Call for papers


Call for Papers

The politics and aesthetics of biopics

Biopics used to have a low status in western film criticism. According to Steve Neale, a biopic ‘lacks critical rather than industrial esteem’. In the words of Dennis Bingham, it is ‘a respectable genre of very low repute’. However, this seems to be no longer the case, in part due to ‘the biopic frenzy’, experienced in many countries around the world in the last two decades or so. Many films belonging to this genre have topped the box office and have received critical recognition, as exemplified by Walk the Line (2005), directed by James Mangold, La Vie en Rose (2007), directed by Olivier Dahan, I'm Not There (2007), directed by Todd Haynes, The Social Network (2010), directed by David Fincher, Steve Jobs (2015), directed by Danny Boyle, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), directed by Bryan Singer and Oppenheimer (2023), directed by Christopher Nolan . These films, along with many others, have changed the reputation of this genre, showing that biopics can be spectacular, informative and inventive.

This special issue of Panoptikum, guest-edited by Ewa Mazierska and published in English, will be devoted to biopics, understood as fiction films that deal with a figure whose existence is documented in history, and whose unique story warrants their fame or notoriety.  

Possible topics include:

Biopic as a distinct film genre: history and theory  

The relationship between biopics, historical film and costume drama

Biopics and the issue of realism

Biopics and literary adaptation

Differences between Hollywood and European biopics

Biopics of political figures as instruments of political power games

National and international distribution and reception of biopics

Biopics of musicians and filmmakers

Biopics of entrepreneurs, inventors, and their representation of capitalism

Autobiographical films


Please send a 200-word article proposal, together with a short bio, to Panoptikum ( by 1st October 2023. The deadline for finished articles is 31 March 2024.