Queen's Film and Media

Queen's Film and Media

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Photo of Peter Baxter

Between joining the Department of Film Studies in 1976, and retiring from what had become the Department of Film and Media in 2013, I taught courses at every undergraduate level from first to fourth year. Whether it was our introductory course, FILM 110, or courses in film criticism or theory, I always brought a historical perspective to the subject at hand.

My research interests originally centred on the films of the American director Josef von Sternberg, whose work with Marlene Dietrich retains the power to engage and perplex its spectators decades after it appeared in the early 1930s. I edited one book of essays about Sternberg, and wrote another, Just Watch! Sternberg, Paramount and America, on their 1932 film Blonde Venus.

As the 21st century began, both my research and my teaching became more oriented toward contemporary film, though always in an historical framework. French cinema, as it evolved through the final decade of the previous century and the first years of the present, became a subject I enjoyed considering, researching and making available to students. Eventually, my attention focused on contemporary French filmmakers' presentation of the love story, and this became the subject of my fourth-year seminar courses.

Since retirement, I have continued to write about recent French cinema. 

Here are some of my recent publications on that topic:

“Love Has a History’: France, Film, and Edith Piaf”, Journal of Popular Film and Television” 43:4 (2015): 212-219.

“The cinema of Jacques Chirac: governing the French film industry, 1995-2007”, Screen 56.3 (Autumn 2015): 357-368.

“First sight: how love stories begin (and how some of them end) in today’s French cinema”, Studies in French Cinema 14.2 (2014):1-12.

I have also been fortunate enough to continue my engagement with the department by teaching a course each year. FILM 216: Historical Inquiry allows me to continue working with students on developing ways of understanding how films are shaped by their historical contexts.