The immigrant in Abdellatif Kechiche’s cinematic work
Transcending the question of origins
in Reimagining North African Immigration
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Starting in the 1980s, filmmakers from Maghrebi immigrant families began to represent themselves and their daily lives. They revealed the discrimination they experienced and the problems arising from an identity crisis within French society. This chapter highlights the idiosyncratic ways and cinematic techniques used by the filmmaker to draw the portraits of three North African immigrants or Maghrebi-French youths, showing their personalities, their journey and their quest, and the communities in which they live.It examines the different cultural allusions deployed by the filmmaker, who chooses to anchor his characters in a composite intercultural field based on literary intertexts and allusions. This releases the protagonists from the chains of ethnic clichés and opens the door to an alternate reality. In his first film, La Faute à Voltaire, Abdellatif Kechiche portrays Jallel, a young Tunisian man, who entered France without papers, thus living there illegally.

Reimagining North African Immigration

Identities in flux in French literature, television, and film

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