Film and Visual Cultures [TV; advertising; photography; media] are instrumental not only in reflecting but in constructing and reinforcing popular images and narratives of ageing. In recent years such narratives have gained special pertinence with the demographic shift to older populations across European and western nations.
As cinema audiences, too, are “greying”, it is to be expected that explorations of the theme of ageing and representations of mature characters are becoming more popular and diverse.
This is confirmed by the success of recent European films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Amour (2012), 45 Years (2015), Toni Erdmann (2016), Youth (2016) or A Man Called Ove (2018), among others. However, despite this evident rise of older film characters, critical studies on ageing to date have been largely limited to selected examples in the context of Hollywood, while analyses of gendered ageing have primarily focused on images of older women as actors and characters. Through this conference and resulting publication we aim to redress this lacuna.
Our interest ranges from the depiction of film characters to considerations about specific actors/stars, filmmakers or audiences. While our focus will be mainly on European film, comparative studies with other national cinemas and genres as well as discussions of the impact of Hollywood on European film – and vice versa – are most welcome.
The conference and ensuing publications form part of a wider consortium project “Gendering Age: Representations of Masculinities and Ageing in Contemporary European Literatures and Cinemas” [MascAge] funded under ERA Gender-Net + Project under the auspices of the Irish Research Council.