Events / Performative Opacity in the Work of Isabelle Huppert: Book launch and conversation with the authors Iggy Cortez and Ian Fleishman

Performative Opacity in the Work of Isabelle Huppert: Book launch and conversation with the authors Iggy Cortez and Ian Fleishman

November 13, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Slought, 4017 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ian Fleishman book launch poster

Performative Opacity in the Work of Isabelle Huppert argues that the career of this singular French actor—constituting a corpus of well over a hundred films—offers a unique testing ground for current approaches in film studies and affect studies.

Attention to Huppert’s performances can reframe recent discussions on the social and cultural dimensions of emotion and normativity through a compelling paradox: her roles tend to express grandiose and overwhelming conditions central to debates in the humanities—negativity, dispossession, trauma—but through elusive and at times resistant or diminutive forms of expression: what J. Hoberman once called her “genius to distinguish 47 varieties of blankness.” Including diverse contributions from an international line-up of established scholars, this volume examines Huppert’s flat affect and other registers with an eye to their significance for cinema and media studies, queer and gender studies, star studies and world cinema.

Iggy Cortez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a scholar of world cinema and contemporary art whose research and teaching are broadly concerned with diasporic thought and visual culture; racialization in relation to labour and technology; the visual and sensory culture of digital media; debates on form and aesthetics across theories of anti-colonialism and race; and questions of sexuality, cinematic performance, and embodiment. He is currently at work on a book project entitled Wondrous Nights: Global Cinema and the Nocturnal Sensorium that explores nighttime as a conceptual and sensory threshold across recent world cinema. Through a global range of nocturnal films, this project looks at the relationship between technologically-mediated perception and the affective and sensory dimensions of the historical present. His writing has appeared in The Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Camera ObscuraFilm Quarterly, ASAP/J, caa: reviews, and several edited volumes. With Ian Fleishman, he is also the co-editor of Performative Opacity in the Work of Isabelle Huppert (Edinburgh University, 2023).

Ian Fleishman is the inaugural Chair of the new Department of Cinema & Media Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Francophone, Italian & Germanic Studies. He is also affiliated with the Programs in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, Comparative Literature & Theory and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities. He has published widely on subjects ranging from the Baroque to contemporary cinema and moving-image pornography. His work focuses largely on sex and violence in order to trace the evolution of narrative form and its underlying epistemological shift from modernism to the postmodern. His first book, An Aesthetics of Injury: The Narrative Wound from Baudelaire to Tarantino (Northwestern, 2018) was the winner of the Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award. Examining representations of the open wound, this volume exposes injury to be an essential aesthetic principle of twentieth-century narrative in the works of ten exemplary authors and filmmakers. He has recently completed another monograph, entitled Flamboyant Fiction: The Failed Art of Passing, which investigates formal experimentalism as an expression of sexuality in order to map queer strategies of storytelling in, among others, Jean Genet, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Schroeter, François Ozon and Xavier Dolan. Other work in progress includes a book project excavating and critiquing ethno-ecological utopianism in visual culture, treating phenomena ranging from Hitler Youth film propaganda to promotional materials for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Tree Army” and from French and German gay pornography to transatlantic new wave cinemas. Along with Iggy Cortez, Ian has recently finished editing a collection of essays on Performative Opacity in the Work of Isabelle Huppert, which appeared with Edinburgh University Press in May 2023.

This event is sponsored by Penn Departments of Cinema & Media Studies and Francophone, Italian, & Germanic Studies, in collaboration with Slought.

Ian Fleishman book poster