Dr Michelle Langford

Senior Lecturer/Acting Head of School
BA (Hons 1) (University of Sydney) PhD (University of Sydney)
School of the Arts and Media

Contact

+61 2 9385 4489
+61 2 9385 6812
Room 311O, Robert Webster
Fields: Cinema Studies, Film, Television and Digital Media
Tags: School of the Arts and Media

Dr Michelle Langford teaches in the areas of film styles and aesthetics, allegorical cinema, national cinemas, the Hollywood film industry and film theory as well the introductory first year film course Introduction to Film.

She has also taught courses on conteporary cinema, avant-garde and experimental cinema, Chinese cinemas, transnational cultures and general cultural studies courses.

Her current research, looks at the allegorical dimensions of Iranian cinema and is particularly interested in concepts of persuasion, poetry and resistance as well as the cinematic treatment of war, the use of melodrama, the place of film in the Iranian public sphere and the notion of 'becoming-woman'.

Michelle also has a strong research interest in German cinema (Weimar, New German Cinema and Contemporary). She has published on the films of Werner Schroeter, Alexander Kluge, Tom Tykwer, and F. W. Murnau.

Michelle also has a strong research interest in aesthetics theories of cinema, Deleuzian film theory, the critical theory of Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School.

Research

I am Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and Deputy Head in the School the Arts and Media. My core research and publication activities are driven by my longstanding interest in the cinemas of Germany and Iran. These vastly different national cinemas are closely connected through my theorisation of allegorical processes in film combined with a close attention to the impact of socio-political and historical contexts on the development of film style. My current research is focused primarily on Iranian cinema. This emphasis on Iranian cinema has allowed me to extend and expand my theorisation of allegorical cinema into an area of national cinema studies that is both contemporary and dynamic. My research aims to ask a number of important research questions:

1) How does heavy state censorship of the Iranian film industry necessitate the adoption of indirect, allegorical modes of expression?

2) To what extent does this lead filmmakers to develop innovative aesthetic and formal strategies for cueing viewers to hidden or forbidden meaning?

3) How is this allegorical film aesthetic informed by longstanding traditions of allegory in Persian poetry, religious theatre (taziyeh) and modes of indirect communication such as dissimulation (Taqiyeh) and ‘ritualistic politeness’ ta’arof?

4) To what extent does allegory function as a key strategy for both propagating and contesting state ideology? My approach to these questions is underpinned by my expertise in close film analysis, informed by key theoretical approaches to film. Through my rigorous film-theoretical approach, combined with a close attention to the impact of context on film style, I seek to make an important and original intervention into Iranian cinema studies, which to date has largely been dominated by sociological, anthropological and political economy approaches.

Dr Michelle Langford teaches in the areas of film styles and aesthetics, allegorical cinema, national cinemas, the Hollywood film industry and film theory as well the introductory first year film course Introduction to Film. She has also taught courses on conteporary cinema, avant-garde and experimental cinema, Chinese cinemas, transnational cultures and general cultural studies courses.

PhD Supervisions

Current:

  • Louise Malcolm: Film Performance in the films of Wong Kar-Wai
  • Rosa Holman: Iranian Women Filmmakers
  • Reza Taheri: The Cinema of Asghar Farhadi
  • Klara Bruveris: Imagining a Nation: The Latvian Cinema and its Relationship with Nation and State
  • Teo Miaw Lee: Industry, Space and Identity: Diasporic Chinese Indonesian Filmmaking in Perspective
  • Mahsa Salamati: Iranian Cinema in Global Distribution

As Co-supervisor:

  • Rodney Wallis: The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Film and Television
  • Melanie Robson: Hitchcock
  • Naadir Junaid: Bengali Political Cinema

Successful PhD Completions:

  • Sanaz Fotouhi: Ways of Being, Lines of Becoming: A Study of Post-Revolutionary Iranain literature in English
  • Eva Lewkowicz: Beyond the Happy Ending: Re-Viewing Female 'Citizenship' in the Mexican Telenovela Industry
  • Khosrow Shariari: 'Breaking down borders and bridging barriers: Iranian Taziyeh Theatre' (2006)

Honours Supervisions

  • Thi Tuong Vi Nguyen "RED SILK AND GOLDEN FLOWERS: An analysis of Zhang Yimou’s Ju Dou (1990) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)" 2011
  • Klara Bruveris "‘Wished-for’ Masculinities and Harsh Realities: Searching for the Latvian Man" 2010
  • Martin Clarke “The Return of the Sacred in Contemporary Hollywood Cinema.” 2009

Prospective postgraduate students who are interested in applying to undertake a MA (Research) or PhD related to any of my research or teaching areas should email me in the first instance. I am also interested in supervising students who are interested in various aspects of Iranian culture and media studies.

Publications

    Books

    • Langford M, 2013, Directory of World Cinema: Germany 2, Intellect (UK), Bristol
    • Langford ME, (ed.), 2012, The Directory of World Cinema: Germany, 1, Intellect, Bristol, http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=4789/
    • Langford ME, 2006, Allegorical Images Tableau, Time and Gesture in the Cinema of Werner Schroeter, Intellect Books, United Kingdom

    Book Chapters

    • Langford M; Dawson R; Rizo Lenshyn VI, 2013, 'Sport Film', in Langford M (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Germany 2, Intellect (UK), Bristol, pp. 41 - 52
    • Langford M, 2013, 'Costume Film', in Langford M (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Germany 2, Intellect (UK), Bristol, pp. 159 - 166
    • Langford M, 2013, 'German Cinema and the Genre Film', in Langford M (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Germany 2, Intellect (UK), Bristol, pp. 6 - 11
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'Iron Island', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'Cultural Diversity in Iranian Cinema', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol, pp. 258 - 266
    • Langford ME, 2012, '"The Student of Prague"', in Langford M (ed.), The Directory of World Cinema: Germany, edn. 1, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 40 - 42, http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=4789/
    • Langford ME, 2012, '"German Cinema and the Vicissitudes of History"', in Langford M (ed.), The Directory of World Cinema: Germany, edn. 1, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 6 - 13, http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=4789/
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'Baran', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol, pp. 274 - 275
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'A Time for Drunken Horses', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol, pp. 271 - 273
    • Langford ME, 2012, '"Palermo or Wolfsburg"', in Langford M (ed.), The Directory of World Cinema: Germany, edn. 1, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 155 - 157, http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=4789/
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'Mainline', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol, pp. 165 - 166
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'Colour of Paradise', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol, pp. 249 - 251
    • Langford ME, 2012, '"Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung: Coming to Terms with the Past"', in Langford M (ed.), The Directory of World Cinema: Germany, edn. 1, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 204 - 215, http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/books/view-Book,id=4789/
    • Langford ME, 2012, 'Blackboards', in Jahed P (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran, Intelect, Bristol, pp. 269 - 271
    • Langford ME, 2011, '"Serenades"', in Beirne R; Bennett J (ed.), Making Film and Television Histories: Australia and New Zealand, edn. 1, I. B. Tauris, London, pp. 252 - 256, http://www.ibtauris.com/Books/The%20arts/Film%20TV%20%20radio/Television/Making%20Film%20and%20Television%20Histories%20Australia%20and%20New%20Zealand.aspx?menuitem=%7BB571EE45-263D-4532-A616-771699D
    • Langford ME, 2008, 'Negotiating the Sacred Body in Iranian Cinema(s): National, Physical and Cinematic Embodiment in Majid Majidi`s Baran (2002)', in Coleman EB; Fernandes-Dias MS (ed.), Negotiating the Sacred II: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in the Arts, edn. 1, ANU E Press, Canberra, Australia, pp. 161 - 171
    • Langford ME, 2008, 'Lola and the Vampire: Technologies of Time and Movement in German Cinema', in Bennett B; Furstenau M; Mackenzie A (ed.), Cinema and Technology: Cultures, Theories, Practices, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke & New York, pp. 187 - 200
    • Langford ME, 1995, 'Film Figures: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun and Alexander Kluge's The Female Patriot', in Jayamanne E (ed.), Kiss Me Deadly: Feminism and Cinema for the Moment, Power Publications, Sydney, pp. 147 - 179

    Journal articles

    Conference Presentations

    • Langford ME, 2010, 'Dissimulating Dissent: ?Honest Shadows? in Asghar Farhadi?s About Elly (2009)', in , presented at Cinema, Modernity, Modernism FHAANZ, UNSW, Sydney, 30 November - 3 December 2010
    • Langford ME, 2008, 'Practical Melodrama: Private Lives and Public Space in Tahmineh Milani?s ?Fereshteh? Trilogy', in , presented at Visual Representations of Iran, University of St Andrews, 13 - 16 June 2008
    • Langford ME, 2006, 'Hidden Histories and Multiple Reactions: Past, Present and Future in the Films of Tahmineh Milani', in , presented at Telling Stories: The XIIIth Biennial Conference of the Film and History Association, Melbourne, 16 - 19 November 2006
    • Langford ME, 2006, 'Iran and its Others: Locating Cultural Diversity in Iranian Cinema', in , presented at Transformations Conference 2006: Cultural and the Environment in Human Development, Australian National University, 27 - 29 November 2006
    • Langford ME, 2005, 'Lola and the Vampire: Technologies of Time and Movement in German Cinema', in , presented at Cinema and Technology, Lancaster University, 6 - 9 April 2005
    • Langford ME, 2005, 'Negotiating the Sacred Body in Iranian Cinema', in , presented at Negotiating the Sacred 2 Centre for Cross-Cultural Communication,, ANU, 3 - 4 November 2005
    • Langford ME, 2005, 'Becoming-Bodies in Iranian Cinema(s): Majid Majidi?s Baran', in , presented at Imagining Iran: A Symposium on Iranian Cinema,, School of Media, Film and Theatre, University of NSW, 18 November 2005

    Film/Videos

    • Langford ME, 2009, Veronika Voss in the BRD Trilogy, Madman Films, Melbourne, Audio Recording, Veronika Voss in the BRD Trilogy by R. W. Fassbinder Critical voice-over commentary, Film/Videos

    Other Recordings

Teaching

Introduction to Film Studies
Issues in Film Styles and Aesthetics (focus on allegorical cinema)
Honours in Film Studies

Related Links

Harmony Film Festival hyperlink

Other Information

PhD Supervisions
Current:
Rosa Holman: Iranian Women Filmmakers
Reza Taheri: The Cinema of Asghar Farhadi
Klara Bruveris: Imagining a Nation: The Latvian Cinema and its Relationship with Nation and State
Teo Miaw Lee: Industry, Space and Identity: Diasporic Chinese Indonesian Filmmaking in Perspective
Mahsa Salamati: Iranian film circulation

As Co-supervisor:
Rodney Wallis: The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Film and Television
Melanie Robson: The long take and modernist European cinema

Successful PhD Completions:

Louise Malcolm: The Filmic Bodies of Wong Kar-wai (2014)

Sanaz Fotouhi: Ways of Being, Lines of Becoming: A Study of Post-Revolutionary Iranain literature in English (2012)

Eva Lewkowicz: Beyond the Happy Ending: Re-Viewing Female 'Citizenship' in the Mexican Telenovela Industry. (2011)

Khosrow Shariari: Breaking down borders and bridging barriers: Iranian Taziyeh Theatre (2006)

Naadir Junaid: Bengali Political Cinema (2013)

Honours Supervisions

Wendy Nguyen "Red Silk and Golden Flowers: an analysis of Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou (1990) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)"

Klara Bruveris "‘Wished-for’ Masculinities and Harsh Realities: Searching for the Latvian Man" 2010

Martin Clarke “The Return of the Sacred in Contemporary Hollywood Cinema.” 2009

Prospective postgraduate students who are interested in applying to undertake a MA (Research) or PhD related to any of my research or teaching areas should email me in the first instance. I am also interested in supervising students who are interested in various aspects of German Cinema and Iranian Cinema.