This chapter analyses Hexagone, written and directed by Malik Chibane, the first of a new generation of beur filmmakers, comparing it with Mehdi Charef's earlier success Le Thé au harem d'Archimède. In both Le Thé au harem and Hexagone, the representation of the parents' generation provides an opportunity for the beurs to distance themselves from the religious beliefs and cultural expectations of their parents. In comparing the two films, each produced at a significant moment in the history of postcolonial France, the chapter highlights shifts in the ways beur cinema addresses its audiences and can or cannot problematise the articulation of beur and French national identity in French cinema. The interventions of beur filmmakers in the French cultural arena need to be seen in the wider context of discourses on ethnicity and national identity in French cinema as a whole.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.