Lucille Cairns

in Sapphism on Screen

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621651
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651108 | DOI:

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This concluding chapter locates broad shifts in French/francophone cinematic mediations of lesbian desire from 1936 to 2002, considering the extent to which national specificities have emerged: that is, differences between films from metropolitan France and from francophone Belgium, Canada, Switzerland and Africa. It also teases out the implications of the predominance of femme as opposed to butch lesbian configurations within the corpus as a whole. The book covers the work of forty-eight male and forty-one female film directors. From 1936 to 1979 inclusive, male-directed vastly outnumbered female-directed French-language films representing lesbian desire. Jacqueline Audry, Nelly Kaplan and Chantal Akerman were the only women to explore sapphism on screen prior to 1980; none, it should be stressed, ventured into this marginalised territory before having positioned herself more or less in the cinematic centre. Of course, male directors outnumbered female directors generally in French and francophone cinema until the 1980s, so in itself this gender imbalance is probably unremarkable. What is of interest is the growing domination of female over male directors treating lesbian desire from the 1980s.

Keywords: France; francophone cinema; lesbian desire; film directors; sapphism

Chapter.  2983 words. 

Subjects: Film

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