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Post-beur Cinema

North African Émigré and Maghrebi-French Filmmaking in France since 2000

Will Higbee

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A comparative analysis of Maghrebi-French and North African émigré cinema in France

Since the early 1980s and the arrival of Beur cinema filmmakers of Maghrebi origin have made a key contribution French cinema's representation of issues such as immigration, integration and national identity. However, they have done so mostly from a position on the margins of the industry. In contrast, since the early 2000s, Maghrebi-French and North African émigré filmmakers have occupied an increasingly prominent position on both sides of the camera, announcing their presence on French screens in a wider range of genres and styles than ever before. This greater visibility and move to the mainstream has not, however, automatically meant that these films have lost any of the social or political relevance. Indeed in the 2000s many of these films have increasingly questioned the boundaries between national, transnational and diasporic cinema, whilst simultaneously demanding, either implicitly or explicitly, a reconsideration of the very difference that has traditionally been seen as a barrier to the successful integration of North African immigrants and their descendants into French society.

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Contents

Introduction: from immigrant cinema to national cinema
1.The Maghrebi-French connection: diaspora goes mainstream
2. Colonial fracture and the counter heritage film
3. Of spaces and difference in the films of Abdellatif Kechiche
4. Home, displacement and the myth of return: journey narratives in the 2000s
5. Screening Islam: cinematic representations of the Muslim community in France in the 2000s
6. Conclusion: Post-Beur cinema
Bibliography
Endnotes

About the Author

Dr Will Higbee is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Exeter (UK). He is the author of Mathieu Kassovitz (MUP, 2006) and has published widely on contemporary French cinema and diasporic filmmaking in France in journals such as Cineaste, Modern and Contemporary France and Studies in French Cinema.

Reviews

'Post-Beur Cinema is a highly readable and informative text. It will likely be of most interest to specialists of French or post-colonial cinemas, and French and North African cultural studies, but I think it could comfortably be read by undergraduates and interested cinephiles. Certainly the chapter on counterheritage film would make an excellent reading for a variety of courses, from history to film studies to French culture. The prose is clear, theorization extremely accessible, and when individual films are considered, the dominant analytical focus on narrative and theme should make the text very understandable even for individuals who might not be familiar with the film in question.'
- Margaret C. Flinn, The Ohio State University, H-France Review

"This is a major study of one of the most exciting and vital areas of contemporary French cinema. Will Higbee has excellent knowledge of Maghrebi-French and North African émigré filmmaking and proves a reliable and enlightening guide."

- James S. Williams, Royal Holloway, University of London, French Studies, Vol. 68, no 3, July 2014

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