Dr Mani Sharpe
- Position: Lecturer in Film Studies
- Areas of expertise: Cinema and war; film studies; violence and visuality; de-colonisation; contemporary film theory; French cinema; the French New Wave; cultural studies; defacement; the politics of the close-up
- Email: M.Sharpe@leeds.ac.uk
- Location: 2.24 Michael Sadler Building
I am a film scholar specialising in cinematic representations of de-colonisation and war, particularly within the context of France and Algeria. Methodologically speaking, my research stands at the intersection between war studies, post-colonial studies, and film studies, and I am generally interested in how films convey the process of military-colonial loss through different formal techniques and themes. I taught Film Studies at Newcastle University and La Sorbonne – Paris 3, before taking up my current position, as a Lecturer in Film Studies, in 2018. I am currently the Subject Leader for Film, at Leeds.
I have recently published my first monograph, Late-Colonial French Cinema: Filming the Algerian War of Independence, with Edinburgh University Press (Traditions in World Cinema series). More information about my book can be found in this three-minute interview, posted on YouTube, in this discussion that I conducted with Alan O’Leary for The New Review of Film and Television Studies, in this blog post, entitled ‘5 lesser-known examples of late-colonial French cinema’, or this site, where you can download the Introduction of the book for free. In April 2023, I delivered a paper on my book at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, in Denver, Colorado.
Apart from this focus on war, I am also interested in cinematic representations of the face – particularly in relation to questions of psychology, poitics, and conflict. I was the Principal Investigator on a public engagement project, entitled Facing the Mind, funded by the Cultural Institute, Leeds. This project involved setting up a series of community orientated workshops, blending film theory and creative practice, for a group of local residents with mental health issues. It ran online, as a series of webinars, in June 2020. A 6,000-word case study of the project was published in the journal Media Practice and Education.
In July 2023, I co-organised an international symposium entitled The War Face on Screen, with Katy Parry (Associate Professor, School of Media and Communication, Leeds). Transcending disciplinary boundaries, between film theory, war cinema studies, visual studies, media studies, and art history, the aim of this event was to explore how mediatised images of the face been used to document the phenomenon of war. The schedule for the event can be accessed online.
I have acted as an article reviewer for journals including Limina, French Historical Studies, New Cinemas, French Politics, Culture & Society, French Studies, and Journal of Media Practice, and as a monograph reviewer for The New Review of Film and Television Studies and Transnational Screens.
I currently act as a judge for The Global Undergraduate Awards, marking various pieces of creative artwork, including photography, videography, design, and installations.
My current research stems from work conducted during my PhD, and is orientated towards analysing the form, content, and politics of a spate of ‘late-colonial’ French films made during, and in response to, the de-colonisation of Algeria, from 1954 to 1962. As part of this project, I spent several years researching a variety of cinematic narratives, publishing the outcomes in several journals, including Journal of European Studies, Journal of War and Culture Studies, and Studies in French Cinema. Many of these articles include case studies of late-colonial French films that have been overlooked by scholars, helping to both disrupt dominant views of the cinematic canon, whilst identifying an unappreciated trend in the continuum of French cinema history.
Others apply research methodologies associated with film studies to a research topic – de-colonisation – that has traditionally been dominated by historians, cultural historians, or theorists of cultural memory. In an article published in French Studies, for example, I explored the relationship between cinematic images of facial beauty and historical accounts of colonial atrocity using theoretical concepts aligned with star studies, whilst my most recent article, published in The Journal of War and Culture Studies, connected the history of decolonisation to the critical notion of the gaze, as theorised by film scholars during the 1970s. My most recent monograph aims to build still further onto these ideas, consolidating them into a comprehensive body of research using a similarly original application of film theory to representations of French history, whilst interrogating a specific research question: what is late-colonial French cinema? It will be the first ever book – in either French or English – to offer a sustained analysis of the topic.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- PhD Newcastle University (2010-2014)
- MA Leeds (2008-2009)
- BA Leeds (2004-2008)
I teach on a variety of modules offered by both the Centre for World Cinemas and the French Section, including modules on the history of cinema, film theory, digital cinema, and representations of gender and sexuality. I teach modules offered to film/French students in each stage of their programme, including content modules offered to level 3 students taught entirely in French.
I am happy to supervise MA/PhD students interested in any aspect of French cinema, particularly in relation to war, (de)colonisation, ethics, and politics; or cinemas of de-colonisation more broadly (militant cinema, Second/Third Cinema, de-colonial cinemas).
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures
- Cinema and Television