Screening the Creative Process

Genius, Gender, and the Contemporary Biopic

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Anna Baccanti
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„Screening the Creative Process“ examines how biographical films about painters and writers depict the notoriously unfilmable process of artistic creation and asks what role gender plays in the conceptualisation of creativity and genius. Through the discussion of three very different 21st-century biopics focused on heterosexual artist couples, „Pollock“, „Frida“, and „Bright Star“, the book follows the hypothesis that the paradigm of creative genius remains uniquely powerful in this film genre. This distinguishes the biopic from other contemporary media and discourses in which the idea of singular, inborn genius has largely been replaced by the concept of creativity as a universal, trainable skill. The biopic's adherence to an emphatic notion of genius - a notion that appears not only obsolete but also politically problematic due to its historical exclusion of women - is especially relevant in light of how deeply these popular films shape public notions about history and art.

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Anna Baccanti studied comparative literature and philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin and Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. She completed her PhD at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, where she currently works as a researcher.
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