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Mis-identities & Misnomers: A Modest intro to DIaspora Cinema

by eugenehl
Mis-identities & Misnomers: A Modest intro to DIaspora Cinema by eugenehl
“[W]hile the term ‘transnational cinema’ appears to be used and applied with increasing frequency as both a descriptive and conceptual marker, it also tends, for the most part, to be taken as a given—as shorthand for an international or supranational mode of film production whose impact and reach lies beyond the bounds of the national. The danger here is that the national simply becomes displaced or negated in such analysis, as if it ceases to exist, when in fact the national continues to exert the force of its presence even within transnational film-making practices. Moreover, the term ‘transnational’ is, on occasion, used simply to… Read more

“[W]hile the term ‘transnational cinema’ appears to be used and applied with increasing frequency as both a descriptive and conceptual marker, it also tends, for the most part, to be taken as a given—as shorthand for an international or supranational mode of film production whose impact and reach lies beyond the bounds of the national. The danger here is that the national simply becomes displaced or negated in such analysis, as if it ceases to exist, when in fact the national continues to exert the force of its presence even within transnational film-making practices. Moreover, the term ‘transnational’ is, on occasion, used simply to indicate international co-production or collaboration between technical and artistic personnel from across the world, without any real consideration of what the aesthetic, political or economic implications of such transnational collaboration might mean—employing a difference that, we might say, makes no difference at all. It is precisely this proliferation of the term ‘transnational’ as a potentially empty, floating signifier that has led some scholars to question whether we can profitably use, or indeed need, the term at all.”

—Will Higbee and Song Hwee Lim. “Concepts of Transnational Cinema: Towards a Critical Transnationalism in Film Studies”, Transnational Cinemas.

“I do not mean those scattered tribes whose identity can only be secured in relation to some sacred homeland to which they must at all costs return, even if it means pushing other people into the sea. This is the old, the imperializing, the hegemonizing form of ‘ethnicity’. We have seen the fate of the people of Palestine at the hands of this backward-looking conception of diaspora and the complicity of the West with it. The diaspora experience as I intend it here is defined, not by essence or purity, but by the recognition of a necessary heterogeneity, diversity, by a conception of ‘identity’ which lives with and through, not despite, difference; by hybridity. Diaspora identities are those which are constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew, through transformation and difference.”

—Stuart Hall. “Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation”, Film and Theory: An Anthology.

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