Porous privacies: Gender, migration, and precarious homes in early twenty-first century narrative films from the French Mediterranean

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Date
2024-02-07
Authors
Haenni, Sabine
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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Abstract
A prominent trope in so-called banlieue cinema—French cinema focused on housing projects on the outskirts of large French cities largely inhabited by migrants and their descendants—represents precarious migrant homes, and by extension entire neighborhoods, as dysfunctional and cut off from social life. This essay explores representations of precarious migrant homes that resist such polarising media images, and that insist on a porous privacy as a precondition for narrative and subjective development—for the ability to thrive—while pointing out the often gendered and precarious nature of such porosity. The natural and built specificities of the Mediterranean coast have often provided a productively rich set for such revisions, including for auteurs such as Claire Denis and Abdellatif Kechiche to develop their distinctive styles. Lesser-known filmmakers, such as Bania Medjbar and Hafsia Herzi, emerge in the wake of earlier revisionist films. Less focused on developing distinctive styles, they are invested in character-driven stories, and on stories that feature a range of characters and thus narrative options, while pointing out the gendered complexities of precariously porous homes.
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Keywords
Gender , Migration , Home , Porosity , Banlieue film
Citation
Haenni, S. (2024) 'Porous privacies: Gender, migration, and precarious homes in early twenty-first century narrative films from the French Mediterranean', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 26, pp. 39-57. doi: https://doi.org/10.33178/alpha.26.03