Love and Death: A Line of Flight (11/1/09; 11/11-14/10)

full name / name of organization: 
Cynthia Miller/Film & History
contact email: 

Call for Papers

2010 Film & History Conference: Representations of Love in Film and Television
November 11-14, 2010
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Second Round Deadline – November 1, 2009

AREA: Love and Death – A Line of Flight

In film, as in life, love and death are often intrinsically aligned. Some loves become stronger, or only fully realized, post-mortem, even as death negotiates the conditions, enactment, and duration of that love. Other loves blur metaphysical boundaries, transcending death, and shaping our views on the afterlife. Death can play a role in immortalizing true love, or it can be the ultimate consequence for love that violates taboos and prohibitions or both – as in any Romeo-and-Juliet-motif. Thus, from an historical point of view we can ask what specific modes of love can only be realized via cinematic death.

"Love and Death – A Line of Flight" seeks to create space for the exploration of these various dynamics in the relationship between love and death. Papers should differentiate between cinematic death as a positive line of flight, from life into the unfettered expression of love, versus death as punishment for illicit relationships due to race, class, age, gender, sexuality, etc. Analyses should also carefully consider and discuss the specific historical conditions under which the films in question portray love and death. Papers may consider relationships of love and death within a particular era, or may compare the norms and values of different historical moments, and from any national film tradition.

The paper topics on love and death could, for instance focus on topics:

- Melodrama and the Suburban (All that Heaven Allows, 1955; Revolutionary Road, 2008)
- Family and Horror (Psycho, 1960; Teorema, 1968)
- Love in Wartime (Roma, città aperta, 1946 ; Procès de Jeanne d'Arc, 1962)
- Contesting the Color Line (Madame Butterfly, 1915, Senza pietà, 1948)
- Boundaries of Love in SciFi and Fantasy (La belle et la bête, 1946; Brazil, 1985)
- Humanistic Sacrifice and Death (Hiroshima mon amour, 1959; Dogville, 2003)
- Death and the Deviant (Michael, 1925; Mädchen in Uniform, 1958)
- Death and Fetishism (Ai no corrida, 1976)

Although this area, comprising multiple panels, lays its focus on cinematic productions, television programs and serials, as well as the adaptation of films to and from television are also welcome.

Please send a 200-word proposal to:

Dr. Massimo Perinelli
Anglo-American Dept.
Historical Seminar
University of Cologne
Email: perinelli(at) (email submissions preferred)

Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (