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Beur and banlieue filmmaking in France
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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.

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Carrie Tarr

specific history and culture. In so doing, they mark their own difference from the majority of white-authored films. The reframing of difference in beur filmmaking has been dominated by the need to counter the stigmatisation of the beurs ,and the banlieues ,in dominant media discourses, including the cinema. Beur -authored films are therefore informed by the need to reassure majority audiences that fears about ‘otherness’ are unfounded. Thus, they draw on

in Reframing difference
Carrie Tarr

dominant cinema or to the more subjective expressions of concern about the identity of second- generation Maghrebi immigrants, voiced in the handful of films of the 1980s known as cinéma beur (discussed in chapter 1 ). In the mid-1990s, however, Mathieu Kassovitz’ stunningly inventive second film, La Haine , with its central black-beur-blanc trio of unemployed youths, brought the representation of the banlieue and the fracture sociale (the increasing disparity between

in Reframing difference
Gemma King

that do not share both characteristics, such as La Faute à Voltaire (2001), a beur film set in inner Paris and filmed by the Franco-Maghrebin Abdellatif Kechiche, or La Haine (1995), a banlieue film set in an HLM but directed by white French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz. Films from these cinéma de banlieue and cinéma beur movements, with their ‘thematisations of imposed exile’ (Bloom 2006: 133), often feature (albeit brief) excerpts of typically migrant languages such as Arabic and, in the twenty-first century, Bambara, Berber and other African languages. None of

in Decentring France
New perspectives on immigration
Caroline Fache

dreams and resources and reaching universal dreams. These films depart from a certain pessimism associated with immigration, which Alec Hargreaves evokes in ‘No escape? From the “cinéma beur” to the “cinéma de la banlieue” ’ (1999); yet, they do not single out children of immigration or restrict them to the sticky beur, banlieue, and second-generation immigrant identity (119). The series’ directors stress the importance of the ambitious and entrepreneurial individual who crosses national borders to reach the global market. For instance, in Fortunes, Brahim’s business

in Reimagining North African Immigration
Transcending the question of origins
Emna Mrabet

cinematic works testified to the real-life experiences of Maghrebi-French youth emerging at that time in the political and social sphere. Filmmakers like Malik Chibane (France in 1994 and Douce France in 1995) and Rabah Ameur Zaïmeche (Wesh wesh qu’est-ce qui se passe? in 2002) produced their first works by choosing the banlieue3 as the backdrop framing their film narrative. Labeled as beur cinema (beur being a somewhat derogatory term for people from the Maghreb), their works articulated common themes such as societal integration, racism, crime, identity crises, as well

in Reimagining North African Immigration
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Carrie Tarr

two related phenomena in the history of French cinema, cinéma beur and cinéma de banlieue . The term cinéma beur was first coined in a special issue of Cinématographe in July 1985 to describe a set of independently released films by and about the beurs , that is, second-generation immigrants of Maghrebi descent, one of the most prominent being Mehdi Charef’s Le Thé au harem d’Archimède ( 1985 ). Cinéma de banlieue emerged within French film

in Reframing difference
From Le Thé au harem d’Archimède to Cheb
Carrie Tarr

shorts and documentaries, both commercially and non-commercially. These films, mostly of a militant-informative nature, engaged with the conflicts and tensions of the immigrant experience in France, but were mainly dependent on alternative exhibition circuits. When in the mid-1980s ‘second generation’ filmmakers achieved popular successes with commercially made feature films, critics began to speak of a new phenomenon in French cinema, the cinema beur or beur

in Reframing difference
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Polisse and Entre les murs
Gemma King

-influenced cafes and residences of Clichy, Barbès and ultimately Algeria, in search of a solution to his daughter’s predicament. Like Charef, Bahloul’s work is steeped in the tradition of le cinéma beur (he has also directed such Franco-Maghrebi films as Le Thé à la menthe (1984)). Clearly Un vampire au paradis is not racist in itself; Bahloul does not mean to suggest that the ability to speak Arabic is actually an affliction. Instead, he seeks to show how fluency in the Arabic language (accompanied by its social and cultural connotations) has traditionally been perceived by

in Decentring France
London River and Des hommes et des dieux
Gemma King

speaker’s presence is an exclusionary, hostile act which can directly disadvantage the Arab character and even place them in physical danger. In cinéma beur, second-generation children will refuse to deviate from French, as their parents speak to them in Arabic, driving a further rift between the generations. Frequently, scenes in which neither character steps out of their native language lead to divisions and often imbalanced conflicts between French and non-French groups. In Des hommes et des dieux, however, this French and Arabic exchange, this sharing of a single

in Decentring France