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Mattias Frey and Sara Janssen

This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies – (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.

Film Studies
Asia Argento as an Italian Difficult Woman
Giovanna Maina, Federico Zecca, Danielle Hipkins, and Catherine O’Rawe

This article offers a reconstruction of the birth of Asia Argento’s star image, with specific reference to the Italian context. Through an analysis of the media discourses that circulated around the actress in the early phase of her career (from the end of the 1980s to the 2000s), we can trace the evolution of her star image from enfant prodige of Italian cinema, and youth icon, to that of the ‘anti-star’ who strongly divides public opinion, owing to her unruliness on and off-screen. The article concludes that her pre-existing association with sexual transgression inflected how her behaviour with Harvey Weinstein and Jimmy Bennett was interpreted in the Italian public sphere.

Film Studies
Harlots and televising the realities of eighteenth-century English prostitution
Brig Kristin and Clark Emily J.

more frequently in televised period pieces in the #MeToo era. Take, for example, a typical healing encounter that is reproduced for the screen in Harlots , taking the viewer into what would have been an intimate process of healing that so often went unrecorded. After Mary Cooper has been taken into the Covent Garden brothel and given care, Charlotte Wells goes to visit her. ‘Mary, remember me?’ Charlotte asks when she sees

in Diagnosing history
Abstract only
New Dawn, new moment
Brigid Cherry, Matt Hills, and Andrew O’Day

contingent, e.g. representations of diversity and approaches to canon. A further challenge to any ‘intentional’ assumption lies in the fact that a long-running franchise such as Doctor Who can attain analytically discernible ‘historical moments’ of its own only through an array of dialogues with other aspects of prevailing cultural contexts. Thus, the casting of a white female Doctor and the narrative introduction of a female Doctor-of-colour have both intersected with the cultural politics of the #MeToo Era and the Black

in Doctor Who – New Dawn
Martin Barker, Clarissa Smith, and Feona Attwood

figure in discussions of rape culture, feminism, the #MeToo movement, women's broader relationships with media, and the relations between gender representations and women's position in society. Adaptation Another approach to GoT has been to consider the series as a form of quality television alongside series such as The Sopranos , The Wire , Breaking Bad , and Mad Men , part of a ‘Golden Age of Television’ (see Schlutz, 2016 ; see also Jancovich and Lyons, 2003 ; McCabe and Akass, 2007 ; Leverette et al ., 2008 ; Akass

in Watching Game of Thrones
Martin Barker, Clarissa Smith, and Feona Attwood

-class, assumed-to-be-heterosexual girl (Egan, 2013 ). The more recent #MeToo movement has been more inclusive and more political, although it has still foregrounded the experiences of white western women; and in particular media celebrities (Zarkov and Davis, 2018 ; Gill and Orgad, 2018 ). Tanya Horeck's notion of ‘public rape’ ( 2004 ) is useful here because of the way that it shows how controversies around rape have become central to the way the politics of gender and sexuality are understood. Representations of rape have taken on a particularly

in Watching Game of Thrones
Bridget Jones’s journey from the ‘edge of reason’ to marriage and motherhood
Nigel Mather

sexual harassment tribunal’). 35 Rosamund Unwin, ‘Bridget’s #MeToo Moment at Hands of Mr Tits Pervert: Helen Fielding’s beloved Character Reassesses her Past in a New Work’, Sunday Times (30 September 2018), p. 3. 36 The Bridget Jones novels would almost certainly not have been highly regarded by Dr Leavis had he been able to witness their publication, and the film adaptations most definitely would not have been, as Leavis saw the cinema as having a wholly pernicious and regrettable cultural impact on its audiences. His 1930 Mass Civilisation and Minority

in Sex and desire in British films of the 2000s
Versions of the author in contemporary biopics
Kinga Földváry

one of the keys to the film’s success. As Andrew Higson explains the process: ‘The cranking up of the romantic comedy in Shakespeare in Love … enabled the film-makers to re-energize the genre, to create something that would appeal to a wider audience.’ 17 He sees this mostly a result of catering for the demands of ‘a highly educated and culturally discerning middle-class audience and for a mainstream romantic comedy audience’ at the same time. 18 Looking back at the film’s release from our post-#MeToo vantage point, it is also interesting to see several

in Cowboy Hamlets and zombie Romeos