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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Professor Lucy Bolton, BA, MA, PhD


Professor of Film Philosophy

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8916
Room Number: Arts One 1.02


My research focuses on the relationship between film and philosophy, with particular interest in feminist philosophy and phenomenology. I am writing a book on the relationship between film stardom and philosophy, including the concepts of photogénie, worship, whiteness and beauty.

I have written a monograph on Iris Murdoch's philosophy and contemporary cinema for Edinburgh University Press. I am on the editorial board of The Iris Murdoch Review and guest-edited a special issue on Iris Murdoch and Visual Culture.

I have published widely on the relationship between the work of Luce Irigaray and cinema, and this forms an ongoing part of my research and teaching. I am also interested in the work of Virginia Woolf and film, and have published a piece in The Conversation on this:

I also research, teach and publish on film stardom and celebrity. I co-edited a collection entitled Lasting Stars: Images that Fade and Personas that Endure (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). This book won the BAFTSS Award for Best Edited Collection in 2017. In this field, I have published on Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh, Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren, and women in the films of Clint Eastwood.

I am currently writing about the ethics of care in Dreams of a Life (Carol Morley, 2011), why we should study The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988), James Bond as a sexual plaything, and the sexuality of older female stars in British X-rated movies.

I work mainly in the fields of classical and contemporary Hollywood and British cinema. I am Director of the Living British Cinema forum, which can be followed on Facebook and Twitter @LBCinema. I am on the editorial boards of the journals Film-Philosophy, Celebrity Studies and Open Screens and am co-editor of the book series Visionaries: Thinking through Female Filmmakers (Edinburgh University Press):

I welcome PhD applications in the fields of film philosophy and phenomenology, film stardom and women's cinema.


FLM510 Women’s Cinemas

FLM6020/7020 Film Philosophy (UG and PGT)

FLM6202 Film Studies Research Project Supervision

FLM7200 The MA Final Project

FLM7205 Feminist Film Philosophy


Current PhD Supervision:

Georgia Brown: ‘Vivien Leigh: a Data Driven Analysis of Vocal Performance’, co-supervised with Dr Julian Hough, EECS

Giulia Rainoldi: ‘An Apology of Immersive Museums: Jean-Luc Nancy and the (Political) Transgression of the Projected Moving Image’

Giulia Rho: ‘“The Jouissance of the Camera”: Women’s Avant Garde Cinema as Cinécriture Féminine’, co-supervised with Dr Anat Pick

Jade Evans: “Creating, Exporting and Exhibiting British Film Stardom, 1920 – 1970”, REACH funded CDP with the BFI

PhDs supervised to completion:

Cathy Lomax: ‘The Allure of Screen Makeup and its role in the creation of on - and off-screen female identity’, co-supervised with Professor Janet Harbord

Alice Pember: '"In Her Hips are Revolutions": The Dancing Girl in Cinema', co-supervised with Dr Libby Saxton

Simon Dickson, ‘The Oneiric Film: An Existential Phenomenological Understanding of Dreaming and its Influence on Film’

Adam Plummer, ‘The British trauma film between 1945 and 1951: Psychoanalysis and popular British cinema in the years immediately following the Second World War’

Jo Stephenson, ‘Branding Britain: The Use of British Film in Promoting the Branding of Britain and the British Fashion Industry’




Research Interests:

  • philosophy and film
  • feminist philosophy
  • women’s cinema
  • film phenomenology
  • film theory
  • stardom and performance
  • film and religion
  • classical Hollywood
  • new and contemporary Hollywood
  • costume and fashion
  • film and the law
  • British cinema


Publications in Progress

Feminist Film Philosophy: A Reader, editing. Bloomsbury (to be delivered September 2024)

Philosophies of Film Stardom: Ethics, Aesthetics, Phenomenologies, monograph (Edinburgh University Press, to be delievered December 2025)

The Last Temptation of Christ, entry for Screening American Cinema, edited by Gary Needham, Routledge 2023.

‘Mary Magdalene in Visual Culture’, for The Oxford Handbook of Mary Magdalene, edited by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona (Oxford University Press)

‘Embodying the Ogre and the Goddess: Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona’, in Stars and Franchises, edited by Sarah Thomas and Mark McKenna (EUP, 2023)

The Birds’, for Alfred Hitchcock Re-evaluated:  Shifting Assessments of His Work in Film and Television, edited by Robert Kapsis (Bloomsbury, 2024)

‘The posthumous phenomenology of the star biopic: Kristen Stewart as Jean Seberg’, for Film Phenomenologies: The Intermeshed Politics of Sense, Thought and Situation, edited by Kelli Fuery (EUP, 2024)

Books and edited works

‘Philosophy and Film Stardom’, special issue guest editor, Film-Philosophy 23:2, June 2019

Contemporary Cinema and the Philosophy of Iris Murdoch (Edinburgh University Press, 2019)

‘Iris Murdoch and Visual Culture’, guest editor of special issue, Iris Murdoch Review, volume 8, September 2017 (introduction and article)

Lasting Stars: Images that Fade and Personas that Endure (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) WINNER OF BAFTSS AWARD FOR BEST EDITED COLLECTION, 2017

‘#Marilyneveryday: the Cultural Persistence of Marilyn Monroe as a Cultural Icon’, guest editor of special issue, Film, Fashion and Consumption, 4:2-3, 2015

Film and Female Consciousness: Irigaray, Cinema and Thinking Women (Palgrave Macmillan 2011)  Shortlisted for BAFTSS prize for Best Monograph 2012. Paperback issue March 2015.

Italy On Screen: National Identity and Italian Imaginary, co-edited with Christina Siggers Manson (Peter Lang 2010)

Framed! Essays in French Studies, co-edited with Ann Lewis, Gerri Kimber and Michael Seabrook (Peter Lang, 2007)

Selected articles and book chapters

‘A real labour of love, as they say: James Bond as a sexual plaything in From Russia with Love’, in James Bond 60th Anniversary Collection, edited by Claire Hines, Columbia University Press 2022

‘The shameful and potent sexuality of the middle-aged woman: Karen Stone, Alice Aisgill, Zee Blakeley, and Charlotte Haze’, in Adult Themes: British Cinema and the X Rating, 1958-1972, edited by Anne Etienne, Benjamin Halligan and Christopher Weedman, Bloomsbury 2022

‘Dreaming of Joyce Vincent’s Life: Carol Morley’s Intersectional Ethics of Care’, in Contemporary Screen Ethics: The Politics of Seeing, Feeling, and Acting Anew, Lucy Bolton, David Martin-Jones and Robert Sinnerbrink (eds), EUP 2022

‘When Magnani Met Monroe: Two National Icons in New York’, in Anna Magnani, CUE Press, 2022

‘Murdoch and Feminism’, in The Murdochian Mind, edited by Mark Hopwood and Silvia Panizza, OUP 2022

‘Lost in Translation: Liminality, Loneliness and Learning from An-other’, in The Sofia Coppola Reader, edited by Suzanne Ferris, Bloomsbury 2022

‘Mary Magdalene and Murdochian Film Phenomenology’ in Philosophy of Film without Theory, edited by Craig Fox and Britt Harrison, Palgrave 2022

‘The brunette with the legs’: the significance of footwear in Marnie’, in Shoe Reels: The History and Philosophy of Footwear in Film, edited by Elizabeth Ezra and Catherine Wheatley (EUP 2021)

‘Beautiful penitent whore: the desecrated celebrity of Mary Magdalene’, in Celebrity Studies 11:1 (2020) 25-42.

‘Margaret and Murdoch: Learning a Moral Life’, Film-Philosophy, 2017 (shortlisted for Film-Philosophy Article Award 2018)

‘Ageing, vulnerable and unstable: My Week with Marilyn and Popular Perceptions of Vivien Leigh', Journal of British Film and Television, 14:2, 2017

‘”You ain’t ugly like me, it’s just we both got scars”: Women in the films of Clint Eastwood’, in Tough Ain’t Enough: New Perspectives on Clint Eastwood’s Films, edited by David Desser and Lester Friedman (Rutgers University Press, 2017)

‘From Starlet to Scarlet, and Blanche to Mrs Stone: the film performances of Vivien Leigh’, in Vivien Leigh: Star, Actress, Icon, edited by Katharine Dorney and Maggie Gale (Manchester University Press, 2017)

‘An Afternoon with Iris’, The Iris Murdoch Review, 7, Summer 2016

‘Mia in Fish Tank: Being a Modern Girl in Modern Britain’, in Global Girlhood and International Cinema, ed. by Fiona Handyside and Kate Taylor (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

‘Winslet, Dench, Murdoch and Alzheimer’s Disease: Intertextual Stardom in Iris’, in Feminisms, ed. by Laura Mulvey and Anna Backman Rogers (University of Amsterdam Press, 2015)

'The Phenomenology of James Bond', in James Bond- Fan Phenomenon (Intellect, 2015)

'Solving Suicide: Contemplating The Hours as a Puzzle Film', in Hollywood Puzzle Films, ed. by Warren Buckland (Routledge, 2014)

'Nicholas Ray', in Fifty Hollywood Directors, ed. by Yvonne Tasker and Suzanne Leonard (Routledge, 2014)

‘Solving Suicide: Facing the Complexity of The Hours’, in Hollywood Puzzle Films, ed. by Warren Buckland (London and New York: Routledge, 2014)

‘Little Madnesses: Winnicott, transitional phenomena and cultural experience – a symposium’, Screen 54.3, Autumn 2013

'Desperate Black Female: Race, Sex and Monster's Ball', in Race, Philosophy and Film, ed. by Mary Bloodsworth-Lugo and Dan Flory (Routledge, 2013)

'Remembering Flesh: Morvern Callar as an Irigarayan Alice', in Guilt and Shame: Essays in French Literature, Thought and Visual Culture, ed. by Jenny Chamarette and Jennifer Higgins (Peter Lang, 2009)

'Meg Gets Naked! Exposing the Female Star in Jane Campion's In the Cut', in Feminism and the Body, ed. by Catherin Kevin (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009)

'But what if the object started to speak? Creating a Culture of Two On Screen', in Luce Irigaray, Teaching, ed. by Luce Irigaray (Continuum, 2008)

'The Woman who Watched The Man Who Cried: A Study of Female Consciousness On Screen', Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts, 8.3, December 2007

'The Camera as Speculum: Examining the Representation of Female Consciousness in Lost in Translation, Using the Thought of Luce Irigaray', in Plato's Cave to the Multiplex: Philosophy and Film, ed. by Barbara Gabriella Renzi and Stephen Rainey (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006)

Other Publications

I write and review regularly for the Times Higher Education Supplement, and my most recent publications can be found here: and

I have recently published a piece about missing the cinema in The Conversation


Public Engagement

I am a member of the Philosophical Screens Team at the British Film Institute and take part in regular panel events where we look at film through a philosophical lens. Previous events have looked at Jesus Christ Superstar, Spinal Tap, and we held a study day on Ingmar Bergman.  

Also at the BFI, I regularly introduce films and take part in discussions about various stars, such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard and Barbara Stanwyck. 

I appear on radio and television, including BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and independent television films. Some recent examples can be found here: 

Free Thinking – Bette Davis 

Free Thinking – Marlene Dietrich 

Grace Kelly: The Missing Millions, Channel 5 

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