Filming Transnational Interiors

27 September 2012 - 29 September 2012

Arts Picturehouse Cinema and Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College, Cambridge


Axel Bangert (Dept. of German and Dutch / Homerton College)

Isabelle McNeill (Dept. of French / Trinity Hall)

Andrew Webber (Dept. of German and Dutch / Churchill College)

Emma Wilson (Dept. of French / Corpus Christi College)


Registration for this event is now closed.


  • Full fee: £50.00 (including coffee/tea and lunch)
  • Student fee: £25.00 (including coffee/tea and lunch)

Please note that the fee does not include the screening of In Vanda’s Room on Thursday 27th September. Tickets for the film screening need to be booked directly via the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.


Conference summary

This conference seeks to explore the representation and conceptualization of interior space in cinema, in the context of the transnational relations and identities that inform both spaces and the films that project them. The conference will examine the idea that the intimate architectures of homes and dwelling places, whether of a transitory or more rooted nature, both shape and are shaped by the identities of those that inhabit them.

Presenting his films at the conference will be the highly-acclaimed Portuguese director Pedro Costa, who, in films such as In Vanda’s Room (2000), takes us into dark, squalid rooms of immigrants in the slums of Lisbon. The austere beauty of his films navigates between intimacy and distance.  A major concern of the conference will be the co-extensiveness – or otherwise – of interior scenes and psychic interiority.

However, the interior will be seen not as a purely discrete or withdrawn ‘personal’ domain, but as informed and sometimes disrupted by the political experience of space at large. In crossing intimate thresholds, what do films reveal about those wider, geopolitical boundaries and transnational forces that inevitably come to bear upon our private existences? 

Please note that those wishing to attend the screening of In Vanda’s Room on Thursday 27th September should purchase tickets directly from the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. Booking in advance is recommended.

Image © Pedro Costa, In Vanda’s Room (2000)




Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), Trinity College and the Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages, all University of Cambridge.


Accommodation for non-paper giving delegates

We are unable to arrange accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms

University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.


Administrative assistance:


Thurs, 27 September


Cambridge Arts Picturehouse

Public screening of In Vanda’s Room

Introduced by and followed by Q&A with director Pedro Costa

Please book tickets directly from Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. Booking in advance is recommended.


Fri, 28 September Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College

9.00 - 9.30am


9.30 - 10.45am

Sharing Transnational Interiors: A Boat on the Mediterranean Sea’ - Mireille Rosello

Chair: Emma Wilson

10.45 - 11.15am


11.15am - 12.45pm

Ruins and Shadows (20 min papers)

    • ‘The Organisation of Space in In Vanda’s Room’ - Rosa Barotsi
    • ‘Implaced in Shadows: Social Cosmology of the Yokoyama Family in Still Walking (2008)’ – Simone Chung

    Chair: Geoffrey Kantaris

    12.45 - 2.00pm


    2.00 - 3.30pm

    Material Manifestations (25-30 min papers)

      • ‘The Woman in the Plastic Mackintosh: Making Interiors Manifest’ - David Trotter
      • 'Textile Walls: Shaping transnational spaces in early Soviet Cinema' - Emma Widdis

      Chair: Professor Steven Connor

      3.30 - 4.00pm


      4.00 - 5.30pm

      Close reading session (10-minute presentations on clips)

        • Viva l'Aldgérie (Nadir Moknèche, 2004) – Maria Flood
        • Import/Export (Ulrich Seidl, 2007) – Stephan Hilpert
        • Welcome (Philippe Lioret, 2009) – Isabelle McNeill

        Chair: Axel Bangert


        Sat, 29 September
        Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College

        9.15 - 10.45am

        Queer interiors (25-30 min papers)

        • ‘A Closet with a View: Julio Medem's Habitación en Roma (Room in Rome: 2010)’ - Chris Perriam
        • ‘Ex-centric Interiority and Transnational Europe as Neutral Image: WildSide, Barthes and Rancière’ - Sudeep Dasgupta

        Chair: Andrew Webber

        10.45 - 11.00am


        11.00am - 12.00pm

        Close reading session (10-minute presentations on clips)

          • The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) – Robert Gordon
          • Last Year in Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961) – Hannah Mowat

          Chair: Isabelle McNeill

          12.00 - 1.00pm

          Round Table closing session: Thomas Elsaesser, Mireille Rosello, Emma Wilson, Andrew Webber, +TBC


          Sandwich lunch