of themselves. All melodramas, the films are Bord de mer (Seaside) (2002), which won the Camera d'or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival; Toi et moi (2006); Meres et filles (Hidden Diary) (2009); and Le Beau monde (High Society) (2014). Each film focuses on women's relationships and desires, taking at least one young woman's perspective on events with which many would identify including life and break-ups with unsupportive partners, being the first member of a family to study at a tertiary institute, dating a young man of the upper class. becoming a single mother, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. In Lopes-Curval's films, representations of these events have a strong sense of realism. The films also provide representations of both conventional and liberal-thinking men to contrast their behaviours toward the women. This paper contributes to research on what constitutes a feminine film, or a film that relies on the experience of living in a female body, without claiming that all female bodies are the same or that it is even possible to fully define such a film. It argues that the postmodern feinist ideas of Helene Cixous provide the most useful perspective for understanding the films' narratives, but that ideas from liberal, socialist, and radical feminism should be understood as informing aspects of the stories that deal with women's oppression.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
EventAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association Conference: Multiple Realities: Fluidity, Hybridity, and Stability in Global Communication - University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 3 Jul 20187 Jul 2018
Conference number: 2018


ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association Conference
Abbreviated titleANZCA
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


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