Questions of identity in beur cinema
From Le Thé au harem d’Archimède to Cheb
in Reframing difference
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The theoretical debates informing British and North American analyses of the representation of 'new ethnicities' in popular culture have been largely absent from French discourses on race, immigration and national identity. This chapter analyses how questions of identity and subjectivity are articulated in four beur-authored commercial feature films: Le Thé au harem d'Archimède, Baton Rouge, Miss Mona and Cheb. Baton Rouge, even more than Le Thé à la menthe and Le Thé au harem, plays to a crossover (male) youth audience for whom ethnic difference is represented as unproblematic. Miss Mona, Mehdi Charef's second film, proceeds to offer a challenge to the masculine heterosexual identity of its protagonists. Like Le Thé au harem and Baton Rouge, Cheb seems to be aimed at the youth market once more. Cheb is a Franco-Algerian co-production, shot in Algeria with the cooperation of the Algerian army, but not subsequently released for exhibition in Algeria.

Reframing difference

Beur and banlieue filmmaking in France

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