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Polina Zelmanova

Media, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Sexing it up: Navigating sex, power and pleasure in popular cinema during hastag MeToo

The #MeToo movement has created a new urgency for the discussion of sex on screen. It shed a new social and political importance on the issue of representation (Boyle, 2019), which is yet to be sufficiently addressed within Film and Television Studies. Following exemplary analysis of the relationship between sex on screen and its sociopolitical context (e.g Williams, 2008), this project will address a new corpus of film and television texts placing female sexuality within the emerging discursive contexts of #MeToo and contemporary feminist discourses. Through this process, the project will ask: How do the discourses of #MeToo frame and conceptualise female sexual agency and pleasure? How are these terms negotiated and problematised in the audiovisual texts of this period? In what ways do the texts open up pathways that go beyond the conceptions of sexual power and pleasure permissible within the #MeToo discourse?

Research Area

  • Film History, Theory and Criticism
  • Media


Book Reviews:



  • 'Queering cinema's visual politics through musicology: the queer potential of music in Vita and Virginia' – BAFTSS Conference 2022 (April 2022)
  • '(De)centering Abortion in Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Saint Frances: tracking progress in recent practices of representing abortion in narrative cinema' – CAPPE Conference: The Politics of Reproduction (September 2021)

Other Research Interests

  • Popular film and television
  • Popular culture
  • Sex on screen
  • Feminist studies
  • Queer theory
  • Lesbian cinema
  • Sex work on screen
  • Abortion on screen
  • Posthumanism


  • BAFTSS: British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies

Film and Videography

  • 'The Boyfriend Trick' – a short dance film funded through IATL Warwick, exploring the theme of modern slavery | 2021 | Credit: Videographer/On-set Director

          You can read more about the project here.

          The film was screened at various conferences and festivals as part of a developing installation, including:

         -The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) 'Collisions Festival– Regeneration and Liberation'             (September 2021)

         -St Mary's University, Twickenham 'Healing the Wounds of Modern Slavery' conference' (October 2021)

         -Feelings of Freedom Festival linked to the Resonate Festival/Coventry City of Culture at the Warwick Arts              Centre  (November 2021)

  • 'Stories from Next Door' – a short film part of Coventry City of Culture 2021, Community Connectors | 2022 | Credit: Videographer and Editor

  • 'Shape Shifter' – a short experimental documentary about body dysmorphia (TW) | 2020 | Credit: Writer, Director, Editor

          Barnes Film Festival (in competition)

          Lift-off Filmmaker Sessions @PinewoodStudios (in competition)

          Cyprus International Film Festival (winner of best talent for documentary short)