Dominique Bluher

Lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College
Classics 410
Office Hours: By Appointment
PhD, Université de Paris 3
Research Interests: Film theory and film analysis; French cinema; contemporary alternative cinema (fiction and non-fiction); autobiographical cinema; moving image-based art; Agnès Varda.


Dominique Bluher is a scholar, translator, curator, film consultant, and programmer.  In the course of her career, she has held teaching positions at universities in France (Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris 3, Paris X, Bordeaux 3, Rennes 2), and was also a visiting professor in Germany (Freie Universität Berlin). Before coming to the University of Chicago, she taught at Harvard University, Brown University, and Wellesley College.

Bluher was the co-editor of several issues of the bilingual journal of theory on image and sound, Iris, and of two books devoted to French non-fiction short films in the 1950s and 1960s. She has worked as a translator, subtitling more than 30 French art films and documentaries, and translated with Margrit Tröhler, Christian Metz’s “The Imaginary Signifier” into German. From 1989 to 2004 Bluher served as the French film consultant for the International Forum of New Cinema at the Berlin Film Festival, and from 1993 to 1996 as the director of programming for ACID (Agence du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion), a film-makers’ association dedicated to promoting the distribution of independent film.

Her current research and publications are focused primarily on autobiographical cinema and contemporary French cinema. Her published work has concentrated on autobiographical films, and in particular on the unique body of films by the French filmmaker Joseph Morder, as well as on Agnès Varda’s films and video installations. More recently, Bluher has become more interested in the uses of moving images in contemporary art. Among others, she curated two exhibitions and retrospectives of Agnès Varda’s recent artworks: in 2009, at the Carpenter Center of the Visual Arts (Harvard, Cambridge), and in 2015, at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, listed by the Chicago Tribune as one of the best shows in Chicago in 2015. She is currently preparing a comprehensive monographic exhibition of Varda's installations that will take place at Silent Green, Berlin, in the summer of 2022.

Recent Publications

“Varda's Third Life.” Special issue of Camera Obscura “Future Varda.” (forthcoming).

"Demain et encore demain de Dominique Cabrera. Journal filmé et autoportraits" In Dominique Cabrera. Ed. Julie Savelli. De l'Incidence Éditeur. Caen. (forthcoming).

“Varda's Gift of Postcards.”Área Abierta. 19/3 (2019): 287-306.

“The Other Portrait – Agnès Varda’s Self-Portraiture.” In From Self-portrait to Selfie: Representing the Self in Moving Images. Eds. Muriel Tinel-Temple, Laura Busetta and Marlène Monteiro. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien. Peter Lang, 2019. 47-76.

“Personal Enunciation – Presences of Absences.” In Christian Metz and the Codes of Cinema. Film Semiology and Beyond. Eds. Margrit Tröhler and Guido Kirsten. Amsterdam University Press, 2018. 391-414.

“Joseph Morder, le filmateur.” In Amateur en cinéma, un autre paradigme? Eds. Benoît Turquety and Valérie Vignaux. Paris: AFRHC, 2017. 212-227

Recent courses in RLL

  • FREN 26803 Claire Denis (Autumn 2020)
  • FREN 26811 Agnès Varda (Autumn 2019)


Affiliated Departments and Centers: Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Department of Cinema and Media Studies