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Screening Integration

Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France

Sylvie Durmelat

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

By definition, a volume such as this is the fruit of collective labor. Our most sincere thanks go to the contributing authors, whose incisive and original reflections compel us to share their insights with the reader. As with many projects, this one too began with a day of reflection in 2007, organized by Carrie Tarr in conjunction with “Beur Is Beautiful,” a retrospective she curated...

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pp. 1-24

Since the early 1980s, French citizens of Maghrebi immigrant descent have actively engaged in making a cinema that foregrounds their experiences.1 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...

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1. From "Ghettoes" to Globlization: Situating Maghrebi-French Filmmakers

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pp. 25-40

In the quarter century since second-generation Maghrebis in France first began making full-length feature films, there has been a vigorous and ongoing debate about how best to categorize and label them. The two most commonly used labels — “Beur” and “banlieue” cinema — are grounded respectively in ethnic and social...

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2. Hidden Islam: The Role of the Religious in Beur and Banlieue Cinema

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pp. 41-57

French cinema has had little if any interest in portraying Islam, a religion that was only minimally present in metropolitan France before the Second World War (Cadé 2006, 1058–75).1 Relegated to shabby spaces — grudgingly conceded to the Maghrebi immigrants...

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3. “Et si on allait en Algérie?” Home, Displacement,and the Myth of Return in Recent Journey Films by Maghrebi-French and North African Émigré Directors

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pp. 58-76

Since the late 1990s French cinema has witnessed a reconfiguration of the representational politics of place and space in Maghrebi- French and North African émigré filmmaking.1 Maghrebi-French protagonists are increasingly shown on screen moving beyond the banlieue, which has previously functioned as both the locus of...

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4. Turning Integration Inside Out: How Johnnythe Frenchman Became Abdel Bachir the ArabGrocer in Il était une fois dans l’oued

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pp. 77-92

Il était une fois dans l’oued (2005) is the third feature film of French director of Algerian ancestry Djamel Bensalah. Bensalah’s previous films, Le ciel, les oiseaux et . . . ta mère! (1999) and Le raïd (2002), each attracted over 1 million spectators.1 Featuring Julien Courbey, a talented actor who was instrumental in turning Bensalah’s films...

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5. Re-Visions of the Algerian War of Independence: Writing the Memories of Algerian Immigrants into French Cinema

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pp. 93-111

In the fiction films produced by the French descendants of Algerian immigrants, the war of independence (1954–62), while not absent, has rarely taken center stage. A few notable exceptions — Sous les pieds des femmes (Rachida Krim 1997), Vivre au paradis (Bourlem Guerdjou 1998), and Cartouches gauloises (Mehdi Charef...

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6. Rachid Bouchareb’s Indigènes: Political or Ethical Event of Memory?

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pp. 112-126

The film that will serve as my point of departure was directed by Rachid Bouchareb and distributed in France in 2006. I suppose that I could say that this film is about France’s colonial past (and especially about the role of colonized North African subjects enrolled in the French military during the Second World...

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7. Class Acts: Education, Gender, and Integration in Recent French Cinema

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pp. 127-143

In 2008 Laurent Cantet’s Entre les murs was the surprise winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes for its riveting, low-budget representation of the day-to-day life of a multiethnic secondary school in the twentieth arrondissement of Paris. Two other relatively successful films released a few years before Entre les murs have...

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8. Don’t Touch the White Woman: La journée de la jupe or Feminism at the Service of Islamophobia

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pp. 144-160

The success of the Rachid Bouchareb’s film Indigènes (2006), both at the Cannes Film Festival and in theaters, as well as the growing popularity of its producer, the stand-up comic Jamel Debbouze and his program, Jamel Comedy Club on Canal (2006), all...

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9. A Space of Their Own?Women in Maghrebi-French Filmmaking

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pp. 161-177

In the introduction to a 2004 special double issue of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies devoted to la banlieue, the editors note that in contemporary media usage in France, the term banlieue has come to designate “urban spaces associated with social...

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10. Sexual/Social (Re)Orientations: Cross-Dressing, Queerness, and the Maghrebi/Beur Male in Liria Bégéja’s Change-moi ma vie and Amal Bedjaoui’s Un fils

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pp. 178-193

In her pioneering monograph Reframing Difference: Beur and Banlieue Filmmaking in France, Carrie Tarr includes three chapters that specifically address portrayals of gender (2005, 86–123). However, while she discusses some mediations of transvestism...

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11. (Re)Casting Sami Bouajila: An Ambiguous Model of Integration,Belonging, and Citizenship

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pp. 194-210

Born in Isère in 1966 of Tunisian heritage, Sami Bouajila appeared on the big screen in 1991 and hit the road to French stardom with an acting career that spans more than forty movies and a variety of roles. Some of these, like his portrayal of Abdelkader in Indigènes, situate the character’s place of birth in North Africa while others...

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12. Repackaging the Banlieues: Malik Chibane’s La trilogie urbaine

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pp. 211-227

Since the mid-1980s, Beur and banlieue filmmaking has traced the particular histories of immigrant and marginalized populations that have otherwise gone largely underrepresented in French cinema.1 As the terms banlieue and Beur indicate, this cinema has often...


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pp. 228-238


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pp. 239-242


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pp. 243-250

E-ISBN-13: 9780803238381
E-ISBN-10: 080323838X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803228252
Print-ISBN-10: 0803228252

Page Count: 282
Illustrations: 21 illustratrions, 2 tables
Publication Year: 2012