Screening Integration: Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France

Screening Integration: Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France

Screening Integration: Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France

Screening Integration: Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France

Synopsis

North African immigrants, once confined to France's social and cultural margins, have become a strong presence in France's national life. Similarly, descendants of immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia have gained mainstream recognition as filmmakers and as the subject of films. The first collective volume on this topic, Screening Integration offers a sustained critical analysis of this cinema. In particular, contributors evaluate how Maghrebi films have come to participate in, promote, and, at the same time, critique France's integration. In the process, these essays reflect on the conditions that allowed for the burgeoning of this cinema in the first place, as well as on the social changes the films delineate. Screening Integration brings together established scholars in the fields of postcolonial, Francophone, and film studies to address the latest developments in this cinematic production. These authors explore the emergence of various genres that recast the sometimes fossilized idea of ethnic difference. Screening Integration provides a much-needed reference for those interested in comprehending the complex shifts in twenty-first century French cinema and in the multicultural social formations that have become an integral part of contemporary France in the new millennium.

Excerpt

Sylvie Durmelat and Vinay Swamy

Integrating into Mainstream French Cinema?

Since the early 1980s, French citizens of Maghrebi immigrant descent have actively engaged in making a cinema that foregrounds their experiences. Likewise, as protagonists, they now play central roles on the French screen. the volume of this production, the increased visibility and professional recognition it enjoys, its sizable viewership as indicated by box office entries, and the historical span it covers, make of this cinema a phenomenon to contend with in its own right. in addition, the representations and interventions in sociocultural debates it proposes render this cinema a complex object of study. Maghrebi-French filmmakers, as they have been named by some British and American scholars, moved away from the activist, marginal cinema of the 1980s (Ils ont tué Kader [1980], the documentary by the Collectif Mohammed; C’est Madame la France que tu préfères? [1981], a short film by Farida Belghoul) and gained access to the means of production of mainstream French film industry in the 1990s. For instance, Yamina Benguigui’s Mémoires dïmmigrés (1997) benefited from the financial support of commercial film sponsors such as Canal+

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