Humanities on the Mall: Bernadette Wegenstein—Film Screening & Discussion with the Director
April 7 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Spring on the Mall—what could be better? We invite all to our next gathering of Humanities on the Mall for April 2024, featuring Prof. Bernadette Wegenstein on “Devoted— A Feminist Intervention into an Ancient Sicilian Cult”! JHU Professor and award-winning documentary film director Bernadette Wegenstein will screen her latest film Devoti Tutti, which melds animation and cinema verité to weave a transcendent story about women who struggle to escape the trauma of sexual violence. Through magical realist animations in the style of baroque chiaroscuro, Devoti Tutti returns to the martyred Saint Agatha of Catania a voice she never had. Alongside a chorus of the citizens of Catania and the stories of real abuse survivors, Devoti Tutti shows how a community’s reverence for its saint masks misogynist realities. In her cell, Agatha is kept company by her breasts, which her tormenters severed from her body—a reminder of the violence she suffered, but also of her refusal to submit to a man’s desire. Together with the flying breasts, Agatha escapes from the chamber where she has been held prisoner for two millennia and flies out over the ocean and into her own self-creation.
Professor Wegenstein will be in conversation with NYU Professor of Italian Studies and former JHU faculty member Eugenio Refini [bio].
For attendees: All are welcome—admission is free with any ID with a sign-in at the security desk upon entry. JHU affiliates should bring their Hopkins IDs to swipe in for the building.
Join us for a screening, conversation and Q&A (plus reception to follow). See you on the Mall!
Bernadette Wegenstein is an Austrian-born linguist, author and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker living in Baltimore. Her work brings together her feminist thought and her interest in human-centric storytelling. She studied semiotics with Umberto Eco at the University of Bologna and received her doctorate in linguistics from Vienna University. At Hopkins she directs the Center of Advanced Media Study [CAMS], and is a professor of Media Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She the author of several books in the field of media studies, including two MIT Press monographs. Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory, and The Cosmetic Gaze, and most recently the anthology Radical Equalities and Global Feminist Filmmaking (Vernon Press). She is currently writing a book about the filmmaker Jane Campion for Bloomsbury’s Philosophical Filmmakers Series.
Bernadette has produced and directed feature-length and short documentaries, including most recently the award-winning feature The Conductor, which has been screened at more than forty international festivals since its release at the Tribeca Film Festival, and had a theatrical release in North America. The film has won five Best Documentary film awards including two Audience Awards. The Conductor is streaming on PBS “Great Performances” as of March 2022. [more at Bernadette’s faculty page]
Here are just some of the films that Bernadette has made, collaborated on, and envisioned (more at her website):