Gorfinkel Lecture: Sleeping in the Movie Theater

Tuesday, November 14 2023 3:30 pm

Curtain 939

Image of Wanda Entering a Movie Theater

Sleeping in the Movie Theater (After Wanda Goronski)

Navigating recent interest in nocturnal imaginaries and the valence of sleep for understanding cinematic spectatorship, this talk takes up the sleeping spectator as it figures in Barbara Loden’s landmark independent film Wanda (1970) to examine the function of night, weariness, precarity and itinerancy in the film, exploring some tensions that inhere in analyses of sleep as a domain of repose or abandon. Following an essayistic and meandering logic that mimes the perambulations of the titular Wanda Goronski herself, this talk enacts a series of experiments with forms of description, the unraveling of archival aporias drawn from the film’s shooting script and other historical anecdotes, and larger theorisations of cinema as medium of exhaustion. The talk emerges as one product of several years of archival research on Barbara Loden, sketching out a path from one research project (a monograph on Loden’s film Wanda) to another about Barbara Loden as a feminist film historical subject and site of thorny questions about authorship, biography, the unfinished, and feminist film writing.


Elena Gorfinkel is Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London. Prior to King’s she was Associate Professor of Art History & Film Studies at UW-Milwaukee. Her research interests concern independent, adult, & experimental cinemas and women’s film practices. She is the author of Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s (Minnesota, 2017), and co-editor of Taking Place: Location & the Moving Image (Minnesota, 2011), and Global Cinema Networks (Rutgers, 2018). Forthcoming in 2024 are two books, Wanda (BFI Film Classics, Bloomsbury), and The Prop, with John David Rhodes (Fordham/ Cutaways series). She is at work on two projects, a book on “cinemas of exhaustion” which was awarded an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a history of Barbara Loden’s creative life and feminist legacies. She is a member of the London Film Critics Circle and her criticism appears in Criterion, Sight & Sound, Artforum, among other venues. More info at: elenagorfinkel.com

More info: https://uwm.edu/c21/event/gorfinkel-lecture-sleeping-in-the-movie-theater/


Flyer for Elena Gorfinkel Lecture