Moving Pictures, Migrating Identities
Edited by Eva Rueschmann
A close reading of international films that focus on diaspora and exile
In recent decades the experiences and political struggles of immigrants, exiles, and sojourners have inspired some of the most provocative feature films and documentaries in world cinema. These have sparked theoretical debates about cultural identity, place, and representation in the media.
The thirteen essays in this anthology contribute to a growing interest in the emerging international genre of exile and diaspora films, treating a variety of motion pictures from Europe and the United States in their national and transnational contexts.
These essays examine how contemporary cinema--both fiction feature film and documentary--has imagined the experience of migration and displacement, the struggle for citizenship and cultural belonging, and the encounter and negotiation of different cultures and identities. The authors discuss the ways cinema explores the many contradictions of exile and diaspora--the complicated meanings of home, the exile's nostalgia for origins, the hopes and tragedies of border crossings, the difficulties of belonging to a strange society and being a stranger, and the conundrums of gender for the migrant, especially women's conciliation of different social roles and cultural expectations.
Included are discussions of such well known films as The Crying Game, Lamerica, Journey of Hope, Exotica, Chocolat, Lone Star, and Flying Down to Rio, as well as smaller productions by diasporic or immigrant filmmakers who deserve critical attention, including Seyhan Derin's I'm My Mother's Daughter, Mina Shum's Double Happiness, and Yanina Benguigui's Immigrant Memories: Maghrebi Heritage.
Encompassing different models of intercultural theory, this collection draws on the fields of anthropology, political economy, production and reception studies, feminism, travel writing, and postcolonial criticism and captures the complex, diverse, and continually changing body of diaspora film and its intertextual connections.
Eva Rueschmann is an assistant professor of cultural studies at Hampshire College, the author of Sisters on the Screen: Siblings in Contemporary Cinema, and a contributor to two anthologies, International Women's Writing: New Landscapes of Identities and The Significance of Sibling Relationships in Literature.