Rules of the game: sports and the gendered body in Celine Sciamma's youth films

Smith, Frances (2023) Rules of the game: sports and the gendered body in Celine Sciamma's youth films. French Screen Studies. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2643-895X

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Written and directed by Céline Sciamma, Naissance des Pieuvres/Water Lilies (2007), Tomboy (2011), Bande de Filles/Girlhood (2014) and Petite maman (2021) comprise Sciamma’s contribution to youth cinema, depicting children and adolescents coming of age in contemporary France. Sciamma’s work has been much discussed in relation to the body, queer youth, desire and gender fluidity. Less remarked on, though, is the number of sports and games featured in her work. Naissance is centred around a synchronised swimming team, while in Tomboy, newcomer Laure/Mickäel (Zoé Héran) finds that football offers an ideal means through which to integrate into a new neighbourhood. For its part, Bande begins with an incongruous all-female game of American football, while the film later features ritualised fights and a brief game of mini golf. Considering these competitive encounters in Sciamma’s youth films, this article argues that they serve as a significant means through which to chart their treatment of gendered norms. Taking up Judith Butler’s work on gender, the author suggests that Sciamma’s films allow for the expansion of gendered morphologies. Sports can in this framework be seen to encapsulate and transcend the constrictions on the body that these characters encounter.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 14:32
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2023 13:45

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