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Kristeva in Focus: From Theory to Film Analysis

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Kristeva in Focus

From Theory to Film Analysis

Katherine J. Goodnow

240 pages, illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-612-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2010)

ISBN  978-1-78238-506-6 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (March 2014)

eISBN 978-1-84545-794-5 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"An exacting, impressive survey of Julia Kristeva's intersection with film, Goodnow's book offers numerous insights into the influential critic's work and a useful summary of the scope and range of her inquiry...This is a solid piece of cogent critical analysis, rich in detail and insight."  ·  Choice


Dealing with some of the major themes in film narratives, this book draws on the theories of French psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva. It looks at how narratives have changed over time, and considers the sources of our variable reactions to themes and representations of horror, strangers, and love.

In addition to a selection of contemporary mainstream films, the major films for analysis are New Zealand “New Wave” films such as Alison Maclean’s Kitchen Sink and Crush; Vincent Ward’s Vigil; and Jane Campion’s Sweety, An Angel at My Table, and The Piano.

Katherine J. Goodnow is Professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Media Studies, University of Bergen, and has published widely on museums and cultural diversity. She combines research with filmmaking and has produced television series and documentaries for Norwegian national broadcasters.

Subject: Film and Television Studies Cultural Studies (General) Gender Studies and Sexuality



Chapter 1. Introduction to Kristeva

  • A first general concept: Order and disturbances of order
  • A second pervasive concern: The text of society and history
  • Proximal history

Chapter 2. Horror - Basic concepts: The abject and its varieties

  • Introducing Kitchen Sink
  • The abject, borders, and images of pollution
  • Varieties of the abject

Chapter 3. Horror - Specifiying the circumstances

  • The nature of rituals of defilement
  • The function of rituals of defilement
  • Questions about rituals
  • The knowledge that rituals imply
  • Differences among spectators

Chapter 4. Strangers - Basic concepts: Strangers without and within

  • Aspects of continuity and change
  • Introducing two films: Vigil and Crush
  • Who is the stranger?
  • What marks the stranger?
  • What creates the tension?
  • What is the narrative function of the stranger?
  • When are tensions and changes most likely to occur?

Chapter 5. Strangers – Expansions: The stranger’s story

  • Introducing An Angel At My Table
  • The stranger's position
  • The stranger's feelings
  • The stranger's options
  • Angel’s impact upon the spectator

Chapter 6. Love - Basic concepts

  • Aspects of continuity and change
  • Sweetie, Piano: An introduction
  • What are the forms of love?
  • The difficulties of love
  • Links to change: Steps towards love
  • Times of difficulty and change

Chapter 7. Love - Expansions: Old and new discourses

  • Aspects of continuity and change
  • Current discourses and their weaknesses
  • The shape of new tales of love
  • The special case of motherhood and material love

Chapter 8. The text of society and history

  • The paths for Vigil and Kitchen Sink
  • A rockier path: Crush
  • Campion’s first feature: Sweetie
  • Campion’s second feature: Angel
  • Campion’s third feature: The Piano
  • Cross-cutting themes

Chapter 9. Some conceptual questions

  • Kristeva's "generations" of feminist theory
  • On ”men” and ”women”
  • Women’s voice, women’s writing, women’s genius
  • Some reservations
  • A reminder of positives


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