Allouache, Merzak. Bab El-Oued: A Novel. Boulder, CO:
L. Rienner, 1997. Malkmus, Lizbeth, and Roy Armes. Arab and African Film
Making. London: Zed Books, 1991. Shafik, Viola. Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1998.
Michael T. Martin Marilyn Yaquinto xenophobic communities and nation-states. Moreover, diasporic films, such as Vivre au paradis (Living in Paradise, 1998), set in France during the last years of the Algerian war of independence (1954-62), and Hop
(2002), in which an innocent boy finds himself in trouble and separated from his father, foreground the struggle for recognition, community, and citizenship. As is evident in Salut cousin! (Hey Cousin!, 1996), about two
Merzak Allouache. © pelletier micheline/corbis sygma.
Algerian cousins in racially tense Paris, and Gegen die Wand (Head-On, 2004), which centers on a marriage of convenience between two German Turks, they also explore the ambivalence and contingency of diasporic identities. These films, and others such as Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness, 2002) and Le Grand voyage (2004), suggest a counterpoint to the dislocating experience of global migrations, using journey narratives to interrogate the ''homeless subject.''
Since the 1980s, alongside the emergence of postcolonial diasporic filmmaking, new and more complex accounts of the ''national'' and ''national cinema'' have evolved largely in response to the ascendance of transnational media and other supranational entities (multinational corporations) under global capitalism. As a critical category, national cinema presents problems: one can no longer define national cinema in terms of where films are produced and by whom, or by a comparative approach that differentiates between national cinemas. Diasporic cinema, like diasporas, problematizes national identity and the nation as an imagined and bounded territorial space. For example, in Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987), the characters' identities are framed by London's cosmopolitanism, whereas in Pièces d'identités (Pieces of Identity, 1998), they are informed by a monolithic African (or continental) affiliation along with tribal distinctions.
Diaspora cinema, paradoxically, comprises the global as a distinctive transnational style, as well as the local to reflect some manner of specificity. Diasporic cinema's political project expresses a transcendent realism, in which ''home truths'' about the social experience of postcoloniality are rendered transparent. An apt example is Drachenfutter (Dragon Chow, 1987), in which two displaced refugees—one Pakistani, the other Chinese— start a restaurant, whose viability is eventually thwarted by the insensitive immigration policies of their host country of West Germany. This feature also corresponds to and resonates with a growing corpus of films that address the fracture sociale, especially in First World societies, in which the gendered and marginalized lives of the underclass and growing economic disparities between social classes are explored. Examples include La Vie revée des anges (The Dreamlife of Angels, 1998) and Rosetta (1999). Diasporic cinema, however, is less schematic, theorized, and committed to being oppositional as a collective project than its precursor, the 1960s cinema of political engagement. Nevertheless, it heralds a renewed preoccupation with the global and historical affairs of the contemporary period.
Was this article helpful?