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Beur and banlieue filmmaking in France
Author: Carrie Tarr

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.

Abstract only
Carrie Tarr

. 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

in Reframing difference
Abstract only
Carrie Tarr

based), Rachida Krim (a fine artist) and Abdel Kechiche (an actor). Others obtained their first chance through co-directing, Kamel Saleh with well-known rap star Akhenaton, comedian Smaïn with white filmmaker Jean-Marc Longwal, and actress and screenwriter Zakia Bouchaala (formerly Zakia Tahiri) with husband Ahmed Bouchaala. Thus directors of Maghrebi origin operate within a range of filmmaking practices. For the most part, however, they are confined to

in Reframing difference
Sally Shaw

see, the lucky thing with me in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially because of that whole movement, the radical movement [which encompassed the British Black Power movement], there were white film-makers who I had [previously] worked with, who were supporting the type of film that I was making. So when I made Pressure they came and they said, ‘listen, we will help you. We know that you do not have the kind of budget that you will need, so we will come in and help you’. And they would give me a certain amount of time […] a week for free working [for me]. 30

in British art cinema
Martin O’Shaughnessy

story arc that most films feel they need: in other words, some of the explanation for the drastic pruning of characters relates to the change of medium rather than the adaptation by a white film-maker of a black novelist’s work. While it might seem harder to explain, the decision to organise the film around the perspective of the white characters can best be seen as a redirection, not a dissolution, of critique. We know that the project began with the director’s unease at his position as a visitor to a damaged, impoverished country. The film borrows Laferrière

in Laurent Cantet