Retrenching/Entrenching Youth: Mobility and Stasis in Youth Culture Representations on Screen

deadline for submissions: 
June 4, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University of Liverpool

Dear Colleagues,


We are thrilled to announce the schedule for the upcoming conference, Retrenching/Entrenching Youth: Mobility and Stasis in Youth Culture Representations on Screen. The conference will be held at the University of Liverpool on the 4th and 5th June. Registration is required and can be completed at:


In this conference, we will explore how contemporary youth culture has been shaped by developments such as, the global financial crisis, the increased visibility of terrorism in the West, and the intersecting ways in which industrial, economic, social, cultural and political factors have affected the representation of young people’s stasis and mobility on screen. Professor Pamela Wojcik, author of Fantasies of Neglect: Imagining the Urban Child (Rutgers UP 2016), The Apartment Plot: Urban Living in American Film and Popular Culture, 1945 to 1975 (Duke UP 2010), and Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna (Duke UP 1996); Dr. Timothy Shary, author of Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema (2002; 2014) and Teen Movies: American Youth on Screen (2005); and Professor Karen Lury, author of The Child in Film: Tears, Fears and Fairytales (I.B. Tauris, 2010) and co-author of The Zoo and Screen Media: Images of Exhibition and Encounter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) will be the Keynote speakers. We hope to see you there!



Retrenching/Entrenching Youth: Mobility and Stasis in Youth Culture Representations on Screen

University of Liverpool

4th - 5th

June 2 018


Venue: The Library, School of the Arts, University of Liverpool, 19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool, L69 7ZQ


Conference Registration Fee:

Presenters: £25

Attendees: £35



Day One

8:30 Registration: School of the Arts Library

9:15 Opening


9:30-10:45 Keynote Karen Lury: Children, objects and motion... balloons, bikes, kites and tethered flight


Abstract: Balloons, bikes and kites provide pervasive instances of tethered flight and accelerated motion in films made for and about children. Famously, in The Wizard of Oz Dorothy does not get to return home via the Wizard’s balloon but finds that the answer is on her feet; and in E.T.  Elliott rescues his alien friend in an iconic flight that features his bicycle and the moon and bicycles are always a key aspect of Spielberg’s childhood imaginary currently replayed in various homage from It to Stranger Things; in Mary Poppins Mr. Banks’ hard-won recognition of what it takes be a ‘good father’ is confirmed by his willingness to fly a kite with his children. Yet the motif of tethered flight and the significance of the accelerated motion made possible by the bicycle are not restricted to Anglo-American films – films such as Gattu, La Ballon Rouge, Likes Stars on Earth, The White Balloon, The Kite Runner, Wadjda, The Kid with a Bike, Our Little Sister and Like Father, Like Son, all demonstrate the significance of the forces of ‘lift’, motion and flight within the representation of childhood. In this paper I will discuss the significance lift, motion and tethered flight as peculiarly affective forces in childhood’s imaginative world(s). Balloons, bicycles and kites offer opportunities to explore key themes in childhood relating to an emotional as well as a physical geography: separation anxiety; escape; or possession, desire and the ephemeral aspects of childhood.

Bio: Karen Lury is Professor of Film and Television Studies in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. She has published widely in film and television studies, with a particular focus on the representation of the child in film and in relation to children’s media more generally. Her books include Interpreting Television(Bloomsbury, 2005) and The Child in Film: Tears, Fears and Fairytales(I.B. Tauris, 2010). Her work on the child in film was developed through her (2010-2014) AHRC funded project ‘Children and Amateur Media in Scotland’. Her most recent publication, an anthology - co-edited with Michael Lawrence - The Zoo and Screen Media: Images of Exhibition and Encounter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) includes an essay based on research from this project. She is a longstanding editor of the international film and television studies journal, Screen.


10:45-11:00 Coffee


11:12:30 Panel One: Negotiating Place on Screen: Material Culture, Boundaries and Youth


Les Roberts: Cinema as a Transitional Space: Turner, Winnicott, and the Liminality of Play


Abstract: In this paper, theories of liminality are examined by considering some of the different ways in which cinema may be thought of as an affective and transitional space. With a particular focus on cinematic geographies of travel (and of the road/off-road film as rite of passage), the discussion begins by mapping the liminal landscapes of the youth travel film as ‘zones of stasis’ and ‘zones of transition’ (Roberts 2002). If a film’s on-screen on-the-road travellers find themselves in a state of betwixt-and-between-ness (Turner 1982), then it is an experience that is co-extensive with that open to those entering a Winnicottian potential space of film consumption, where ‘the ritualised entry into a cinema auditorium… creates a threshold between the world of the ‘real’ and the world of fiction’ (Zittoun 2013: 139). To the extent that such a threshold experience is potentially transformative, the liminality of leisure, imagination and play creates a space in which the youthfully embodied self, in the words of Walter Benjamin, may ‘calmly and adventurously go travelling’ (1999: 229).


Bio: Les Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Liverpool. He is author/editor of 8 books, including Deep Mapping (2016), Locating the Moving Image (2014), Liminal Landscapes (2012), Film, Mobility and Urban Space (2012), and Mapping Cultures (2012). His latest book, Spatial Anthropology: Excursions in Liminal Space, will be published in June 2018.


Frances Smith: Considering the non-places of Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles (2014)


Abstract: Non-places abound in Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles. From the trains of the Paris metro to chain hotel rooms, shopping malls, and perhaps the non-place par excellence, the banlieue itself, Bande de Filles appears to be characterised by this affliction of (super) modernity. It is surely no accident that on the few occasions when the girls do venture to central Paris, they never venture above the ground. This paper considers how Marième (Karidja Touré) Lady (Assa Sylla) and Adiatou (Lindsay Karamoh) negotiate these non-places, and assesses the consequences for the characters’ mobility and stasis within the cité.

The concept of the non-place derives from Marc Augé’s influential work, which, in 1993, labelled airport lounges, car parks and other similarly drab spots as ones that lack identity, and foster anonymity. Many such locales are frequently adopted by male youth cultures, with the in-between-ness of the non-place finding common ground with the liminality of adolescence.


In Bande de Filles, Marième is able to carve out a measure of freedom from the oppressive, masculinist surveillance of the cité. What is more, the anonymity of the non-place provides the blank canvas for her gender-fluid cross-dressing, passing both as an embodiment of white femininity, and as a young, black man. Nonetheless, the film makes clear the surveillance that governs the girls’ lives, which will ultimately require them to conform to conventional gender roles. For most, the cité is a space of stasis. The paper’s consideration of the urban non-place in Bande de Filles has consequences for understanding the film’s complex negotiation of space, between freedom and restriction.


Bio: Frances Smith is a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Rethinking the Hollywood Teen Movie and co-editor of Refocus: The Films of Amy Heckerling both published by Edinburgh University Press. She is currently working on a monograph on Bande de Filles, as part of the Routledge Cinema and Youth Cultures series.


Sarah Thomas: “I will never reach the end of my page”: exploring boundaries of grief, family and identity in the virtual reality film Dear Angelica (2017).


Abstract: This paper will examine virtual reality filmmaking as an experimental platform for exploring spaces of experience, materiality and emotion, analysing the recent short VR film Dear Angelica (2017) which is available on the Oculus Rift. The film gives voice to a teenage girl who, in writing a letter to her deceased mother, creates an imaginary paracosm through virtual reality in order to process her loss. The film shows the complexity of the VR experience and the concept of the embodied film experience, demonstrating how new boundaries of form work to articulate experience and emotions of family identity and negotiating the boundaries of youth and maturity. I will consider how this is present at textual and formal level through the character, narrative and performance, and also how the film is a product for and of VR, being created in a virtual world using an illustrative tool called Quill. The illustrator, Welsey Allsbrook, who worked in Quill draws heavily from her own biography in the creation of the paracosm, and I chart how this is also her own journey through her younger life.  I will look at how the film explores identity and embodiment through the immersive experience and visualisation of endless space and perception, considering how we view and respond to VR texts.


Bio: Sarah Thomas is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Liverpool and writes on stardom, screen performance, Hollywood cinema and digital media. Her recent publications include the monograph James Mason (BFI Palgrave 2018) and the chapter ‘Using eye tracking and Raiders of the Lost Ark to investigate stardom and performance’ in Dwyer et al. (eds.) Seeing into Screens: Eye Tracking and the Moving Image (Bloomsbury 2018).


12:30-1:45 Lunch


1:45-3:15 Panel 2: Rebellious Youths: Dissent, Disaffect and Resistance


Maria Flood: ‘A Child of the Ruins: Youthful Disaffection and the “Making Of” the Terrorist’


Abstract: Cinema has a long-standing engagement with the disenchantments of adolescence and early adulthood, but rarely are films that deal with terrorism and the process of radicalization treated as films about the dissatisfaction of youth. Terrorism is read as an identitarian, religious or a civilizational clash, rather than as a manifestation of generational discontent. However, recent cinema form the Maghreb, a region where over half the population are under thirty years of age points towards the connections between radicalization and the disenfranchisement of young people under global capitalism. This paper proposes an examination of the links between terrorism and youthful disaffection, focusing on the figure of the male protagonist drawn into fundamentalist violence in Nouri Bouzid’s Making of (2006). Unlike Western depictions of the terrorist, which have tended to present a univocal image of the terrorist as malignant and external force and a fully formed and utterly unscrupulous agent of violence, this film invites the spectator to encounter the terrorist humanized and vulnerable young man.


While Making of cites economic precarity as a pull factor in the appeal of fundamentalist ideology, the film also refuses the all too frequent neo-liberal equation of poverty and criminality. More importantly, he experiences marginalization primarily as affective and political, rather than economic or personal, and responds with the characteristic vigour and anger of youth. Scott Atran (2010) counsels a reading of the process of radicalization as the process through which the energy, dynamism and idealism of youth are misdirected through a lack of social and political recognition into violent ideologies. Making Of echoes Atran’s work and it further stages the various minor tipping points that turn dissatisfaction to violence: among them, humiliation at the hands of the police; a lack of employment opportunities; a concern for injustices committed all over the world, as seen through global media outlets; the desire for concrete political engagement. Ultimately this paper argues that contemporary Maghrebi cinema can offer a reexamination of the role that youthful disenfranchisement in global neo-liberal societies plays in the radicalization of young men, screening the pivotal transition from broader political discontent to the channeling of that dissatisfaction into terrorist violence.


Bio: Maria Flood is Lecturer in Film at Keele University, having been Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Society for the Humanities in Cornell University. Her PhD from the University of Cambridge focused on historical, memorial and aesthetic absence in French and Algerian cinema and she has published in Modern and Contemporary France, French Cultural Studies, Nottingham French Studies, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Cinema Journal and The Journal of North African Studies. Her monograph, entitled, France, Algeria and the Moving Image: Screening Histories of Violence was published with Legenda, Oxford, in 2018.


Daniel Skentelbery: ‘So Long Sunny Shopper’: Depictions of failure within working class families in S2.Ep.7 of CBBC Sitcom Millie Inbetween (2014- )


Abstract: This paper will be a close examination of ‘So Long Sunny Shopper’ S2.Ep7. of CBBC sitcom Millie Inbetween (2014- ) discussing how themes of failure are used to explore working class families, and the ways in which adolescent children and their parents can use their failures as means of social/political dissent.


Millie Inbetween follows thirteen year old Millie and her older sister Lauren who live between their divorced Mum and Dad. The episode in question opens with Millie’s mother being made redundant; the episode then follows Millie helping her Mum to find alternative means of income, as well as learning to make sacrifices to help save money, such as pulling out from an upcoming school trip. Millie here takes it upon herself to help her mother, when institutions have failed her. The episode has been picked out in particular as an important text which engages with ideas of money, and employment for adolescent viewers. This paper will draw upon ethnographic writers including; Dunn (1977) who examines children’s relationship with television and education; and Evans (2006) who examines working class domestic life, as means of examining the ways in which children respond to their parents (so called) failures, and the ways in which adolescent children participate in and take control of domestic structures.


Millie’s Mothers partner Mike, at the beginning of the episode comments “A setback is often an opportunity in a wig”, this philosophy can be seen to be very much at the heart of the episode, as come the end, Millie’s mother finds herself having to choose between setting up her own business or applying for work at another supermarket. Drawing upon ideas of success and failure by Biirney, Burdick and Teevan (1996) and Keinig (2012); this paper will suggest that failure can be a tool for activism. In particular the works of Halberstam (2011) will be sited to suggest that in this episode Millie’s family embrace their failure (of being made redundant), and then exploit this failure as a mode of dissent (by refusing to conform to commercial hierarchies, and becoming independent).  


Bio: Daniel Skentelbery is doing an MRes in Film Studies at Keele University producing the thesis ‘Discussing Representations of Failure in CBBC sitcom Millie Inetween (2014- )’. His thesis primarily examines the ways in which failure can be an educational conforming within BBC policy, with potential political motifs. Daniel was awarded the Laura Mulvey Prize, Shane Meadows Prize, and Best Dissertation in Film Studies at undergraduate level (Keele University 2017). Daniel’s research interests include; children’s media, failure, parody, fan studies, gender studies, and cosplay.   


Jem Mackay: International Storytelling and Social Media


Abstract: In May, I will be travelling with 2 students from Falmouth University, and an IT Specialist to Nairobi to look at the issue of children who are connected to the streets. There are 60,000 street connected children in Nairobi, and we will explore this issue as media storytellers from the UK, and how some of these children are able to escape from the streets through the work of charities that specifically address this issue. We will be making a video documentary whilst we are there, and we have crowdfunded £3,600 in order to do this. The aim is look at how storytelling can raise international awareness of such a political yet intensely practical problem like this; how effective stories are created; how Social Media can distribute these stories of inequalities, and what reactions these stories create. Normally, a charity will market their statistics and how effective it has been in order to persuade donors to support them. However, the moving image medium is much more effective as conveyors of emotions, as is the art of storytelling, and so we will be looking at one particular charity called “Children of Hope” and try to capture the emotions of some of these children as they move away from the streets with the help of the work of this charity. During our Crowdfunder campaign, although we were successful in achieving our target with 39 supporters, we have already experienced reactions from some people on Social Media who were strongly against the concept of International Aid. This research will be particularly interested in the arguments that people use in Social Media, and how they relate to the stories that we tell.



Bio: Jem Mackay is a filmmaker/artist who has been exploring collaborative systems within creative projects for the last sixteen years. He specialized in Audio-Visual Communication at St Martins School of Art; received a Distinction for his MA in Digital Arts and completed his PhD at Falmouth University in 2015, looking at “Non-hierarchy through open-source approaches to distributed filmmaking” and entitled “”. This thesis has since been published commercially. Currently, he is an Associate Lecturer and Senior Technician for the School of Film & Television at Falmouth University.


3:15-3:45 Coffee


3:45-5:00 Roundtable: The Cinema and Youth Cultures Project

Sian Lincoln, Pamala Robertson Wojcik, Timothy Shary, Frances Smith, Yannis Tzioumakis


Abstract: The Cinema and Youth Cultures book series was contracted by Routlegde in 2015 to help expand research on young people on screen at a time when similar efforts were taking place in cognate areas such as Girl Studies and Subcultures and as the field had been attracting increasing scholarly attention. CYC. Through the use of particular methodological and critical approaches CYC aims to provide informed accounts of how young people have been represented on film, while also exploring the ways in which young people engage with films made for and about them. In doing this, the CYC volumes and the series as a whole contributes to important and long standing debates about youth cultures, how these are mobilized and articulated in influential film texts and the impact that these texts have had on popular culture at large. Starting with work on some very influential youth films primarily from US cinema, the series has gradually opened up to other cinemas (France, Mexico, Turkey) and to non-normative titles. Bringing together 5 authors who have been contracted to write books for the series the CYC round table will provide a forum for a discussion about young people's representation on film and some of the key issues involved in researching this.  




Sian Lincoln is Reader in Communication, Media & Youth Culture at Liverpool John Moores University. She has published widely on aspects of youth culture and the domestic sphere and her monograph Youth Culture and Private Space was published by Palgrave in 2012. Sian is currently working on a book with Brady Robards called Growing up on Facebook (Peter Lang) and a book with Yannis Tzioumakis on the film Rock Around the Clock (Routledge).  She is co-editor of 2 book series: Cinema and Youth Cultures (Routledge) and Palgrave Studies in the History of Subcultures & Popular Music. Sian is on the management group of the Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Music, Subcultures and Social Change.

Pamela Robertson Wojcik is Professor in the Department of Film, TV and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame and President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is author of Fantasies of Neglect: Imagining the Urban Child (Rutgers UP 2016), The Apartment Plot: Urban Living in American Film and Popular Culture, 1945 to 1975 (Duke UP 2010), and Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna (Duke UP 1996); editor of The Apartment Complex: Urban Living and Global Screen Cultures (Duke UP Fall 2018), New Constellations: Movie Stars of the 1960s (Rutgers UP 2011), Movie Acting: The Film Reader (Routledge 2004); co-editor of Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music (Duke UP 2001); and series editor of Screening Spaces at Palgrave. 


Timothy Shary has published extensively on aging representation in cinema, examining youth in Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema (2002; 2014) and Teen Movies: American Youth on Screen (2005), and later life in Fade to Gray: Aging in American Cinema (with Nancy McVittie, 2016). He has also edited three books on age and gender issues in film, and most recently authored Boyhood: A Young Life on Screen (2017), part of the Routledge ‘Cinema and YouthCultures’ series.


Frances Smith is a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Rethinking the Hollywood Teen Movie and co-editor of Refocus: The Films of Amy Heckerling both published by Edinburgh University Press. She is currently working on a monograph on Bande de Filles, as part of the Routledge Cinema and Youth Cultures series.


Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries. His work focuses primarily on American cinema with a key emphasis on questions of independence. He is the author of 4 monographs (most recently of American Independent Cinema, 2nd edition, 2017) and co-editor of 5 collection of essays (most recently of The Hollywood Renaissance: Revisiting American Cinema's Most Celebrated Era, 2018). Yannis is also coeditor of the Hollywood Centenary series and the Cinema and Youth Cultures series (both for Routledge) and is currently coauthoring with Sian Lincoln a  book for the latter series on Rock Around the Clock.


5:00-5:15 break


5:15-6:30 Keynote Pamela Wojcik: Perpetual Motion: Mobility, Precarity, and Slow Death Cinema


Abstract: This talk examines a form of mobility in place, in films in which characters move constantly -- walking, driving, taking buses – but do not go anywhere. Against an earlier model of youth film, such as American Graffiti or Dazed and Confused, in which the characters’ restless movement in place was precursor to the geographic and social mobility of leaving home for college, many contemporary films signal mobility as a failure to achieve either geographic or social mobility. Films such as Gimme the Loot (Leon 2012), Tramps (Leon 2016), American Honey (Arnold 2016), Heaven Knows What (Safdie Brothers, 2014), and The Florida Project (Baker 2017) feature characters marginalized by class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality as well as youth who travel in circles and/or reach dead ends. The episodic realism of these films locates youth within the precariat that “has no ladders of mobility to climb,” as Guy Standing suggests, and imagines youth within what Lauren Berlant has characterized as slow death. They counter both the optimism of futurity and the logic of temporary crisis to suggest a sea change in how we conceive both youth and mobility.

Bio: Pamela Robertson Wojcikis Professor in the Department of Film, TV and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame and President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is author of Fantasies of Neglect: Imagining the Urban Child (Rutgers UP 2016), The Apartment Plot: Urban Living in American Film and Popular Culture, 1945 to 1975 (Duke UP 2010), and Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna (Duke UP 1996); editor of The Apartment Complex: Urban Living and Global Screen Cultures (Duke UP Fall 2018), New Constellations: Movie Stars of the 1960s (Rutgers UP 2011), Movie Acting: The Film Reader (Routledge 2004); co-editor of Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music (Duke UP 2001); and series editor of Screening Spaces at Palgrave.


6:30-8:00 Reception


Day Two

9:30-11 Panel 3: Transnational Youth and Sexuality


Gary Needham: Youth, contemporary Queer Cinema and AIDS: Call Me by Your Name (2017) and 120 BPM (2017).


Abstract: In 2017, everyone seems to be falling in love with Luca Guadagnino new film about falling in love. Claiming it as one of the best love stories in recent years gay, queer, youth or otherwise. The film was shortly followed by Beach Rats (2017) and more recently Love, Simon (2108) both gesturing towards a new era of LGBT youth cinema that attempts to move beyond identity politics and ‘labels’. 120 Beats Per Minute (2017), the story of ACT-UP Paris, stands adamantly in opposition and more less flew under the radar with little fanfare. Admittedly, Guadagnino’s film looks ravishing, sensuous, with his trademark affective mediation of food, nature, music, and swerving camerawork. It treats the central romance and crush through a careful alignment with the boyish 17-year-old Elio rather than the 27-year-old Oliver. The film’s reception also causing divisions among its audience that were markedly generational, political, antagonistic and nationally (e.g. age of consent). But, it is what the film is not about that is equally interesting and equally problematic. Here’s the real question - how can a film set in 1983 about love and/or sex between two men, one who has just arrived from the US, completely avoid the subject of AIDS? What is it teaching its young audience, any audience, about our history, about why identity is a politics, LGBTQ history is a trauma, and that divestiture from labels is problematic?


In Call Me by Your Name we are no longer even post-AIDS but pretending it never existed in the first place, a film about loss yet seemingly predicated on a queer absence of actual loss in contradiction to the grief, death, clubbing and messiness of sex in 120 BPM. Nonetheless, there are rogue or crypto-AIDS elements in Call Me by Your Name’s mise en scene. The Robert Mapplethorpe self-portrait in Elio’s bedroom; the most famous American artists to die from AIDS. The most overt ‘AIDS trope’ has to be the large unexplained black bruise on Oliver’s hip. He reveals it to Elio twice and it look a lot like KS (Kaposi Sarcoma). The most visible sign of AIDS in the first years of the disease. Is it a bruise or a ruse to reveal more of Oliver’s peachy flesh for Elio’s gaze? The peach is the film’s enigmatic signifier of gay sex’s representability and unintelligibility, that AIDS might potentially be evoked through the presence of a semen. In the film’s most controversial scene Elio masturbates and ejaculates inside a peach which is subsequently discovered by Oliver. He threatens to eat the semen-filled peach but it just a gest of course to tease Elio, to render an audience anxious, with icky transgression. The film’s absent politics are consistently upheld by the camera’s formal gestures of upward movements, tilts towards the sky, away from the bedroom which is a move away from sex, history, identity, and ultimately AIDS. This moving away and absenting of history and AIDS is precisely the opposite in 120 BMP. A film that stitches us into the history, trauma, kinship and subjectivity of AIDS as experienced by the Parisian queer youth of the early 90s. What can these two film tell us about young people and the history of the AIDS crisis?


Bio: Gary Needham is senior lecturer in film and media at The University of Liverpool. He is the author of Brokeback Mountain (EUP 2010) and the co-editor of Asian Cinemas (EUP 2006), Queer TV (Routledge 2009), and Warhol in Ten Takes (BFI 2013). He is the co-editor with Yannis Tzioumakis of the book series American Indies (EUP) and Hollywood Centenary (Routledge). He is currently working on book on Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick.


Michael Lawrence: Transnational Youth and Transgenre Cinema: Hospitality, ‘Hostage Philosophy’ and Homosexuality in Eastern Boys (Robin Campillo, 2013)


Abstract: This paper will consider the relationship between state and individual responses to (and responsibility for) young transnational refugees and the politics of transgeneric strategies in the narrative feature film by addressing the representation of young migrant sex workers in contemporary European art cinema, focusing on Robin Campillo’s Eastern Boys (2013). Distributed by Peccadillo Pictures, who are particularly associated with international LGBT cinema, and are perhaps most famous for their Boys on Film series, Campillo’s film is not a straightforward gay romantic drama, since it utilizes narrative scenarios associated with several distinct genres, most prominently the ‘home invasion’ movie and the action/suspense thriller. The film concerns the evolution of an intergenerational relationship between Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin), a fifty-something businessman living in the suburbs of Paris, and Marek (real name Rouslan), a Ukrainian teenager who belongs to a group of Eastern European adolescents, all sans-papiers, who hang around the Gare du Nord and apparently solicit for sex. The title of the second chapter of Eastern Boys, ‘This party at which I am the hostage’, invites a consideration of the film’s representation of migrant youth in contemporary France that engages with the ‘hostage philosophy’ (Martin Jay) of Emmanuel Levinas, and specifically his ideas concerning the difficult or rather impossible demands of responsibility and hospitality that constitute the subject. This paper will argue that the film’s transgeneric strategies, for which it was both praised and criticised, are central to its ethical representation of young transnational migrants and its examination of our responses to (and responsibility for) them. As Eastern Boys shifts abruptly between generic registers and scenarios, the central relationship between Marek/Rouslan and Daniel becomes increasingly ambiguous and indeterminate, and Daniel occupies different roles with regards Marek/Rouslan (client, lover, guardian). The film thus makes increasingly difficult (and for some critics, impossible) demands on its audience; the transgeneric strategies with which it represents contemporary transnational youth, I will suggest, should be understand as a formal ethics.


Bio: Michael Lawrence is Reader in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. His research interests include children and cinema, animals and cinema, and popular Hindi film. He is the author of Sabu (British Film Institute, 2014) and the co-editor, with Laura McMahon, of Animal Life and the Moving Image (British Film Institute, 2015), with Karen Lury, of The Zoo and Screen Media: Images of Exhibition and Encounter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and, with Rachel Tavernor, of Global Humanitarianism and Media Culture (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2018). His articles have appeared in Screen, Adaptation and Journal of British Cinema and Television.


Hazel Andrews: Magaluf, Mamading and Moral Panic


Abstract: This paper focusses on an ostensibly youth orientated charter tourism resort on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. It examines the ways in which Magaluf has been represented through various forms of media. The resorts salacious reputation as ‘Shagaluf’ was the focus of much media attention following the posting of a YouTube clip in the summer of 2014 depicting a young woman engaged in mamading at one of Magaluf’s nightclubs. The media scrutiny of the resort that followed raises questions about gender, class, and sexuality and what is appropriate behaviour on holiday.


Bio: Hazel Andrews is Reader in Tourism, Culture & Society at LJMU. As a social anthropologist she is interested in issues of identity, selfhood and the body. Her work has a particular focus on the nature of experience, practices of embodiment, consumption, habitus and space. Hazel’s research and publications examine social and symbolic constructions of national, regional and gendered identities primarily within the context of British touristic practices.


11-11:30 Coffee


11:30-12:30 Panel 4: Developing Identities: Film, Language and Place


Rose Dymock: Migration, Language and Transnational Identity in late 20th century British Cinema. 


Abstract: This paper will explore the intersections between language, migration and identity in Ping Pong (1986, Po-Chih Leong) and East is East (1999, Damien O'Donnell). These films examine the experiences of two diaspora communities in post-empire Britain through the conflicts between parents and children in relation to their identities, particularly with regards to the use of language. 


Ping Pong, the first English language production to be filmed in London's Chinatown follows first generation Chinese-British lawyer Elaine as she attempted to enact the will of a prominent restaurateur, whose difficult family resist her helps, while struggling with her own identity. Overlooked on it's release it provides a detailed and highly personal examination of the Chinese community in Britain. East is East is the story of patriarch George Khan's attempts to install the Pakistani culture in his children, who increasingly rebel and embrace the vibrancy of 1970s Britain. 


Language forms part of a complex web of influences for the younger generation who are trying to carve out their own personal identities, in contrast to their immigrant parents who attempt to preserve the traditions of the homeland. In this paper I will explore how language is used in these films to reinforce, dismiss or complicate identity, how it acts as an isolation device and why this is most effective in multilingual cinema. 


Bio: Rose Dymock is a MRes student in Film Studies at Liverpool looking at British Multilingual Cinema. She previously completed her BA in Film Studies and English there in 2017. She also runs a film blog that reviews and critically analysing new and old releases.


Lisa Richards: Language and Landscape: New relationships away from ‘home’


Abstract: In the introduction to the edited collection Youth Culture in Global Cinema (2007), Timothy Shary outlines the global nature of the ‘coming-of-age story’, and the tendency to present political and religious narratives in contrast with the less controversial Hollywood narratives. Shary also notes as well as the more sympathetic and sensitive representation of youthful sexuality, and in this paper I hope to focus on the exploration of youthful self-discovery in three films featuring protagonists on the cusp of adulthood – either in the completion of their formal education or on the verge of marriage.


The 1993 film Gadael Lenin (Endaf Emlyn) features a school trip from South Wales experiencing the art and culture of post-soviet Russia. The film explores ideas of identity, self-discovery and self-rediscovery amongst the students and staff, in the historical but unfamiliar surroundings of St. Petersburg. At the heart of the film is a burgeoning relationship between Welsh schoolboy Spike and a bohemian Russian artist Sacha, which is explored as an example of first love, but also as an opportunity for liberation in regards to Spike’s previously hidden sexuality. The film is particularly noteworthy for its use of language in regards to this relationship, with the dialogue a combination of Welsh, English and Russian, an offering a new location and language within which Spike can express himself.


What I wish to explore further is the use of a new locations, and new languages, in which to present new relationships. This has been seen recently in the film Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017) written by James Ivory, as well as in Ivory’s earlier film A Room with a View (1986), where the Italian landscape and a nostalgic view of past times provide a capsule of isolation from the wider world. In all three of these films the protagonist is a youth who can be admired for their talents, both intellectual and artistic, but are also slightly out of step with those around them. It is in a different landscape that they find their own means of expression.


Bio: Lisa Richards is a Lecturer in Film, Television and Media at Aberystwyth University, with a particular research interest in representations of youth through language within national cinemas, and ideas of identity in the Teen genre more widely.  Publications include a chapter in The Films of Amy Heckerling (2016), part of the Refocus series at Edinburgh University Press.


12:30-1:30 Lunch


1:30-2:30 Panel 5: Imagining the Child: Exploring National and Transnational Discourses of Innocence and Purity.


Noel Brown: Childhood and agency in contemporary European children’s film: another look at My Life as a Courgette (2016)


Abstract: The French-Swiss stop-motion animation, My Life as a Courgette (Claude Barras, 2016), is one of the most celebrated European films of recent years, winning numerous coveted awards at film festivals internationally and receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. But an examination of the film’s transnational reception reveals a curious disjuncture: critics in Europe generally considered it to be a children’s film, whereas critics in the United States mostly viewed it as an adult-orientated production. This disparity, I would argue, speaks to broader debates not just on the nature of children’s film, but also – more fundamentally – on how childhood itself may be defined. In this paper, I would like to discuss My Life as a Courgette as a case study to interrogate socio-cultural constructions of childhood in contemporary children’s and young adult cinema. The question of borders is particularly pertinent: European children’s films routinely draw on transnational production and distribution partnerships, and must engage a pan-European audience to ensure profitability. To do so, I would suggest, they must draw on shared values and customs. In contrast, such films rarely receive wide distribution in North America, where Romantic conceptions of childhood innocence and vulnerability still largely prevail. The significance of My Life as a Courgette, I will argue, lies in its frank engagement with complex ‘adult’ issues such as divorce, murder, suicide, child abuse, and racism. The freedom with which it deals with such concerns reflects a broader trend in Western European children’s cinema to address children as young people possessing greater agency and moral awareness than is common in Hollywood family films. The paper will conclude by considering the extent to which recent developments in transnational children’s and young adult cinemas are underpinned by shifting conceptions of youth and identity in contemporary Western society.


Bio: Noel Brownis a Lecturer in Media and Communication at Liverpool Hope University. He has published widely on British and Hollywood cinema history, particularly in relation to children’s films, family entertainment and animation. He is the author of The Children’s Film: Genre, Nation and Narrative (Columbia University Press, 2017), British Children’s Cinema: From The Thief of Bagdad to Wallace and Gromit (I.B. Tauris, 2016), The Hollywood Family Film: A History, from Shirley Temple to Harry Potter (I.B. Tauris, 2012) and the forthcoming Contemporary Hollywood Animation (Edinburgh University Press), and co-editor of Family Films in Global Cinema: The World Beyond Disney (I.B. Tauris, 2015) and Toy Story: How Pixar Reinvented the Animated Feature (Bloomsbury, 2018).


Katherine Whitehurst: Youth, the Nation and American Heroism: Imagining American Foreign Policy in Disney’s Moana


Abstract: Released in 2016 Disney’s Moana explores the adventures of a girl who leaves the borders of her community, to find adventure and save her people from a darkness that threatens the life of the islanders. Exploring North American conceptions of childhood innocence and vulnerability, this paper considers how female self-discovery is put in conversation with discourses of nationhood and narratives of social responsibility. While this film in many ways evades a frank engagement with adult issues and concerns, I hope to highlight how Moana’s exploration beyond her community plays with the imagined ideals of the American hero and symbolically justifies political intervention on a world stage. Finally, I will detail how the films understanding of national borders and Moana’s constraint and later liberation seeks to define, limit and rationalise the movement of youths in a national context. Through this consideration, I will centrally argue that despite the films links to Polynesian culture, the film’s portrayal of youth, girlhood and adventure reflects underlining debates and tensions surrounding American foreign policy and their intervention into conflicts beyond their borders.


Bio: Katherine Whitehurst is a Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Liverpool where she writes on representations of female youth, development and ageing in contemporary fairy tale adaptations. Her recent publications include the journal articles ‘Growing up in magical time: Representations of female growth and development in ABC’s Once Upon a Time’ (Narrative Culture, 2018) and ‘The aged woman as spectre in two filmic adaptations of Snow White’ (Marvels and Tales, 2018) as well as the book chapter ‘Stories of motherhood and ageing in ABC’s television programme Once Upon a Time’ in Schrage-Frueh et al. (eds.) Ageing women in literature and visual culture (Palgrave, 2017)


2:30-2:45 Coffee


2:45-4:00 Keynote Timothy Shary: This Moment Right Now: The Slow Growth of Mobility in Boyhood (2014)


Abstract: Richard Linklater began filming Boyhood in 2002 and released it twelve years later, having chronicled the literal coming-of-age for his protagonist, Mason, a working class boy in Texas. The film’s statements about American children, education, and family in the immediate years after 9/11 evince an inherent critique of conceptions about normality, opportunity, and ability among youth. As the film follows Mason’s nomadic relocations across different homes with varying fathers, his growth is continually compromised by adult authority, and his longing for autonomous mobility slowly culminates in his tentative departure from the entrapments of his childhood. We witness Mason cynically resist the 21st century culture of inevitably unexplained wars, increasingly invasive technologies, and deceptively divisive economies, until he realizes in the end that no place will assure his security, because only the present moment offers any site of stability.


Bio: Timothy Sharyhas published extensively on aging representation in cinema, examining youth in Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema (2002; 2014) and Teen Movies: American Youth on Screen (2005), and later life in Fade to Gray: Aging in American Cinema (with Nancy McVittie, 2016). He has also edited three books on age and gender issues in film, and most recently authored Boyhood: A Young Life on Screen (2017), part of the Routledge ‘Cinema and YouthCultures’ series.



Conference Registration and Location

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Attendees: £35


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19 Abercromby Square

University of Liverpool,

L69 7ZG


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