The biographical film or biopic is a staple of film production in all major film industries and yet, within film studies, its generic, aesthetic, and cultural significance has remained underexplored. The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture fills this gap, conceptualizing the biopic with a particular eye toward the "life" of the genre internationally. New theoretical approaches combine with specially commissioned chapters on contemporary biographical film production in India, Italy, South Korea, France, Russia, Great Britain, and the US, in order to present a selective but well-rounded portrait of the biopic’s place in film culture.

From Marie Antoinette to The Social Network, the pieces in this volume critically examine the place of the biopic within ongoing debates about how cinema can and should represent history and "real lives." Contributors discuss the biopic’s grounding in the conventions of the historical film, and explore the genre’s defining traits as well as its potential for innovation. The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture expands the critical boundaries of this evolving, versatile genre.

chapter |32 pages

Introduction: the biopic and its critical contexts

ByBelén Vidal

part |68 pages

Cultural shifts

chapter |17 pages

Facebooking the present

The biopic and cultural instantaneity
ByRebecca A. Sheehan

chapter |16 pages

The contemporary french biopic in national and international contexts

ByRaphaëlle Moine

chapter |17 pages

Recycling historical lives

South korean period biopics and the culture content industry
ByYun Mi Hwang

part |94 pages

Cycles and performance

chapter |15 pages

Performing performers

Embodiment and intertextuality in the contemporary biopic
ByLucy Fife Donaldson

chapter |22 pages

Consensual pleasures

Amazing grace, oratory, and the middlebrow biopic
ByTom Brown

chapter |19 pages


The compressed frame of impersonation
ByBelén Vidal

chapter |17 pages

Gender, genius, and abjection in artist biopics

ByJulie F. Codell

chapter |19 pages

Chanel on screen

Female biopics in the age of global branding
ByGinette Vincendeau

part |79 pages

Icons and auteurs

chapter |15 pages

Cinematic boundaries

Aleksandr sokurov's the sun as liminal biopic
ByAlastair Phillips

chapter |15 pages

History in the making

Sofia coppola's marie antoinette and the new auteurism
ByPam Cook

chapter |16 pages

I'm not there

Transcendent thanatography
ByJesse Schlotterbeck

chapter |16 pages

Il divo

The biopic, counter-history, and cine/politics in the twenty-first century
ByMarcia Landy

chapter |15 pages


Puppetry in the musical biopicy
ByRobert Burgoyne