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From Empire to the World

Migrant London and Paris in the Cinema

Malini Guha

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Investigates London and Paris as 'migrant cities' in contemporary British and French cinema.

The study of globalization in cinema assumes many guises, from the exploration of global cinematic cities to the burgeoning ‘world cinema turn’ within film studies, which addresses the global nature of film production, exhibition and distribution. In this ambitious new study, Malini Guha draws together these two distinctly different ways of thinking about the cinema, interrogating representations of global London and Paris as migrant cinematic cities, featuring the arrival, settlement and departure of migrant figures from the decline of imperial rule to the global present.

Drawing on a range of case studies from contemporary cinema, including the films of Michael Haneke, Claire Denis, Horace Ové and Stephen Frears, Guha also considers their world cinema status in light of their reconfiguration of established forms of filmmaking, from modernism to social realism. An illuminating analysis of London and Paris in world cinema from the vantage point of migrant mobilities, From Empire to the World explores the ramifications of this historical shift towards the global, one that pertains in equal measure to cityscapes, their representation as world cinema texts, and to the rise of ‘world cinema’ discourse within film studies itself.

Key Features

  • Develops innovative conceptual tools for understanding and analyzing the depiction of space in the cinema
  • Draws insights from the field of cultural geography in order to produce an interdisciplinary study of migration as featured in film
  • Offers new ways of thinking about cities in the cinema while also revisiting older images and tropes associated with the urban experience, including streetwalking and other forms of urban mobility

About the Author

Malini Guha is Assistant Professor, Carleton University, Ottowa, Canada.She has published various pieces on films that chart the history of Caribbean migration and settlement in post-imperial London that can be found in recent editions of the Journal of British Cinema and Television as well as Visual Culture in Britain. Her research interests involve theorizing the relationship between space, the cinema and the city as well as investigating the subject of cinema and migration, with a particular emphasis on postcolonial and post-imperial modes of mobility, displacement and settlement.


An exemplary study that revisits the material and theoretical sites and spaces of previous formulations of the cinematic city in order to provide a rich and nuanced novel reconfiguration of the multiple relationships between mobility, urban space and global politics in contemporary screen culture. Guha’s mature, but lightly managed, command of historical resonance, textual specificity and political argument is singularly impressive.

Dr Alastair Phillips, University of Warwick

- Dr Alastair Phillips