Abstract

This essay centers on the moral and socio-political dimensions of the European colonial experience as represented in its historical aspect in two so-called "heritage" films, Claire Denis' Chocolat (France, 1988) and Caroline Link's Nowhere in Africa (Germany, 2002). The real weight of this argument, however, falls on the specification of nostalgia, on accounting for its conceptual history and diagnosing its somatic effects in these works and elsewhere in literature, history, philosophy, and film. Contra Emmanuel Kant, Linda Hutcheon, Svetlana Boym, and others, nostalgia is here understood as comprised of a unique combination of utopianism, "temporal ambivalence," and conduciveness to translation. The operation and interaction of these constitutive properties is then explored alongside a nuanced reading of the beliefs, desires, and actions of France and Regina, the two girl protagonists at the narrative and moral-philosophical centers of, respectively, Denis's and Link's films.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-661X
Print ISSN
0028-6087
Pages
pp. 739-760
Launched on MUSE
2007-02-07
Open Access
No
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