Debates about (and resistances to) France's changing identity as a plural, multi-ethnic society are thus at the forefront of public preoccupations. This book aims to assess the ways in which filmmaking in France might contribute to such debates by foregrounding the voices and subjectivities of ethnic others and thereby reframing the way in which difference is conceptualized. The core focus is the appearance and after-effects of two related phenomena in the history of French cinema, cinéma beur and cinéma de banlieue. The book traces the history of beur filmmaking practices from the margins to the mainstream, from low-budget autobiographically inspired features to commercial filmmaking, and assesses their effectiveness in addressing questions of identity and difference. It attempts to gauge the significance of place in the construction of identity through an analysis of films set in the multi-ethnic banlieue. The book also assesses the extent to which the inscription of displacement and identity in films by emigre Algerian filmmakers overlaps with or differentiates itself from that found in beur cinema. For filmmakers of Maghrebi descent, filmmaking is more than just a question of representation, it is also a way of negotiating their own position within French society. Bensalah's Le Raïd demonstrates how the themes of beur filmmaking can be recuperated by beur filmmakers as well as by white filmmakers. Ameur-Zaifmeche's difficulties in making Wesh wesh illustrate how beur filmmaking may still take place in the interstices of the French film industry.
and comedies, including Le Raïd (Bensalah, 2002) and Origine contrôlée (Ahmed and Zakia Bouchaala, 2001), then period dramas exemplified by 17 rue Bleue (Chenouga, 2001) and Inch ’ Allah dimanche (Benguigui, 2001), and, finally, reworkings of the banlieue film in Wesh wesh , qu ’ est-ce qui se passe? (Ameur-Zaïmèche, 2002), La Matîresse en maillot de bain (Boukhitine, 2002) and Jeunesse dorée (Ghorab-Volta, 2002). 2
. In 1993, Susan Hayward wondered if beur cinema would get recuperated, be returned to the outer margins or sustain its visibility on the periphery (Hayward 1993 : 288). Ten years later, the diversity of beur filmmaking testifies to each of these possibilities. Bensalah’s Le Raïd demonstrates how the themes of beur filmmaking can be recuperated by beur filmmakers as well as by white filmmakers (as in the Taxi trilogy), while Ameur
norm in the twentieth, time became money, whether one was selling or buying. Covering distances in a shorter and shorter period of time thus became increasingly desirable, and inventors sought ever new ways of demonstrating the superiority of technology over nature. Méliès satirized this emphasis on speed and efficiency in Le Raid Paris- Monte Carlo en deux heures/An Adventurous Automobile Trip ( 1905) – even today, an
) and the skeletons’ dance in Le Palais des Mille et une nuits /The Palace of the Arabian Nights (1905). Méliès used model shots, or miniature reproductions of outdoor locations, in several films, including the newsreel reconstruction Éruption volcanique à la Martinique /The Eruption of Mount Pelée (1902), and travel fantasies such as Le Raid Paris-Monte Carlo en deux heures/An Adventurous Automobile Trip (1905), when
comedian Jamel Deb-bouze, now one of France’s most popular stars) and Bensalah’s follow-up film Le Raïd (2002), though Charef and Bouchareb have achieved respectable viewing figures for one or two of their films, as have Dridi and Saleh (the latter in association with Akhenaton). However, it is also the case that actors of Maghrebi descent have an increasingly active profile in French cinema and that their roles in mainstream cinema are
-bye (1995), at times with comic aspects, as in Mehdi Charef’s Le Thé au harem d’Archimède (1985), the prototype of beur cinema. The very end of the 1990s and 2000s, on the contrary, showed a greater diversity in the genres of films shot by Maghrebi-French filmmakers, a change which Higbee analyzes as being one fundamental characteristic of the post-beur turning point. In addition to mainstream comedies (Djamel Bensallah, 1999: Le Ciel, les oiseaux, et … ta mère!), romantic comedies (Roshdy Zem, 1999: Mauvaise foi), action comedies (Zem, 2002: Le Raïd), war films
short films to accompany multi-media theatrical productions at the Théâtre du Châtelet (the ‘celestial carriage’ scene from Les Quat’cents farces du diable/The Merry Frolics of Satan) and the Folies-Bergère (Le Raid Paris-Monte Carlo en deux heures/An Adventurous Automobile Trip). These films were intercalated between scenes performed live. During and after Méliès’s career, as films became more fragmented