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Age-C. Ageing and Gender in European Cinema

Le programme AGE-C est un programme européen de recherche de 4 ans (2023-2027) financé par la Volkswagen Stiftung dans le cadre de VW Challenges and Potentials for Europe, programme "The Greying Continent". Il associe 5 partenaires (l’Université Goethe de Francfort, l’Université d’Udine, l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, le King’s College de Londres et l’Université Babes Bolayi de Cluj-Napoca).


AGE-C aims to establish cultural gerontology as a key approach in film studies by training a cohort of postdocs to study how cinematic representations of gender shape notions of old age and well-being across Europe. The working hypothesis is that in an ageing Europe cinema, a paradigmatic art of youth culture in a global perspective, has emerged as a socially and politically significant platform for the re-articulation and re- definition of the experience of old age and gender. With 75% of global audiences assumed to be under 30, Hollywood films offer few roles for women over 35. By contrast in Western Europe, which with Australia and Japan has the highest life expectancy worldwide, stars like Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, Sophia Loren, Helen Mirren, Carmen Maura, Senta Berger, Barbara Sukowa, Mari Törőcsik or Luminița Gheorghiu headline films in their late 60s to 80s, while films about old age like Haneke’s “Amour”, Meneghetti’s “Deux” (César 2021) or the German tragicomedy “Honig im Kopf” about Alzheimer’s win awards and succeed in cinemas. The starring roles for older female actors in particular offer a productive challenge to established perceptions of gender and old age, pushing more diverse representations in terms of sexuality, agency, and the renewal of family structures.

AGE-C traces this challenge with three interrelated questions:

1. How do European cinemas represent and narrate old age and gender?
2. How can these representations be explained through decision-makin processes in production and distribution?
3. And how do these representations compare across national and cultural boundaries in how they shape notions of old age and general well-being?

AGE-C combines textual analysis with production studies and digital methods to conduct an empirically grounded study of the interpretive frameworks of old age and gender in European media culture. A guiding assumption is that in European production systems sustained by national and supranational funding schemes the triangle of public funding, screenwriting and actors affords women and particularly older women more decision-making power than more directly commercial production systems. This allows for a more inclusive politics of representation.

AGE-C will create a pool of excellent early career researchers capable of spelling out the social and political implications of such representations in teaching, to the scientific community, to policy makers and to the broader public.

Site internet : https://age-c.e

mise à jour le 31 mai 2024