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Shooting the Family

Shooting the Family: Transnational Media and Intercultural Values

Patricia Pisters
Wim Staat
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Shooting the Family
    Book Description:

    Do contemporary movements of migration and the ever-increasing abundance of audiovisual media correspond to - or even cause - shifts in the defenition of both the bourgeois nuclear family and the tribal extended family? In Shooting the Family, twelve authors investigate the transfigured role of the family in a transnational world in which intercultural values are negotiated through mass media like film and television, as well as through particularistic media like home movies and videos. "Shooting the Family" has a double meaning. On the one hand, this book claims that the family is under pressure from the forces of globalization and migration; it is the family that risks being shot to pieces. On the other hand, family matters of all kinds, including family values, are increasingly being constructed and refigured in a mediated form. The audiovisual family has become an important medium for intercultural affairs - this is a family that is being re-established as a place of security and comfort in times of upheaval; it is the family shot by cameras that register and simultaneously create new family values. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0540-1
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 7-22)
    Patricia Pisters and Wim Staat

    This book originated in the Department of Media and Culture of the University of Amsterdam. As a group of media scholars with a special interest in intercultural exchanges related to transnational media culture, we discovered that the concept of the family had not been very elaborately analyzed in this respect. Although both the Western nuclear family and the non-Western extended family is under pressure (from internal struggles and divorces and from external causes like migration that tear families apart), no extended study has related the concept of the family in an intercultural perspective to media use and media theory. This...

  4. Part 1: The Family and the Media

    • Chapter 1 Capturing the Family: Home Video in the Age of Digital Reproduction
      (pp. 25-40)
      José van Dijck

      Upon returning home from work, a colleague of mine was buoyantly greeted by his ten-year-old daughter. She begged him to fetch his camcorder and come to her room, where she was playing with two other girls – a karaoke of sorts in which they combined song and dance with typical kid’s fits of laughter and fun. “You need to tape us because when we’re famous they’ll show this on TV,” his daughter explained, with a sense of urgency. The two girls’ motivation for being filmed betrayed a sophisticated reflexivity of the camcorder as a tool for producing future memories. This awareness...

    • Chapter 2 Migrant Children Mediating Family Relations
      (pp. 41-56)
      Sonja de Leeuw

      My Family is the simple title of several collections of family pictures taken with disposable cameras by children of different origins. The pictures were taken at their individual homes in Roosendaal, a relatively small city in the southern province of North Brabant in the Netherlands. The pictures were the result of several children joining a media club as part of a European research project calledChildren in Communication about Migration(CHICAM).¹ The assignment was to introduce their families to people “who do not know their cultures”. The first responses to the assignment were ambivalent. The children very much liked the...

    • Chapter 3 The Shooting Family: Gender and Ethnicity in the New Dutch Police Series
      (pp. 57-70)
      Joke Hermes and Joost de Bruin

      A group of adults is seated in a kitchen. It is evening, the lights are low, and the atmosphere is intimate. They are listening to an older man who is explaining what really happened. “Such a shame”, says an older woman, as she pours them an after-dinner drink. The younger man, the Indonesian man, and the younger woman nod. Baantjer’s signature tune begins and it is the end of another episode of the Netherlands’ most popular television drama series.¹ Baantjer is a police series that has been on the Dutch commercial TV station RTL4 since 1995. Episodes are based on...

  5. Part 2: Private Matters, Public Families

    • Chapter 4 Family Portrait: Queering the Nuclear Family in François Ozon’s Sitcom
      (pp. 73-88)
      Jaap Kooijman

      The opening scene of François Ozon’s first feature film Sitcom (1998) shows a mansion in the sunny French countryside, the idyllic home of the bourgeois family. Arriving home from work, the father (François Marthouret) is greeted by his family singing “Joyeux Anniversaire”. Before the birthday song is over, the father shoots each family member dead. All the action takes place inside the home, outside of the audience’s view. Not until nearly the end of the film, after a long sequence of flashbacks explaining the events leading up to the killings, do we actually see the father shooting the family, with...

    • Chapter 5 Radicalism Begins at Home: Fundamentalism and the Family in My Son the Fanatic
      (pp. 89-102)
      Laura Copier

      On December 22, 2001, a Paris-to-Miami flight made an emergency landing in Boston after a passenger tried to detonate bombs hidden in his sneakers. The terrorist, British citizen Richard Reid, was arrested. In a US court Reid, dubbed the “shoe bomber,” pleaded guilty and declared: “I know what I’ve done... At the end of the day, I know I done the actions.”¹ Even though Reid apparently was fully aware of his actions and the reasons for his actions, the media turned their attention to Reid’s family history for a possible explanation for his behavior. Reid was born in England, the...

    • Chapter 6 Family Matters in Eat Drink Man Woman: Food Envy, Family Longing, or Intercultural Knowledge through the Senses?
      (pp. 103-114)
      Tarja Laine

      In Western cinema, food and drink have often served as symbols for life and sensuality. The enjoyment of food is used to celebrate the pure physical joy of life and sensuality, reminding us of our immediate corporeal sensations, and affirming the vitality of human life. A number of films about food use food imagery in a “carnivalesque” fashion: in Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel, Denmark, 1987), the maid of two minister’s daughters wins the lottery and spends the entire sum on an elaborate banquet for her Lutheran employers and their church community. In Chocolat (Lasse Hallström, UK/US, 2000), a chocolate maker...

  6. Part 3: Translating Family Values

    • Chapter 7 Saved by Betrayal? Ang Lee’s Translations of “Chinese” Family Ideology
      (pp. 117-132)
      Jeroen de Kloet

      On 1 July 1997, a hot and rainy Tuesday, Hong Kong, which had been under British colonial rule for 150 years, was, in the dominant discourse at least, returned to Chinese rule. Born on the First of July was the title given to a compilation CD produced and released precisely on 1 July 1997 by a Taiwanese record company “What‘s Music”. The Taiwanese, Hong Kong and mainland Chinese bands featured on the CD were invariably part of the semi-underground, alternative music scenes of the respective places.³

      Quite apart from offering alternative constructions, the contributions on the CD not only incorporated...

    • Chapter 8 Eurydice’s Diasporic Voice: Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus and the Family in Poet’s Hell
      (pp. 133-146)
      Catherine M. Lord

      InRevolution in Poetic LanguageJulia Kristeva psychoanalytically understands the myth of Orpheus to be indicative of the perilous journey of the poet in danger of losing his or her subjectivity in the process of writing.² While Kristeva’s approach may offer a beginning to reading poetic practice, I will use an additional ally in my underworld journey of critique. Not entrenched in the psychoanalytic paradigm, Benedict Anderson’s influentialImagined Communitiesexamines how writing, in the form of print, newspapers, and novels, produces an imaginary, a set of fictional mechanisms by which community can be imagined.³ Curiously, he focuses on prose...

    • Chapter 9 Archiving the (Secret) Family in Egoyan’s Family Viewing
      (pp. 147-162)
      Marie-Aude Baronian

      Atom Egoyan’s second feature film Family Viewing (1987) presents many different thematic issues and narrative devices, which the Canadian filmmaker has continued to elaborate on. The family always appears in his work; Egoyan always explores it, albeit in different terms, forms, and intensity, in relation to visual media. In this respect, a close reading of this particular film, relevantly entitled Family Viewing, will serve to display the relationship between “family” and “viewing” or, more specifically, between the Armenian family and the videographic medium. The relation between the two, as I will argue in this chapter, will be approached through the...

  7. Part 4: Loving Families

    • Chapter 10 Suspending the Body: Biopower and the Contradictions of Family Values
      (pp. 165-180)
      Sudeep Dasgupta

      If the family is the original scene of filial belonging, and culture the general term for affilial bonding, what are the consequences of (con)fusingla patriewithla nation? If family values undergird a normative understanding of cultural identity, what is the father’s place in the patrimony through which national culture is to be understood? In the context of dispersed and divided families, how might we understand family values in the recent debates around cultural values? What happens to the family when the migrant body enters the nation? If there is indeed a metonymic confusion between nation and patrimony, this...

    • Chapter 11 Unfamiliar Film: Sisters Unsettling Family Habits
      (pp. 181-196)
      Wim Staat

      This chapter will take its cue from the recent debate on the renewed attention being paid to political engagement in contemporary art. In a reaction to fragmentary, self-reflexive, self-involved art,Documenta 11(2002), the international contemporary art exhibition in Kassel,¹ has replaced “post-modern” art with political art from Latin America, Asia, and Africa.Documenta 11showed a special interest in the audiovisual arts, referring explicitly to Hamid Naficy’s work on “Accented Cinema”, i.e., exilic and diasporic filmmaking. However, according to theDocumenta 11curators and to Hamid Naficy, contemporary political art has not put politics back into art by making...

    • Chapter 12 Micropolitics of the Migrant Family in Accented Cinema: Love and Creativity in Empire
      (pp. 197-212)
      Patricia Pisters

      In their seminal work about contemporary transnational society,Empire,Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri give a special place to the body of the migrant.¹ Because the migrant refuses the local constraints of his human condition and searches for a new life and a new identity, he is positively labeled a “new barbarian” who opposes any form of normalization, one of which is the family. While Hardt and Negri are optimistic about the dissolution of the family through migration, Hamid Naficy seems more cautious in this respect. In his book on transnational migratory, exilic and diasporic cinema,An Accented Cinema, Naficy...

  8. List of Contributors
    (pp. 213-216)
  9. Index
    (pp. 217-224)