New book: The Female Gaze in Documentary Film

by Lisa French, published by Palgrave Macmillan, 5 September 2021

The Female Gaze in Documentary Film – an International Perspective makes a timely contribution to the recent rise in interest in the status, presence, achievements and issues for women in contemporary screen industries.

It examines the works, contributions and participation of female documentary directors globally. The central preoccupation of the book is to consider what might constitute a ‘female gaze’, an inquiry that has had a long history in filmmaking, film theory and women’s art. It fills a gap in the literature which to date has not substantially examined the work of female documentary directors. Moreover, research on sex, gender and the gaze has infrequently been the subject of scholarship on documentary film, particularly in comparison to narrative film or television drama. A distinctive feature of the book is that it is based on interviews with significant female documentarians from Europe, Asia and North America.


  • Chapter One – Introduction
  • PART One – Women’s Documentary Practice, Theory and Histories
  • Chapter Two – Women and Documentary
  • Chapter Three – The ‘Female Gaze’
  • Chapter Four – Aesthetics and the Influence of Gender
  • Chapter Five – Feminisms, Feminist Theory and Documentary Practice
  • Part Two – Case Studies: Female Documentary Directors in Focus
  • Chapter Six – Documentary as Artform: Pirjo Honkasalo’s Cinematic Poetics
  • Chapter Seven – Transnational Feminism in the Cinema of Kim Longinotto
  • Chapter Eight – Nishtha Jain: An Auto-ethnographic and a Postcolonial Feminist Gaze
  • Chapter Nine – Marie Mandy: Female Subjectivity and Aesthetics
  • Chapter Ten – A View from the Margins: The Films of Nancy D Kates
  • Chapter Eleven – Gillian Armstrong: The Line Between Fact and Fiction
  • Chapter Twelve – Conclusion: Rendering Female Reality
  • Glossary
  • Index

Lisa French is Dean of RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication and Professor of Screen and Media. She has published extensively on women in film, produced documentaries, is co-chair of a UNESCO 19 global university research network on media, gender and ICTs, and is a member of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Taskforce. 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.