Name: Hannah Parlett

Supervisor: Prof Emma Wilson

Research Title: Maternal Transgressions in Contemporary Cinema



Hannah’s doctoral thesis examines the representation of maternity and reproduction in contemporary art cinema, looking at films by Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Claire Denis, and Sean Baker. The project considers how these directors have represented maternity as one part of a larger web of precarious social relations in neoliberal life, and how ‘the maternal’ has emerged as a vital space to reflect on ethical, political, and ecological questions. My research draws on the psychoanalytic work of Melanie Klein and other theorists of psychic ambivalence, as well as contemporary philosophers of precarity, affect and embodiment such as Lauren Berlant, Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler. The project is also informed by my undergraduate background in cultural history, particularly the history of gender, domesticity and the ‘private sphere’. I am interested in how cinema indexes the historical expectations placed to reproduce and maintain life, both as biological burden and domestic labour.

Other research interests include the representation of feminist rage in Francophone cinema, (forthcoming in a collection published by Peter Lang) and the role of the face on screen in contemporary installation art, the subject of my chapter on Candice Breitz recently published in Faces on Screen, edited by Professor Alice Maurice.



  • ‘Becoming a Woman: The Many Faces of Candice Breitz’ in Faces on Screen: New Approaches, eds. Alice Maurice, Edinburgh University Press, June 2022.
  • Forthcoming, Spring 2023, ‘“Saute Ma Vie”: Subterranean rage, domestic labour and suicide in the cinema of Chantal Akerman, Agnes Varda and Ousmane Sembène’ in Rage in French and Francophone Culture and Thought, 1960s-2010s, eds Jasmine Cooper, Katherine Pleming and Lilli-Owens Rowlands, Modern French Identities Series, Peter Lang.
  • Forthcoming, 2023, ‘Almodóvar’s Anatomies’, in Violence Care Cure, eds Marta Cenedese and Clio Nicastro, Critical Interventions in Medical Humanities, Bloomsbury Academic.
  • In preparation, ‘Precarious Lives in the films of Sean Baker’, in Reimagining Class: Working Class Identity and Intersectionality in Contemporary Culture, eds Michiel Rys and Liesbeth Francois, Leuven University Press.


Conference Papers

  • July 2022, ‘A lifetime of maternal existence’: Andrea Arnold’s Animal Kingdom from Milk (1998) to Cow (2021)’, Screen Studies Conference, University of Glasgow.
  • May 2022 ‘Tomorrowland’: Precarity, tenancy and fantasy in the cinema of Sean Baker’, Re- imagining Class: Working-Class Identity and Intersectionality in Contemporary Culture, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • February 2022 ‘Pedro Almodóvar’s Anatomical Venus’, Violence, Care, Cure: Self- perceptions Within the Medical Encounter, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin, Germany.
  • May 2021 ‘Life Without Guarantee? Maternity and Exhaustion in Contemporary Feminist Cinema’, World Weary Conference, University of York.


Invited Lectures
Lent 2023 ‘Reproduction, care and violence’, Cinema and the Political, CS7, Part II, Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics.



  • 2020 – 2022. Supervisor, CS6: European Film, Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge.
  • 2022-2023 Supervisor, CS7: Cinema and the Political, Optional Dissertation.

Cambridge Film & Screen

Tel: +44 (0)1223 335057