Far-Flung Families in Film

Far-Flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema

Daniela Berghahn
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt3fgsx1
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Far-Flung Families in Film
    Book Description:

    In the age of globalisation, diasporic and other types of transnational family are increasingly represented in films such as East is East, Le Grand Voyage, Almanya – Welcome to Germany, Immigrant Memories, Couscous, When We Leave, Monsoon Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. While there is a significant body of scholarship on the representation of the family in Hollywood cinema, this is the first book to analyse the depiction of Black and Asian British, Maghrebi French and Turkish German families from a comparative transnational perspective.Drawing on critical concepts from diaspora studies, anthropology, socio-historical research on diasporic families and the burgeoning field of transnational film studies, this book is an essential read for Film Studies scholars and students who are researching families and issues of race and ethnicity in cinema, the media and visual culture.>Key featuresTakes a theme-centred approach, examining journeys of migration, family memories, gender identities, romance and weddingsIncludes fifteen detailed case studies of diasporic family filmsAll of the films discussed in the book are commercially available on DVD Interactive companion website www.farflungfamilies.net provides additional resources

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-7785-6
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. iv-v)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vi-viii)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-17)

    In the popular Turkish German comedy, Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland (Almanya – Welcome to Germany, Yasemin Samdereli, 2011), Cenk, the seven-year-old grandson of the Turkish family shown on the cover of this book, is rejected by both the German and the Turkish football teams at his school because, as the son of a Turkish German father and a German mother, he does not qualify for either side. He picks a fight, comes home bruised and beaten, and then, when the entire extended Yilmaz family are gathered round the dinner table, comes out with the all-important question: ‘So what are...

  6. 1. FAMILY MATTERS IN DIASPORA
    (pp. 18-52)

    What is a family and how is it defined? We tend to conceive of the ‘family’ as a self-explanatory concept, although its meaning is contested and perpetually shifting to reflect changing family structures over time and across different cultures. The focus of this book is on the representation of the diasporic family in contemporary European cinema, rather than on the social reality of this particular type of family. Nevertheless, in order to demarcate the boundaries of the present study, it will be necessary to clarify the conjoined concepts of ‘diaspora’ and the ‘family’, by drawing on disciplines such as sociology...

  7. 2. FAMILIES IN MOTION
    (pp. 53-84)

    A group of villagers is sitting in a circle under the canopy of a large tree. They are washing their hands with water poured from a metal jug and invoke the names of Allah and Mohammed. A ram is being sacrificed. Singing and dancing accompany the communal meal. This rural idyll and the observance of the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, or Kurban Bayramı in Turkish, are suddenly disrupted, as the camera pans to a group of young boys who are playing on the nearby railway tracks.¹ As a test of courage, they are lying on the tracks while a black...

  8. 3. FAMILY MEMORIES, FAMILY SECRETS
    (pp. 85-119)

    Based on the premise that families are held together by their shared remembering and their complicit forgetting, this chapter investigates the dialectical relationship between those past events that families wish to preserve and those moments that are forgotten and shrouded in silence and which, nevertheless, have a habit of coming out. While the first part of the chapter attends to what I shall call ‘postmemory documentaries’, in which second-generation diasporic filmmakers excavate and reconstruct the migratory histories of their parents, the second part examines fiction films about family secrets and identifies the ‘coming out’ of queer sons and daughters as...

  9. 4. GENDER, GENERATION AND THE PRODUCTION OF LOCALITY IN THE DIASPORIC FAMILY
    (pp. 120-151)

    In modern globalised societies, a world of places has been supplanted by a world of global flows. Whereas, in the past, cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai proposes, communities were bound to a specific territory that offered a sense of familiarity and belonging, accelerated transnational mobility and the conditions of contemporary urban living have created a disjuncture between territory and locality, understood as ‘a property of social life’ and ‘a structure of feeling’ (1996: 182). In a deterritorialised world, place-bound communities have become transformed into ‘ethnoscapes’, or shifting landscapes of transnationally mobile people, whose collective identities have assumed ‘a slippery, nonlocalized quality’...

  10. 5. ROMANCE AND WEDDINGS IN DIASPORA
    (pp. 152-185)

    At the end of Moonstruck, a romantic comedy set in Brooklyn, the lovers Loretta Castorini and Ronny Cammareri finally get together. Ronny’s proposal of marriage takes place in the kitchen of the extended Italian American Castorini family, who have congregated around the breakfast table. Not only is a new couple created but also an old couple is reunited, as Loretta’s mother insists that her husband Cosmo give up his mistress, reminding the self-pitying philanderer: ‘Your life is not built on nothing. Te amo’. Cosmo confesses his love in return, lifts his glass and toasts, ‘A la famiglia’, thereby re-affirming that...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 186-215)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 216-224)