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Sue Harris


Professor of Film Studies

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8305
Room Number: Arts One 129A


Sue Harris is a graduate of the Universities of Strathclyde (BA Hons.), Picardie, France (M.ès.L) and Bristol (PhD), and has developed her lecturing career at the University of Stirling (1993-1999) and Queen Mary, University of London (2000-present). She was the founding chair of the Department of Film Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is an Associate Editor of French Cultural Studies and an editorial board member of Studies in French Cinema. She is also an elected member of the Executive Board of the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) and serves on the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has published in mainstream as well as academic outlets, and her work includes two single- and one co-authored monographs, four edited volumes, numerous journal articles and invited book chapters, film reviews, DVD notes and blog posts. She offers courses at all levels from level 1 undergraduate to MA, and supervises film studies PhD students. Sue is a specialist in French cinema and theatre studies and her interests range from the socio-cultural (spectatorship, cultural policy, national identity, festival culture, street theatre), to textual analysis (essays on the work of directors including Bertand Blier, François Truffaut, Claude Miller and Delépine & Kervern), to work on genres and styles (comedy, performance theory, aesthetics, stardom). Her monograph Bertrand Blier (MUP, 2001) attempts to identify strategies for negotiating some of the more subversive aspects of popular French cinema, and uses a Bakhtinian framework to investigate and challenge established positions with regard to female performance and comic narrative. The volume From Perversion to Purity: The Stardom of Catherine Deneuve (Manchester University Press, 2007, co-edited with Lisa Downing) revisits critical discourses on star studies, and looks at Deneuve as an example of how European stars operate as mobile vehicles, transcending the limitations of national representation. Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema (co-authored with Tim Bergfelder and Sarah Street), published by Amsterdam University Press in 2007 investigates theories and practice in set design in European cinema in the 1930s, and offers new perspectives on the work of émigré personnel who worked in the European film studios during the transition to sound. Sue's contribution focuses in particular on the work of designers Lazare Meerson, Georges Wakhévitch, Eugène Lourié and Alexandre Trauner. Her most recent book is a monograph on the musical An American in Paris (Minnelli, 1951) in the BFI Classics series. In this work Sue draws on archival material to trace the film's development from conception to screen. Offering new insights into the design process in particular, she shows how An American in Paris established the cinematic template for a city with which Hollywood would become increasingly infatuated in the decades to follow. Sue has been a regular reviewer for the specialist film magazine Sight & Sound for many years, and has also written for The Conversation and OUPblog. Sue is currently working on two research projects: a revised and updated book on the career of Bertrand Blier, and a monograph on French star Gérard Depardieu. The latter is part of a larger collaborative project underway in the Film History Cluster at QMUL on 'Ageing Stars'. Sue welcomes applications from PhD students in any area related to her own spectrum of interests.





Media and public engagement

  • Public lecture and meet the author event (An American in Paris), Lichfield Literary Festival, October 2015
  • Q&A with Leslie Caron in the London on Film series (The L-Shaped Room), BFI Southbank, London, August 2015
  • Bertrand Blier career restrospective, Festival Premiers Plans, Angers January 2015 
  • Introduction to Renoir's French Cancan (1954) in The War that Changed Everything: Before the War season at the British Film Institute , London, June 2014
  • Public presentation on ‘Catherine Deneuve as screen icon’ at the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of the Fashion and Cinema: Catherine Deneuve &Yves St Laurent series, V&A, London, 23 February 2013
  • Moderator at Barbican Screentalk event with Eve Stewart, production designer of Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012), Barbican, London, 16 January 2013
  • French Cultural Studies podcast seriesSue is hosting a series of podcasts for the journal French Cultural Studies.
  • Interview on French Radio London about the 10 year anniversary and Blu-Ray DVD release of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie, 17 October 2011
  • Masterclass interview with director Bertrand Blier at the French Institute, London, February 2011 (opening event of UK career retrospective

Books and edited works

  • An American in Paris, BFI Film Classics, Palgrave (forthcoming May 2015)
  • 'Performance': Special issue of French Cultural Studies, August 2013, Volume 24, part 3.
  • Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema (co-authored with Tim Bergfelder and Sarah Street), Amsterdam University Press 2007.
  • From Perversion to Purity: The Stardom of Catherine Deneuve, ed. Sue Harris and Lisa Downing (Manchester University Press, 2007)
  • 'New Directions in French Cinema', Special issue of French Cultural Studies, October 2004. Volume 15, part 3.
  • Bertrand Blier, (French Film Directors Series) Manchester University Press 2001.
  • France in Focus: Film and National Identity, ed. Sue Harris and Elizabeth Ezra, (Berg, French Studies series: 2000).

A selection of other published work

  • 'Degraded divinity? Sacred monstrosity? Gérard Depardieu and the abject star body', Screen 2015 56 (3): 319-334
  • 'Toujours Delon: The script of Ageing', in Alain Delon: Style, Stardom and Masculinity, ed. Nick Rees-Roberts & Darren Waldron, (Bloomsbury, 2015) (159-174)
  • 'Ninette (dir. Jose Luis Garci, 2005): Paris Revisited', in Spanish Cinema 1973-2010: Auteurism, Politics, Landscape, Memory eds. Maria Delgado and Rob Fiddian (Manchester University Press, 2013) (133-144)
  • 'Renoir's Paris: The City as Film Set', South Central Review (Special issue: Re-framing Renoir; ed. Katharine Golsan), Volume 28, No.3, Fall 2011 (84-102) 
  • 'Chronicle of a Death Unseen: Cinematic Treatments of the Disappearance of Medhi Ben Barka', L'Esprit Créateur (special issue: The Powers of Cinema; eds. Lynn Higgins, Steve Ungar and Dalton Krauss), Volume 51, No.3, Fall 2011 (74-87) 
  • 'Sex, comedy and sexy comedy at the French box office in the 1970s: Rethinking Emmanuelle and Les Valseuses', Contemporary French Civilization 35.1 (Winter/Spring 2011) (1-18) 
  • 'Jill Forbes: the continued conversation', in Studies in French Cinema: UK perspectives 1985-2010, eds. Will Higbee & Sarah Leahy (Intellect, 2011) (127-137)
  • 'Conspiracy, surveillance and the spatial turn in the Bourne Trilogy' (The Bourne Identity, Liman, 2002; The Bourne Supremacy, Greengrass, 2004; The Bourne Ultimatum, Greengrass, 2007), Globalization, Violence and the Visual Culture of Cities in C. Lindner (ed.), Routledge, 2009 (161-171)
  • 'Films parlants, chantants et dansants: René Clair's early experiments with sound cinema'; Words and Things: Essays in memory of Keith Foley (edited by A. Morris, C. Moreau & J. Charnley (Glasgow University Press , 2009) (55-71)
  • 'Madame la France: Deneuve as Heritage Icon' in L. Downing and S. Harris (eds.), From Perversion to Purity: The Stardom of Catherine Deneuve (MUP, 2007) (94-109)
  • Review article: Colin McCabe: Jean-Luc Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at 70 (Bloomsbury, 2003); Richard Neupert: A History of the French New Wave Cinema (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002); Ginette Vincendeau: Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris (British Film Institute, 2003); Screen 2005 46 (2)
  • Encyclopedia entries: David Goodis; Alice Guy-Blaché; Jack Lang; Jean-Pierre Melville; Jean Rouch; Roger Vadim; in Encyclopaedia of the French Atlantic, ed. Bill Marshall (ABC-CLIO, 2005)
  • 'Spectatorship 1960-2004: The Decline, Fall and Rebirth in Cinemagoing,' in M.Temple and M.Witt (eds.): The French Cinema Book (BFI, 2004) (256-264)
  • 'Dancing in the Streets: The Aurillac Festival of Street Theatre, Contemporary Theatre Review, Volume 14 (2): Border Crossings, (57-71), May 2004.
  • J.Forbes and S.Harris 'Cinema' in Nicholas Hewitt (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Modern French Culture, (Cambridge, 2003)
  • 'Dispossession and Exclusion in La Vie rêvée des anges (Zonca, 1998)' in Russell-Watts and Horne (eds.): Possessions, Peter Lang (2003)
  • 'Le Cinéma du Look' in Elizabeth Ezra (ed.): European Cinema (OUP, 2003)
  • 'Lives out of sequence: Maternal identity in François Truffaut's Les 400 Coups and Claude Miller's La Petite Voleuse', French Cultural Studies (Memorial edition for Jill Forbes) (October 2003)
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