Cinematic Homecomings: Exile and Return in Transnational Cinema 1441101071, 9781441101075

The history of cinema charts multiple histories of exile. From the German émigrés in 1930s Hollywood to today's Ira

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Table of contents :
Title Page
Copyright Page
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part one: Transatlantic modes of production
Part two: Nostalgic visions, imagined homelands
Part three: Exilic subjectivity and the politics of return
Part four: Revisioning the past
Part five: The roving gaze
Notes
Works cited
Part 1 Transatlantic Modes of Production
Chapter 1 Come Back to Erin: Themes of Exile and Return in the “O’Kalem” Films
Introduction: Life cramped in one room
Blazing the Trail—to Ireland
Far from Erin’s Isle
For Ireland’s Sake
On Irish soil
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 2 Alexander Korda and Peter Lorre: Central European Exile and the Illusion of Return
Ambivalence, anti-Semitism, and antifascism
Alexander Korda
Peter Lorre
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 3 From Blacklists to Black Films: The Hollywood Radicals Return Home
Introduction
Hollywood’s radicals
“An Up Tight Time”
Claudine
Themes, style, and genre
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Part 2 Nostalgic Visions, Imagined Homelands
Chapter 4 Between Longing and Belonging: Diasporic Return in Contemporary South Korean Cinema
To return to a home that no longer exists
After the division of the homeland: Diasporic nationalism in Our School
If I can choose My Father(land): A Korean adoptee’s homecoming experience
Return to exile
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 5 Three Ages of Russian Nostalgia: Nostalghia, Window to Paris, and Brother 2
Subjects of nostalgia: Protagonists and their plots
The other as the place of alienation
Types of nostalgia
Temptations of the other and agents of homeland
Doubles and the problem of nonrecognition
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 6 Beyond Return in Turkish Diasporic Cinema
Journeys: Fernweh/hajj/the Western frontier
Soul Kitchen
Head On
Turquoise
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Part 3 Exilic Subjectivity and the Politics of Return
Chapter 7 Staying Home: Cuban Exile Film from Within
(Trans)national allegory
Influences and intertextuality
Imagining emigration
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 8 Chilean Exile Cinema and its Homecoming Documentaries
Before exile
In exile, or, networks of solidarity
Chilean exile cinema and the question of return
The Return of a Library Lover
Fragments from an Unfinished Diary
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 9 Burning Straw Men: The 1979 Revolution and Bahman Farmanara’s Stubborn Cosmopolitanism
Always political: Censorship and “New Waves” in Iranian cinema
Tall Shadows of the Wind and the negotiation of censorship
Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine and Farmanara’s homecoming
Cinematic homecoming as the production of minorities
Notes
Works cited
Part 4 Revisioning the Past
Chapter 10 Returning to Rubble: Fritz Kortner’s The Last Illusion
“Inner” and “Outer” emigration
A moral call
Troubled identities
Diaspora, assimilation, and exile
An odyssey toward death
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 11 Healing Journeys: Return as Therapy in Walk on Water
Walk on Water: Secrets, discoveries, and healing through trauma
Trauma and recovery: Return to exile and returning home
Israelis, Germans, and negative symbiosis
Beyond Zion’s “New Jew”: Rewriting Altneuland
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Part 5 The Roving Gaze
Chapter 12 Narratives of Return in the Films of Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety
The politics of return: An African context
“Burning an Illusion”: The return journey in Black Girl and Touki-Bouki19
Figures of return
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 13 Sleeping with Strangers: Queering Home and Identity in I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone
Introduction
Imperatives of being a stranger
Estrangement of home-space
Connecting through food and liquid
Political communion on a drifting mattress
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 14 A Moroccan Homecoming: The Fabulation of Family and Home in Izza Génini’s Retrouver Oulad Moumen
Introduction
Moroccan cinema and censorship
New Moroccan cinema in the 1990s
Moroccan women and documentary
Retrouver Oulad Moumen
Conclusion
Notes
Works cited
Chapter 15 Zero Degrees of Separation: Post-Exilic Return in Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies
From play to film
Oedipal quests
Spatial reconfigurations
Exoticizing cultural difference
Notes
Works cited
Afterword
The Unattainable Chronotope: Exile in Global Cinema
Notes
Works cited
Filmography
Contributors
Index
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Cinematic Homecomings

ii

Cinematic Homecomings Exile and Return in Transnational Cinema Edited by Rebecca Prime

Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc

N E W YOR K • LON DON • N E W DE L H I • SY DN EY

Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc

1385 Broadway New York NY 10018 USA

50 Bedford Square London WC1B 3DP UK

www.bloomsbury.com BLOOMSBURY and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published 2015 © Rebecca Prime and Contributors, 2015 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Bloomsbury or the author. ISBN: HB: 978-1-4411-2447-0 ePDF: 978-1-4411-0107-5 ePub: 978-1-4411-0693-3 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cinematic homecomings: exile and return in transnational cinema/edited by Rebecca Prime. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4411-2447-0 (hardback: alk. paper) 1. Emigration and immigration in motion pictures. 2. Return migration in motion pictures. 3. Homeland in motion pictures. 4. Nostalgia in motion pictures. I. Prime, Rebecca, 1974– editor. PN1995.9.E44C567 2014 791.43’6552–dc23 2014023609

Typeset by Deanta Global Publishing Services, Chennai, India

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction  Rebecca Prime

vii 1

Part 1  Transatlantic Modes of Production

1 2 3

Come Back to Erin: Themes of Exile and Return in the “O’Kalem” Films  Peter Flynn Alexander Korda and Peter Lorre: Central European Exile and the Illusion of Return  Catherine Portuges From Blacklists to Black Films: The Hollywood Radicals Return Home  Rebecca Prime

15 34 51

Part 2  Nostalgic Visions, Imagined Homelands

4 5 6

Between Longing and Belonging: Diasporic Return in Contemporary South Korean Cinema  We Jung Yi Three Ages of Russian Nostalgia: Nostalghia, Window to Paris, and Brother 2  Milla Fedorova Beyond Return in Turkish Diasporic Cinema  Silvia Kratzer

73 90 109

Part 3  Exilic Subjectivity and the Politics of Return

7 8 9

Staying Home: Cuban Exile Film from Within  Mariana Johnson Chilean Exile Cinema and its Homecoming Documentaries  José Miguel Palacios Burning Straw Men: The 1979 Revolution and Bahman Farmanara’s Stubborn Cosmopolitanism  Matthew Holtmeier

129 147 169

Part 4  Revisioning the Past

10 Returning to Rubble: Fritz Kortner’s The Last Illusion  Martina Moeller 11 Healing Journeys: Return as Therapy in Walk on Water  Ido Ramati

191 209

vi

Contents

Part 5  The Roving Gaze

12 Narratives of Return in the Films of Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety  Malini Guha 13 Sleeping with Strangers: Queering Home and Identity in I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone  Kai-man Chang 14 A Moroccan Homecoming: The Fabulation of Family and Home in Izza Génini’s Retrouver Oulad Moumen  Stefanie Van de Peer 15 Zero Degrees of Separation: Post-Exilic Return in Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies  Claudia Kotte Afterword  Dina Iordanova Contributors Index

229 250 269 287 303 310 313

Acknowledgments This book got its start as a conference panel and I owe a particular debt of grat­ itude to my original co-presenters, Matthew Holtmeier and Catherine Portuges. Both proved to be invigorating interlocutors and valued collaborators whose vision and insights have shaped this volume. I am also grateful for the cheerful support provided by my editor, Katie Gallof, who has overseen the book’s evolution with equanimity and judiciousness. At Bloomsbury, Mary Al-Sayed kept a diligent eye on the book’s progress and was always ready with a helpful answer to my questions. One of the pleasures of this book has been the opportunity to work with so many talented scholars and researchers. I have learned much from their work and am extremely appreciative of their efforts and patience with my seemingly endless requests for just one more round of edits! I am especially grateful to Dina Iordanova for her willingness to step in at the last minute and execute the afterword with such aplomb. Thanks to Kevin Brownlow for prompting me to get back in touch with Peter Flynn, and to Emily Carman for reconnecting me with Silvia Kratzer. Janet Bergstrom provided moral support and much practical assistance. Finally, thanks are due to my husband, David Bloch, for listening.

viii

Introduction Rebecca Prime

After Exile: the original title for this collection and an apparent oxymoron, given exile’s connotations of permanence. In literature and history, from Oedipus to Napoleon, the banishment of exile results in diaspora and death; it is a condition from which there is no return. And yet of course, there is. For those forced into exile, changing geopolitical circumstances can present the possibility of returning home. For those émigrés and expatriates for whom exile was a self-imposed choice, the door was never fully shut. And in our contemporary era, the ease of mobility and communication have rendered exile a somewhat porous construct, determined less by geographical location than by notions of cultural identity and national belonging. Exile may not be irrevocable but it is “inexorably tied to homeland and the possibility of return,” as Hamid Naficy has observed.1 Given the degree to which exile and home are mutually defining concepts, it is not surprising that exile narratives frequently end with a homecoming. The essays in this anthology ask what happens next, after the return from exile. In homecoming narratives, is return located in the physical homeland, or rather in the acceptance of a hybrid identity that transcends national boundaries? After years spent working abroad in different production contexts, how do filmmakers address the challenges of postexilic artistic reinvention? Is it possible to speak of a postexilic cinema and if so, how does it distinguish itself from cinemas of exile and diaspora? In posing these questions, we are entering the realm of transnational cinema, a term that has become something of a catch-all within the discipline of film studies to describe films that cross national borders thematically, theoretically, or on the level of production. In Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader—an early addition to the body of scholarly literature taking the measure of what

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Mette Hjort has called film studies’ “transnational turn”2—Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden offer this definition of the type of films typically characterized as “transnational”: (a) “films that fashion their narrative and aesthetic dynamics in relation to more than one national community” and (b) “films that reflect the impact of advanced capitalism and new media technologies in an increasingly interconnected world system.”3 In other words, films can be transnational in the types of stories they tell, the way that they tell them, who finances them, and who sees them. A quick glance at the program for a recent meeting of the annual Society of Cinema and Media Studies Conference gives a sense of the contemporary currency of the “transnational,” which figured in the titles of more than ten panels and workshops. While a few panels concerned American and European cinema, there was a strong affiliation between the transnational and non-Western, global, or world cinema. Some panels focused on industry issues related to globalization and more specifically, Hollywood’s influence on other national cinemas; others took a thematic approach that explored transnational border crossings in terms of genre, gender, and sexuality. This random sampling is useful for a number of reasons. The diversity of approaches on display confirms that one of the goals of Ezra and Rowden’s 2006 collection—establishing the “value of the transnational as a conceptual tool” within the discipline of film studies—is no longer at issue.4 The panels’ orientation toward world cinema reflects the centrality of the non-Western Other to our conception of transnational cinema, particularly with regard to one of its most visible subgenres: films of migration and diaspora, which usually concern the movement of non-Western people to first-world nations.5 At the same time, this broad application of the transnational as a critical category has prompted some scholars to question its utility. In their introduction to the recently launched journal, Transnational Cinemas, Will Higbee and Song Hwee Lim call for a “critical transnationalism” that “might help us interpret more productively the interface between the global and the local, national and transnational.”6 Among the shortcomings they identify in existing approaches to transnational cinema is a tendency to assume a binary opposition between the national and the transnational that relegates the latter to the margins of mainstream filmmaking and in doing so, denies the extent to which, in many cases, the transnational is the national.7 Using the example of Rachid Bouchareb’s Indigènes/Days of Glory (2006)—a decisively transnational production on the level of financing, casting, and narrative that attracted a mainstream

Introduction

3

audience in France and abroad—Higbee and Lim argue that transnational and diasporic cinema must be considered not in isolation, but in direct relation to the commercial national cinema of the host country. They caution that it is “imperative not to theorize transnational cinema only in the conceptual-abstract but also to examine its deployment in the concrete-specific so that the power dynamic in each case can be fully explored and exposed.”8 In building upon this call for specificity through their case studies, the essays in this collection are strongly invested in furthering our understanding of transnational cinema. However, defining and exploring the parameters of this mode of filmmaking is not their primary goal.9 Instead, through shifting the discussion from exile to postexile, and addressing a variety of historical and national contexts, from postcolonialism to post-Communism, Cinematic Homecomings offers an expanded perspective on issues relating to migration, mobility, home, and identity. Acknowledging that directionality vectors extend both toward and away from the homeland, these essays ask how the sociocultural reality of reverse migration and its cinematic depiction complicates the national/ transnational cinema debates. Does a postexilic cinema equal a postnational cinema? Scholars such as Arjun Appadurai have argued persuasively for the role of the global economy and media flows in forging supranational communities of identity and belonging.10 That narratives of return are among the most popular themes of the contemporary cinema of countries ranging from Morocco to Cuba to the Soviet Union, however, suggests that the nation still looms large in the exilic consciousness, even if the films explored here confirm the commonplace that you can never truly go home again. At the same time, in demonstrating the degree to which the concepts of “home” and “homeland” can become unmoored from any single nation state or geographic region, but are “instead conceived of as a composite of experiences culled and stitched together from both the country of origin and the country of exile,” as Silvia Kratzer explains in reference to Turkish diasporic cinema, these essays further the move away from restrictive binaries (“home” and “away,” “center” and “periphery”) and toward a rhizomatic vision of interconnectedness.11 Cinematic Homecomings also addresses a significant lacuna in existing scholarship on transnational cinema. While the “transnational turn” in film studies has extended to film history—as evident in the number of recent publications that consider the transnational cultural exchanges resulting from the geopolitical and economic realignments of the postwar period12—most studies explicitly devoted to transnational and diasporic cinema maintain a

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distinctly contemporary periodization in their case studies.13 In contrast, the essays in this volume examine cinematic transnationalism from the Silent Era onward, thus prompting a reconsideration of the historiography of transnational cinema. And by including examples of transnational American and European productions, the collection likewise challenges the dominant association between the transnational and world cinema. The essays in Cinematic Homecomings investigate the questions raised by the return home from a variety of historical, methodological, and theoretical perspectives, ranging from archival work that emphasizes production histories to close textual analyses of homecoming narratives. Contributors include established scholars but also promising younger academics hailing from America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. In the diversity of their topics, and the richness of their multilingual research, they bring a profoundly transnational dimension to their scholarship. Despite their heterogeneity, however, many of the essays included in Cinematic Homecomings are united in their debt to Hamid Naficy, whose exploration of themes of home, exile, and diaspora in works such as the aforementioned An Accented Cinema and the edited volume Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place provides the foundation for the collection’s thematic focus.14 Published in 2001, An Accented Cinema offered the first comprehensive overview of the emerging genre of diasporic and exile cinema and has become an essential resource for understanding the filmmaking practices of postcolonial, Third World, and other displaced individuals living in the West. How their personal experiences of exile or diaspora translate into cinema aesthetics is a key focus of Naficy’s work. Compared to Hollywood productions, these films are “accented” as a result of the displacement of the filmmakers, their alternative production modes, and their formal style. Naficy calls attention to the centrality of return in diasporic cinema: “Return occupies a primary place in the minds of the exiles and a disproportionate amount of space in their films, for it is the dream of a glorious homecoming that structures exile.”15 In his cogent summary of a number of “accented” films that privilege narratives of return, he notes the anxiety and adjustments that accompany the homecoming journey. The exiles’ fears about what they may find at home are often proven true due to transformations undergone by both the exile and the home country. “Consequently, the return home sometimes requires as profound an adjustment as the exilic relocation in the first place, thereby extending the exile into yet another realm.”16 Cinematic Homecomings takes up these themes to

Introduction

5

expand upon Naficy’s discussion of the primacy of return through case studies of specific films and filmmakers whose work explores the many complications of going home. In various ways, all the essays in this collection explore what Naficy refers to as the “process of exchange between home and exile.”17 How does the dream of a “glorious homecoming” structure the experience of exile? How does the experience of exile shape the eventual return home? What effect do exiles have on the homeland, either from their position abroad or as returnees? And how are these relationships—along with their implications for notions of national cinema and cultural belonging—mediated through their cinematic representation? Although concerned with the dialectic between exile and creativity, in its emphasis on homecoming, this collection queries the romantic associations of exile that pervade much modernist criticism.18 Rather than positing exilic rupture and alienation as a privileged source of artistic innovation, the essays gathered here examine the historical, economic, and political circumstances of cinematic homecoming in order to better understand the impact of transnational flows and exchange on creative production.

Part one: Transatlantic modes of production The collection, which is organized by themes and methodology as opposed to geography, opens with three essays that apply the discourse of cinematic transnationalism to examples of “international” filmmaking from the Silent Era, Classical Hollywood, and the Postwar Era. Examining these productions, which, in all instances, involved transatlantic exchanges in terms of personnel, narrative, and reception, through this lens proves illuminating historiographically. As Catherine Portuges notes in her analysis of Alexander Korda’s and Peter Lorre’s transnational trajectories, revisiting these earlier eras of transnational filmmaking “in light of current debates concerning the threat posed by Hollywood’s hegemonic practices and products to the survival of ‘small’ or ‘minor’ cinemas” may allow for a more nuanced appreciation of the position of these European émigré artists as Hollywood outsiders. Continuing the theme of the Hollywood outsider, my contribution, “From Blacklists to Black Films: the Hollywood Radicals Return Home,” looks at the experiences of Jules Dassin and John Berry—blacklisted American filmmakers living in exile in Paris—upon their return to filmmaking in the United States in

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the late 1960s and early 1970s. The passage of time and transnational experience posed challenges to their Hollywood homecomings and marked them as “internal exiles” of sorts, no longer fully at home in America despite their longing for acceptance. Both essays are concerned with the relationship between exile and creativity, with the challenges of working in different production contexts, and with what Portuges calls “the role of multi-directional influence and exchange in the art of filmmaking.” In Peter Flynn’s essay, “Come Back to Erin: Themes of Exile and Return in the ‘O’Kalem’ Films, 1910–1915,” this multidirectionality is most evident on the level of reception. In his summary of the Irish-made “transatlantic emigration dramas” of the New York-based Kalem Film Company, Flynn presents a compelling example of the role played by early cinema in forging and affirming diasporic identity, in this case that of IrishAmericans.

Part two: Nostalgic visions, imagined homelands The nostalgia-prone imagination of the exile looms large in the films examined in the collection’s next section. As an attempt to move discussion of diasporic identity beyond the conventional national/transnational binary, We Jung Yi analyzes two recent films dealing with the Korean diaspora’s imagination of their homeland: Our School (Myung-jun Kim 2007), an independent documentary on zainichi (ethnic Korean) students in Japan, and My Father (Dong-hyuk Hwang 2007), a commercial film concerning a Korean adoptee’s return home in search of his birth parents. Through juxtaposing the imagined and real homecomings of the zainichi students and the Korean adoptee, Yi explores the affective community mediated by diasporic subjects. The three films discussed in Milla Fedorova’s contribution to the collection are also concerned with the gap between the exile’s nostalgia for the homeland and the reality of return, a gap that each director dramatizes through a complex system of doubling.19 Federova analyzes how this common structure varies according to the film’s era and genre, but argues that in each instance, the viewer is led to conclude that the foreign country is merely the simulacrum of the original motherland—Russia. In her examination of the theme of post-exilic return in recent Turkish diasporic cinema, Silvia Kratzer further complicates our understanding of the exile’s affective relationship to the idea of “home.” Through her innovative application

Introduction

7

of culturally and philosophically diverse concepts from German Romanticism, Islam, and the American Western, Kratzer suggests that the “home” the exile longs for is inevitably located neither in the homeland nor the host country, but in the ongoing journey to some elusive “elsewhere.”

Part three: Exilic subjectivity and the politics of return The essays in Part three of the collection acknowledge that exile does not always have to entail physical displacement and that those who remain or return “home” can nonetheless be marked by the exilic experience. Mariana Johnson draws our attention to the examples of this sort of “exile from within” that abound in contemporary Cuban cinema. Many filmmakers have chosen to dramatize the highly charged dynamic that exists between Cuban nationals and returning exiles through interwoven narratives of staying, leaving, and returning. Johnson argues that, in critically analyzing exile as a process impacting both the placed and the displaced, Cuban national cinema opens up a broader, multidirectional perspective on how migration impacts contemporary global cinema. Similarly, in his discussion of Chilean exile cinema, Jose Miguel Palacios characterizes exile as a dynamic, ongoing process that includes return. Through his analysis of the “homecoming documentaries” made by Chilean exiles following the 1973 coup, Palacios explores the “exilic subjectivity” evident in the films’ narratives (and made visible by the act of homecoming) while emphasizing the transnationalism inherent in the films’ production (which depended upon global networks of political solidarity). In his contribution to the collection, Matthew Holtmeier discusses a fascinating example of internal exile or displacement in his survey of the cosmopolitan career of the Iranian filmmaker Bahman Farmanara. As a prerevolution filmmaker who returned—following a period of exile—to make films in postrevolution Iran, Farmanara occupies a uniquely interstitial position in Iranian cinema. Focusing on Farmanara’s film Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine (2000), Holtmeier uses the difficulties the director experienced over the course of the film’s production to illuminate the intense differences between the pre- and postrevolution filmmaking environments in Iran and to call attention to the film’s resonance with Naficy’s notion of “accented cinema,” despite being made in the “homeland.”

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Part four: Revisioning the past Encompassing a range of historical eras and cinematic forms, the films discussed in this section share a commitment to revisiting historical traumas. In her essay, Martina Moeller brings to light a little known and rather anomalous example of the German “rubble film” that emerged in the wake of World War II. The Last Illusion (dir. Josef con Baky 1949) was thoroughly shaped by its writer and star Fritz Kortner, a celebrated actor in Weimar Germany before joining the raft of German-Jewish exiles in Hollywood during the war. The Last Illusion reflects Kortner’s personal experience of emigration and homecoming, and distinguishes itself through its direct engagement with the continued presence of National Socialist ideology and anti-Semitism in post-war (West) German society. Ido Ramati’s contribution also concerns the afterlife of World War II, but in the context of contemporary Israeli cinema and society. Working from the theoretical framework provided by trauma studies, Ramati suggests that the return to Germany depicted in a number of recent Israeli fiction films should be interpreted as a form of national therapy that enables the working-through of the traumas of forced migration and of the Holocaust.

Part five: The roving gaze Issues of mobility and spectatorship, explored through the contexts of postcolonialism and globalization, are highlighted in the essays in part five. In her reconsideration of the oeuvres of the Senegalese directors Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety, Malini Guha sees the “narrative of return” as central to the desire for mobility expressed in films such as Sembene’s La noire de . . ./ Black Girl (1962) and Mambety’s Touki-Bouki (1973). However, in extending her analysis to these directors’ more recent films including Moolaadé (dir. Sembene 2004) and Hyenas (dir. Mambety 1992), Guha notes an evolution away from postcolonial critique to a new preoccupation with globalization. Whereas the imbalanced and destructive relationship between the wealthy “mother country” and the impoverished “homeland” shaped the fantasies of “glorious homecoming” central to these filmmakers’ earlier works, globalization is seen as creating new, positive avenues of influence. Globalization assumes less positive connotations in Kai-Man Chang’s discussion of Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2007).

Introduction

9

A Malaysian-Chinese, Tsai had previously only made films in Taiwan, where he experienced firsthand the difficulties of personal and professional assimilation. Set in his native Malaysia, I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone is Tsai’s cinematic homecoming but hardly celebrates his return in its depiction of Kuala Lumpur’s bleak and forlorn cityscapes and focus on alienated and “voiceless” immigrant workers. The relationship between cinematic return and national cinema forms a central point of interrogation in the collection’s final two essays. Stefanie van der Peer discusses Morocco’s recent surge in film production in terms of the challenges narratives of return pose to fixed notions of national identity. Whereas Moroccan national cinema has historically been closely censored, the country’s embrace of more liberal policies beginning in the 1990s enabled a more diverse and hybrid vision of Moroccan identity to emerge. This evolution is particularly evident in the work of returned exile filmmakers such as Izza Génini, whose documentary depiction of her family’s return to its home village—Retrouver Oulad Moumen (1994)—raises difficult questions about why so many of Morocco’s Jewish population chose to emigrate. Finally, Claudia Kotte queries the absence of images of immigrants in Quebecois cinema, despite Canada’s officially multicultural society. Acknowledging the ties between Quebec’s reluctance to reflect the region’s ethnic diversity in its cinema and the politically charged debates surrounding its political and cultural autonomy, Kotte argues that Denis Villeneuve’s, Incendies (2010) indicates a new cosmopolitan awareness in Quebec national cinema. In rejecting or reconfiguring many of the traditional tropes of Quebec cinema, Incendies evokes a state of “deterritorialization” rather than a sense of “home.” Attaching no importance to national belonging, it instead insists that its story transcends national borders, and in doing so, provides a fitting conclusion to the collection.

Notes 1 Hamid Naficy, “Framing Exile.” In Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place, edited by Hamid Naficy (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 3. 2 Mette Hjort, “On the Plurality of Cinematic Transnationalism.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Natasa Durovicová and Kathleen Newman (New York: Routledge, 2010), 13.

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3 Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 2006). 4 Ezra and Rowden (2006), 1. 5 See, for example, Daniela Berghahn and Claudia Sternberg, European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Yosefa Loshitzky, Screening Strangers: Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010). 6 Will Higbee and Song Hwee Lim, “Concepts of Transnational Cinema: Towards a Critical Transnationalism in Film Studies.” Transnational Cinemas 1, 1 (2010): 10. 7 Specifically, Higbee and Lim are challenging the paradigms put forth in foundational texts such as Hamid Naficy’s An Accented Cinema: Exile and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); and Laura Marks’ The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000), both of which characterize transnational cinema as operating on the periphery and in the interstices of national cinema. Higbee and Lim (2010), 10. 8 Higbee and Lim (2010), 10. 9 In addition to the works already cited by Berghahn and Sternberg (2010), Durovicová and Newman (2009), Ezra and Rowden (2006), Higbee and Lim (2010), Loshitzky (2010), Marks (2000), Naficy (2001), et al., see Cinema at the Periphery, edited by Dina Iordanova, David Martin-Jones, and Belén Vidal (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2010); Eva Rueschmann, Moving Images, Migrating Identities (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2003); and Transnational Cinema in a Global North: Nordic Cinema in Transition, edited by Andrew Nestingen and Trevor G. Elkington (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2005) for recent scholarship on the topic of transnational cinema. 10 See Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996). 11 See Kratzer’s contribution to this volume, “Redefining Return in Turkish Diasporic Cinema.” 12 See Dudley Andrew and Hervé Joubert-Laurencin (eds), Opening Bazin: Postwar Film Theory and Its Afterlife (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Janet Bergstrom, “Genealogy of The Golden Coach.” Film History: An International Journal 21, 3 (2009): 276–94; Mark Betz, Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009); Saverio Giovacchini and Robert Sklar (eds), Global Neorealism: The Transnational History of a Film Style (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2012);

Introduction

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14 15 16 17 18

19

11

Rebecca Prime, Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2014); Rebecca Schreiber, Cold War Exiles in Mexico: U.S. Dissidents and the Culture of Critical Resistance (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2008); and Vanessa Schwartz, It’s So French! Hollywood, Paris, and the Making of Cosmopolitan Film Culture (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007). While noting that the cinema has been a transnational industry since its inception, and acknowledging the significance of émigrés and exiles to the development of classical Hollywood, the key texts on transnational and diasporic cinema focus on contemporary examples. See Naficy (2001: 7); Berghahn and Sternberg (2010: 31–2). Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place, edited by Hamid Naficy (Routledge: AFI Film Readers, 1998). Naficy (2001), 229. Ibid., 232. Ibid., 230. In his Reflections on Exile, Edward Said offers this description of disconnect between exile as an intellectual concept and a lived reality: “exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement.” In Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 173. Naficy notes the frequent use of the double/doppelgänger or doubling in exilic narratives to denote the fragmentation or multiplication of identity common to the experience of diaspora and migration (2001: 274).

Works cited Andrew, Dudley and Hervé Joubert-Laurencin (eds). Opening Bazin: Postwar Film Theory and Its Afterlife. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Berghahn, Daniela and Claudia Sternberg (eds). European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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Bergstrom, Janet. “Genealogy of The Golden Coach.” Film History: An International Journal 21, 3 (2009): 276–94. Betz, Mark. Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Ezra, Elizabeth and Terry Rowden (eds). Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Giovacchini, Saverio and Robert Sklar (eds). Global Neorealism: The Transnational History of a Film Style. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2012. Higbee, Will and Song Hwee Lim. “Concepts of Transnational Cinema: Towards a Critical Transnationalism in Film Studies.” Transnational Cinemas 1, 1 (2010): 10. Hjort, Mette. “On the Plurality of Cinematic Transnationalism.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Natasa Durovicová and Kathleen Newman. New York: Routledge, 2010. Iordanova, Dina, David Martin-Jones, and Belén Vidal (eds). Cinema at the Periphery. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2010. Loshitzky, Yosefa. Screening Strangers: Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010. Marks, Laura. The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exile and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. —(ed.). Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. Nestingen, Andrew and Trevor G. Elkington (eds). Transnational Cinema in a Global North: Nordic Cinema in Transition. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2005. Prime, Rebecca. Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2014. Rueschmann, Eva. Moving Images, Migrating Identities. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2003. Said, Edward. Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, 173. Schreiber, Rebecca. Cold War Exiles in Mexico: U.S. Dissidents and the Culture of Critical Resistance. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. Schwartz, Vanessa. It’s So French! Hollywood, Paris, and the Making of Cosmopolitan Film Culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Part One

Transatlantic Modes of Production

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1

Come Back to Erin: Themes of Exile and Return in the “O’Kalem” Films Peter Flynn

It’s a thick black room and a rough rude crowd—the real strong human stuff— A screen’s before, a beak of light rules through the air—enough! Lo, on that beam of light there darts vast hills and men and women, The screen becomes a stage; here Life, blood-red with the living human! In but ten minutes how we sweep the Earth, unbaring life, Here in Algiers and there in Rome—a Paris street—the strife Of cowboys swinging lariat ropes—the plains, the peaks, the sea— Life cramped in one room or loosed out to all Eternity! Yea, in ten minutes we drink Life, quintessenced and compact, Earth is our cup, we drain it dry; yea, in ten minutes act The lives of alien people strange, the Earth grows small; we see The humanness of all souls human; all these are such as we! From The Nickel Theatre by James Oppenheim

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Introduction: Life cramped in one room The above lines, taken from the American poet and novelist James Oppenheim’s 1907 celebration of the nickelodeon, acknowledge one of the primary attractions of America’s first modern democratic art form—its ability to bring the vistas of the world and its strange inhabitants to the “rough, rude crowd” who made up the lion’s share of early motion picture goers.1 For Oppenheim, the nickel theatre linked the worlds of the urban poor in cities like New York with those of faraway lands, eliminating space and distance. But the majority of early cinema audiences were either immigrants or the children of immigrants, and so the distant landscapes that unspooled before them were not always so foreign nor the peoples they depicted so alien. Indeed, for many, the flickering screen of the nickel theatre brought images not of the strange or exotic, but of home—of the familiar lands that want and persecution had compelled so many to leave. This essay explores the representation of Ireland and the Irish in American cinema from the early-to mid 1910s and addresses the way these representations spoke to, and for, the Irish in America. By 1910, the Irish were becoming upwardly mobile, steadily assimilating into the American mainstream. Their nationwide campaign against demeaning “stage Irish” stereotypes, waged in the first decade of the century, was a highly successful assertion of the newfound confidence that increasing fortune and influence had brought about. Starting in the 1840s, when the first significant waves of Irish began arriving in the United States, mainstream nativism had sought to bar their entry into genteel society. But by the early 1900s, anti-Irish sentiment was on the wane and “lace-curtain” respectability was finally within reach. Nevertheless, despite their new success and social mobility, the Irish in America were unwilling to break with their heritage. Memories of the homeland remained strong. Anti-English sentiment and support for Irish home rule were significant factors in Irish America’s continued interest in Ireland, but so too was nostalgia for the simpler pre-modern community of rural Ireland from which the vast majority had come. Fantasy images of slow-paced pastoral plenty and closeknit rural communalism functioned as a buffer against the demoralizing effects of tenement life which the Irish has first experienced in America and continued to exert a calming influence in a world marked by urban over-crowding, interethnic tensions, and dehumanizing industrial progress.

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Figure 1.1  The O’Kalems in Ireland.

Few filmmakers realized this more than Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier. Working initially for the New York-based Kalem Film Company and then later as independents, Olcott and Gauntier produced a series of films in Ireland between 1910 and 1914. Dubbed the “O’Kalems” by the contemporary press, Olcott and Gauntier are unique in early film history. Not only did they make a series of unprecedented filmmaking excursions across the Atlantic to Ireland, but they also represented the people and culture they found there with an honesty and sensitivity rare for the ramshackle cinema of the Nickelodeon era. The Lad from Old Ireland (1910) was the first of the O’Kalem films, as well as the first American film shot outside the Americas, and quite possibly the first fiction film to be made in Ireland. Its success led to the production of more than two-dozen others—a mix of rebel dramas, folk romances, transatlantic dramas of emigration, and non-fiction travelogues extolling the virtues of the Irish countryside and its people.

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These films offered a surprisingly nuanced and authentic picture of Irish life in the 1910s and reflected the layered, often contradictory characteristics of immigrant and native-born Irish culture in America. They spoke to the traumas of exile and the twin histories of poverty and political persecution that led many to leave their families and communities. They spoke also to the excitement and opportunities the New World offered Irish-born immigrants—to the possibilities for upward mobility and assimilation into the American mainstream. Most importantly, the “O’Kalem” films offered a new and unique cinematic mythology for the Irish in America—a grand narrative of exile and return; of moving forward into the New World without abandoning the Old; of the creation of a trans-Atlantic hyphenated culture, capable of changing the destinies of both host and native lands. These narratives were played out with melodramatic aplomb in the films themselves, but also in the ways in which they were made and promoted. And while their appeal extended to include all immigrant groups as well as nativeborn Anglo-Saxons, they were told specifically for the Irish in America. Indeed, for the Irish in those nickel theaters, it wasn’t just the great global expanse that was cramped in one room, but the new and the old, the living and the dead, the nightmare of history, and the great American dream of the future. The genius of Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier lay in their recognition of this. Their films in Ireland collapsed the gulfs separating the Old World from the New. They gave meaning to the painful experiences of emigration and helped ease the pangs of exile. Indeed, their films offered the possibility of a cinematic homecoming (to borrow the title of this collection), or (to paraphrase Denis Condon) a form of virtual tourism wherein viewers could return to the homeland, revisit familiar sites and people, simultaneously holding the film as both the journey home and a souvenir (or relic) of the visit.2 The fact that Olcott and Gauntier were themselves tourists of a sort—charmed by the quaint beauty of the surroundings, irritated and bemused at the lack of modern amenities—underscores this notion of virtual tourism. Indeed, while their films work to celebrate many aspects of rural Irish life (particularly its communal values) they nonetheless hold firm the belief that the New World is superior. For the Irish in America, this was by no means off-putting for it suggested that they had made the right decision in emigrating; that their exile was not in vain; that the freedom and mobility they lacked in Ireland would be provided by America. In short, the O’Kalem films offered Irish immigrants the opportunity (unavailable to most in real life) of going home, revisiting their past,

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then returning to America, reassured in the knowledge that Ireland, however quaint and beautiful, could never provide them with the opportunities available in America. In this sense the O’Kalem films present themselves as a fascinating case study in early immigrant spectatorship and the pre-Hollywood cinema’s repre­ sentation of race and ethnicity. To date a significant amount of work has been done in this field. The publication of Miriam Hansen’s Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Cinema in 1994 set a wealth of scholarship in motion.3 Hansen offered a critical context for understanding early cinema audiences as heterogeneous spectators, whose encounters with the preHollywood cinema was determined by their specific cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Work like Judith Thissen’s essay on Jewish audiences in New York in the early twentieth century, or Giorgio Bertellini’s analysis of Italian audiences, are representative of the scholarship that followed.4 By comparison, however, the work of the O’Kalems has received scant attention. In large part this is due to the commercial unavailability of the films. But the release in 2011 of The O’Kalem Collection, 1910-1915 DVD set has rectified this. Of the 30 or so Irish-themed titles produced by Sidney Olcott and/or Gene Gauntier in the 1910s, nine titles are currently known to survive in complete or partial form and are featured on the DVD.5 What follows here draws heavily upon the material in The O’Kalem Collection as well as the memoirs of Gene Gauntier, which chronicle her involvement in the American film industry from approximately 1907 to 1912. Entitled Blazing the Trail, the 225-page manuscript was completed in December 1928 in Stockholm and was heavily abridged for a serialized publication in the monthly Woman’s Home Companion from November 1928 to March 1929. For the most part I resort to the original Gauntier-typed manuscript (held at the archives of the Museum of Modern Art in New York), but at times various distillations offered in the publication make for more succinct and effective quotations. Other sources used include the film trade journal the Moving Picture World, the New York Dramatic Mirror, and Kalem’s in-house periodical, The Kalem Kalendar.

Blazing the Trail—to Ireland The Kalem Film Company was founded in 1907 by George Kline, Samuel Long, and Frank Marion, whose surname initials (K, L, and M) gave the company

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Cinematic Homecomings

its name. Kalem’s first employees were Sidney Olcott, hired as director and occasional actor, and Gene Gauntier, as scenarist and leading lady. Olcott and Gauntier gathered about them a small troupe of actors and began producing wilderness films, set in and around Fort Lee, New Jersey. The company quickly gained a reputation for location shooting and in 1908 they relocated their troupe to Jacksonville, Florida for the winter months—thus becoming the first New York film company to leave its home base for any extended period. In Florida they made a series of highly successful southern romances and civil war dramas— including The Girl Spy (1909) and The Cracker’s Bride (1909)—and would return there again in the winter of 1909–10. That spring, however, they turned their sights much further afield—3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Ireland. The reasons for choosing Ireland are somewhat unclear. The Toronto-born Olcott was of Irish extraction—his mother hailed from Howth, Co. Dublin— and a desire on his part to return to his roots may well have been the impetus. In Blazing the Trail, Gauntier herself takes credit for the decision, claiming that Ireland appealed to her imagination. (Gauntier, like many others, may have been swayed somewhat by the Celtic Revivalist movement then prominent in the United States.) But a more pragmatic rationale might be found in the Kalem Company’s desire to produce films that could be marketed to the large population of Irish immigrants in America, specifically those in the cities—New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc.—where the greatest concentration of motion picture theaters was to be found. Whatever the case, on August 6, 1910, Olcott and Gaunter, along with Gauntier’s mother (acting as chaperone) and cameraman George Hollister set sail for Ireland aboard the S. S. Baltic. “At sea we did not relax even for a day,” recalled Gauntier in Blazing the Trail. “Soon The Lad from Old Ireland was down on paper and as it was to be a ‘transatlantic’ picture with scenes laid in Ireland, on the high seas, in New York on our return, and back again in Ireland, we proceeded to take the steerage pictures immediately.”6 A second film, The Irish Honeymoon was started in Killarney and completed in London, the next stop on a European tour that would also include Germany, where they made The Little Spreewald Madchen (1910). Six weeks after their initial departure, the Kalems were back in New York shooting interiors for The Lad from Old Ireland. Released in November of 1910, the film was a tremendous hit. “The picture is genuine Irish,” declared the New York Dramatic Mirror, and “carries its authenticity on its face.”7 “Probably most audiences will like it,” noted the Moving Picture World before concluding, somewhat condescendingly, that “the Irish lad will make the Irish portion of any audience hilarious.”8

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By this stage, the company had grown prosperous and was expanding accordingly. Two separate units were dispatched to California, one to be based in Glendale, the other in Santa Monica. Olcott continued to head the Florida division, with Gauntier as lead actress/scenarist, Hollister as cameraman, and a new roster of actors, including Jack J. Clark, J. P. McGowan, and Alice Hollister (wife of George). But the success of The Lad from Old Ireland—not just in the United States, but throughout Europe as well—prompted plans for a return visit. On June 3, 1911, the “O’Kalems”—as the press now called them—set sail aboard the Adriatic for an 18-week stay in County Kerry. Joining Olcott, Gauntier, Clark, McGowan, and the Hollisters, was Clark’s mother Anna (as company chaperone and character actress), Allen Farnum (as scenic artist), and supporting actors Bob Vignola, Agnes Mapes, and Arthur Donaldson. Olcott secured room and board for the “O’Kalems” at a small hotel in the town of Beaufort, a short pony-ride to the scenic lakes and mountains of Killarney. Hotel Beaufort and its adjacent 400-year-old tavern were owned by Patrick O’Sullivan, whose daughters cooked and tended bar. In a letter home to her family, Gauntier described her surroundings with the same romantic effusion that would characterize much of their output that summer: “We are tucked in an isolated corner of the world, with only peasants and mountains for companions. But oh, dear Lord, how beautiful it is! And over it all, the stillness, the brooding melancholy, the sad heart-touching loveliness that belongs only to Ireland.”9 But of Hotel Beaufort, Gauntier was less enthusiastic. “Everything is as primitive as be imagined,” she declared, decrying the absence of indoor plumbing and maid service, as well as the “indigestible” food.10 Nevertheless, the O’Sullivan tavern was a popular meeting spot and the stories they picked up there informed much of their work. Indeed, the tavern and the people who worked there, or patronized it, would play an important role in many of the O’Kalems films, lending them an ethnographic authenticity rare in the early silent period. In the 18 weeks that Olcott and his crew spent in Beaufort, 17 films were made. A variety of one-, two-, and three-reelers, they ran anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes, given that the average runtime of a single-reel was approximately 12 minutes. Apart from a handful of actuality or educational films, the majority of these were fiction films. Of these, perhaps the most significant, and certainly the most ambitious, were three-reel adaptations of the Dion Bouicault’s plays The Colleen Bawn and Arrah-na-Pogue, as well as Rory O’More, His Mother, and You Remember Ellen. Once shot, the footage was sent to the Kalem offices in New York, where it was edited. Thus it was that by the time the O’Kalems returned

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to New York in September 1911, Rory O’More had already been released. Others would follow over the next several months and the press and public greeted each enthusiastically. The success of the 1911 season in Ireland prompted the O’Kalems to return once again, this time following an unprecedented trip to the Holy Land, where they produced the 5-reel feature From the Manger to the Cross (1912), the first film about the life of Christ to be filmed in the Holy Land and one of the greatest artistic and commercial successes of the early cinema. The 1912 sojourn in Ireland ran the best part of 2 months and produced, among others, Lady Peggy’s Escape, The Wives of Jamestown, and adaptations of the popular stage plays, The Shaughraun (their second Boucicault adaptation) and Joe Murphy’s The Kerry Gow. Once again their work met with commercial and critical success. The New York Dramatic Mirror heralded The Shaughraun as “careful, intelligent, and thoroughly admirable.”11 The Moving Picture World found it difficult to describe The Wives of Jamestown “without creating the impression that the writer is indulging in exaggerated language.”12 In spite of their success, however, Olcott and Gauntier had grown unhappy at Kalem—and the feeling, it seems, was mutual. An ongoing series of salary disputes and struggles over creative freedom during the production of From the Manger to the Cross resulted in an abrupt parting of the ways. Olcott, Gauntier, and Clark regrouped as the Gene Gauntier Feature Players, or the GGs, releasing their films through the recently formed Warners Features. And as the GGs they continued to make films as before. The winter months of 1912–13 were spent in Florida and that spring a return visit was made to Ireland. Records of what would prove to be Olcott and Gauntier’s final visit together to Ireland are sketchy. Gauntier ends her memoirs with the break up with Kalem and only briefly mentions the formation of the GGs. With attention now shifting to the production on the West Coast, the trade presses make little mention of the GGs’ 1913 summer in Ireland. Nevertheless the company produced several threereel features, including For Ireland’s Sake, Come Back to Erin, and A Daughter of Erin. For reasons unknown, the Gene Gauntier Feature Players lasted less than a year. Gauntier and Clark, who had married in 1912, relocated to California and attempted to make Irish-themed films there. The scant attention paid to their activities, which included reproducing Ireland in the wilds of Santa Monica for such films as The Ulster Lass, suggest that the venture was not a success. By 1918 they had divorced and Gauntier had retired from filmmaking. Olcott, having

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formed SidFilms shortly after his break with the GGs, returned to Ireland in 1914 where he made Bold Emmett, Ireland’s Martyr and The Irish in America (both released in 1915). Valentine Grant took over Gauntier’s role as the plucky Irish colleen and she and Olcott married shortly thereafter. Records indicate that Olcott made another Irish subject in 1916, the five-reel feature An Innocent Lie, with Jack Clark and Valentine Grant. (The presence of Clark indicates that their earlier split was most likely an amicable one.) The film was shot in Bermuda for the Famous Players company.13 Like Gauntier, he too had gone far from Erin’s isle, but so had the American film industry. In relocating 2,500 miles west to Hollywood, the industry had gone in the opposite direction to the O’Kalems. The artisanal mode of production employed by Olcott and Gauntier was incompatible with the new studio system. Moreover, studios rendered location shooting impractical. The failure of the O’Kalems to maintain their nomadic style of filmmaking was thus symptomatic of broader shifts in industrial practice, which would lead ultimately to the establishment of Hollywood in the mid- to late-1910s. The following sections organize the O’Kalem films into three main categories. The first section looks at the transatlantic immigrant films and their vision of a busy two-way flow between Ireland and the United States. The second explores the dynamics of history as they are played out in the rebel films, with the United States invariably representing a viable future, or escape from the 700-year-old cycle of violence and oppression that mire those in Ireland. The third section examines the drive toward representing authenticity as well as the selling of the O’Kalem films as genuine artifacts (or relics) of Old Ireland. Collectively these categories or genres—immigrant films, rebel films, and films concerned with authentic representations of Ireland and its inhabitants—encompass the full spectrum of themes and issues explored in the O’Kalem films.

Far from Erin’s Isle The first film produced by Olcott and Gauntier in Ireland set the template that many others would follow. The Lad from Old Ireland ran only a single reel, but it laid down many of the O’Kalem tropes. Terry O’Conner (Olcott) is a poor farm boy with dreams of a better life in America. Leaving his sweetheart Aileen (Gauntier) behind, he arrives in New York and we follow his assent from laborer to successful politician. In Ireland, Aileen’s fortunes run to the other extreme.

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Her grandmother dies and she is faced with eviction. The local priest writes Terry a letter informing him of Aileen’s predicament. Having all but forgotten his old sweetheart, Terry’s love is reawakened and we see him return to Ireland to rescue her from eviction. The film’s final scene is missing. From contemporary reviews, we know that the narrative ends with the parish priest announcing Terry and Aileen’s wedding. What remains unclear, however, is whether Terry returns to America. In keeping with the O’Kalem films as a whole—wherein America is invariably the land of hope and opportunity—he most likely returns with his new bride in tow. Indeed, throughout the film, Ireland is associated with backbreaking work, poverty, and oppression. The opening scenes show a frustrated and unhappy Terry working in a bog. Later in the film, the landlord’s use of the soldiery to help evict Aileen offers a none-too-oblique reference to the presence of the English Crown and the landlord system it supports. More importantly, Ireland is associated with stasis, a lack of historical progression. While Terry moves ahead in America, we see Aileen and her grandmother sitting idly in front of their cottage. Nothing seems to happen in Ireland; the established pattern goes on unchecked. America, by contrast, offers Terry the opportunity of social mobility. Indeed, prior to receiving the priest’s letter, Terry is seen romancing an American socialite. He is on the cusp of full assimilation into genteel American society. But the letter reminds him of Aileen and of the world he’s left behind. As such, his decision to return to Ireland is not simply to rescue the girl he loves, but to reclaim the heritage he’s turned his back on. This is arguably the film’s most important theme—and one acutely geared toward Irish audiences in America. Assimilation into the American mainstream need not entail the loss of one’s Irishness. The Lad from Old Ireland suggests that a balance can (and perhaps must) be struck between the material wealth and mobility offered in the New World and the values of rural communalism found in Ireland. Variations on this theme—and its underlying gender dynamics—are to be found in all of Kalem’s immigrant dramas. In His Mother (Kalem 1912), Terence (Clark) similarly leaves Ireland for America. He becomes a successful violinist and falls in love with an American heiress (Gauntier), but neglects to keep in touch with his mother (played by Clark’s real life mother, Anna), who had sacrificed her life savings to pay Terence’s passage. With the aid of the local priest, the mother makes the trip to America and the pair is reunited in New York. Like The Lad from Old Ireland, the Old World and the New are reconciled,

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the distance between them eliminated. The Mayor from Ireland (Kalem 1912) and The Irish in America (Lubin 1915) tell similar tales of immigrant success in America. In each, New York functions as a site of male adventure and upward mobility. And in each an Irish sweetheart provides the necessary link to the homeland. Indeed, throughout the O’Kalem canon, Ireland for the most part is feminized—symbolized largely through heartbroken sweethearts and grieving mothers. Underscoring this is the fact that fathers are somewhat rare—widows, by contrast, plentiful—and the authority of priests often ineffectual against the English Crown. America, identified with the male principles of individualism, upward mobility, and adventure, invariably proves the solution to Ireland’s problems. These gender constructions are superficially challenged in Far from Erin’s Isle (Kalem 1911) and Come Back to Erin (Warner Features 1914). Both center on female immigrants (played by Gauntier) who defy patriarchal authority and head for America alone. But the new world is not as kind to these plucky heroines as it is to their male counterparts. In Far From Erin’s Isle, Katherine is lured to America by a steamship advertisement. Against the wishes of her family and lover she sets out but all that awaits her is demoralizing work in a sweatshop. Ill and homesick, she is pitied by her kindly landlady who loans her the money to return to Ireland. Come Back to Erin offers a similar scenario with the headstrong Peggy finding America’s shores unwelcoming. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she is rescued by her Irish lover, who uncovers the real culprits in the process, and is happily returned to her home in Ireland. The message here, of course, is that immigration is a man’s business. But more important, perhaps, is the matter-of-factness employed in depicting transatlantic crossings. People move back and forth across the Atlantic with relative ease in the O’Kalem films. Return journeys are common. Mothers and sweethearts frequently follow in the footsteps of their loved ones. Emigration no longer entails a complete severance with one’s past and heritage. Certainly, for many, the departure from Ireland was absolute and irreversible. But by 1910, transatlantic shipping was a booming business. The White Star and Cunard lines regularly carried emigrants from Queenstown and Belfast (invariably in steerage) and, on return trips, Irish-Americans, eager to visit the land of their parents or grandparents. The O’Kalems traveled on the very same lines and were witness to many emotional departures and returns. For Irish audiences these transatlantic crossings were a comforting suggestion that the world was not as big as they might believe it to be.

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Cinematic Homecomings

For Ireland’s Sake Like The Lad from Old Ireland, Rory O’More, the first film completed by the O’Kalems during their 1911 season in Ireland, is a one-reel distillation of a genre Olcott and Gauntier would continue to explore over the next several years: the rebel film. If the immigrant dramas of the O’Kalems looked to the future in America, the rebel films were more concerned with the past—specifically the 700-year history of the English presence in Ireland. Set during the 1798 rebellion—the last great period of political unrest in Ireland until the 1916 Rising—Rory O’More’s titular protagonist (Jack Clark) is a rebel on the run. Aided by his sweetheart Kathleen (Gauntier) and the local community, he eludes the British authorities until an informer betrays him. Sentenced to death, Rory makes a last minute escape from the gallows with the help of the local priest (Arthur Donaldson), who is killed in the process. The final scene shows Rory escaping with Kathleen and his mother (an Irish Catholic elopement if ever there was one) to a ship that will take them to America. Once again America is portrayed as the land of freedom and opportunity for the male hero. Once again the economic and political problems in Ireland find their solution in escape to America. The Christ-like sacrifice of the priest underscores the theme of Ireland as a land of feminized martyrdom. The fate of the Irish in Ireland is to suffer. Only abroad in America can they truly thrive and be free. Rory O’More’s pared-down plot is given room to breathe in For Ireland’s Sake, produced by the Gene Gauntier Feature Players in 1913. Clark again plays the part of the adventurous rebel, Marty, and Gautier again plays his feisty sweetheart, Eileen. As in Rory O’More, our rebel hero is on the run, pursued by the forces of the Crown. Betrayed by an informer, he and Eileen are captured. But with the aid of the local priest Fr. Flanagan (Sidney Olcott) they effect an escape to a ship bound for America—“To the West, to the West! To the land of the Free!” as the film’s closing intertitle puts it. But there are nuances here to enrich the familiar story. We get a greater sense of the Irish community, bonded together in the face of British oppression. We see English soldiers burning crops in retaliation for sedition. And we are allowed quieter scenes of local color—Marty and Eileen riding a donkey cart; Marty at work as a blacksmith; and Eileen out walking among the hills picking flowers. Most significant is a scene toward the film’s end. As Marty and Eileen race to the awaiting ship, Fr. Flanagan take’s Marty’s gun and throws it in the river. There will be no need for guns in the New World,

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implies the film. With departure to America, the cycle of violence is broken and bloodshed becomes a thing of the past. Variations on the core themes and plot devices of the rebel film are slight. In Ireland the Oppressed (Kalem 1912), it is the local priest Fr Falvey (played by Sidney Olcott) who is on the run from the law. Harbored by the members of his parish, he is eventually taken in disguise to a ship bound for America. The Smuggler’s Lass (Universal 1915), written and directed by Jack Clark, re-created its Irish setting in California and offered yet another retread of the Rory O’More story, substituting the rebel for a smuggler. “The story itself is conventional and reiterates the familiar Irish romance, with the hero, the girl, the English soldiers and the informer as principal characters,” declared the Moving Picture World.14 Predictably, the film ends with the outlaw (Clark) and his sweetheart (Gauntier) escaping to America. Bold Emmett, Ireland’s Martyr (the misspelling of Emmet in the title is most likely the fault of its distributor, Lubin Films) is the exception that proves the rule. Directed by Olcott for his company SidFilms, Bold Emmett is perhaps the most complex O’Kalem rebel film and may well reflect a desire on Olcott’s part to more accurately portray the political conflict in Ireland. The film centers on Conn Daly (Olcott), the leader of a local branch of the United Irishmen, who is busy making preparations for Robert Emmet’s planned insurrection. At the film’s start, an eviction turns violent as the townspeople band together to repel the English soldiers and wound the troop’s leader, Major Kirk (Pat O’Malley). Unwilling to take advantage of a wounded foe, Conn protects the major from further reprisal, while his girlfriend Nora (Valentine Grant) and her mother nurse him back to health. Meanwhile, Emmet makes a visit to check in on Conn’s preparations, but is spied by an informer. Ambushed while staying with Conn and Nora, Emmet makes a daring escape—but Conn and Nora are arrested in the process. Conn is condemned to death by hanging. Nora is sentenced to 7 years in a penal colony. Olcott stages the film’s climax by crosscutting Conn’s ascent to the gallows with two parallel actions: a concealed Emmet getting ready to aid in his rescue; and Nora’s mother as she races to Major Kirk and the Lord Lieutenant to plead for a pardon. At the decisive moment, Emmet shoots, snapping the rope around Conn’s neck. Amid the confusion that follows a full pardon for both Conn and Nora is delivered on horseback. Major Kirk has repaid his debt. Olcott’s last rebel film, made during his final filmmaking sojourn in Ireland, Bold Emmett offers hope not in escape overseas but in the possibility of mutual

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understanding between the British and Irish. In this sense, Bold Emmett is the most optimistic and conciliatory of the O’Kalem rebel films. It proposes that Ireland can solve its own problems; that it can create its own future. The impasse that characterizes the cycle of violence in Rory O’More and For Ireland’s Sake— leaving our rebel hero with no option but to escape to America—is here replaced with a more hopeful and progressive vision. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know if Bold Emmett signaled a change in Olcott’s depiction of the Irish problem. The outbreak of World War I hastened Olcott’s return to the United States and forced him to abandon his plans to build a studio in Beaufort. He would never again return to Ireland as a filmmaker.

On Irish soil If the O’Kalems were resolute in leaving the troubles of the Old World behind, they were only too eager to return with tokens—relics even—of its landscape. Indeed, the dominant visual aesthetic of their films is that of the holiday picture postcard’s wide-shot tableau boasting authentic images of the landscape and its people; world-famous vistas providing a rugged or bucolic backdrop to natives at work or play. An Irish Honeymoon (1911), shot during the company’s first visit to Ireland in 1910, offers the most literal example of this approach. The film features Gauntier and Olcott as a newly married couple touring Ireland and England. Described by the Moving Picture World as “a series of excellent pictures, showing what Ireland is like in its most picturesque portions,” the film features views of Killarney’s Gap of Dunloe, Ross Castle, and the lakes, as well as scenes shot on the estate of former Tammany boss Richard Croker in Glencairn, Co. Dublin.15 The O’Kalems Visit to Killarney (1912) likewise positions the company as tourists. The film “not only shows instructive pictures,” noted the Moving Picture World, but it has “much holiday trip atmosphere, which makes it doubly pleasing.”16 Travelogues of this sort were not uncommon for the O’Kalems as non-fiction subjects like Among the Irish Fisher Folk (1911), Ulster Day in Belfast (1913), and The Dublin Horse Show (1913) demonstrate. The company’s fiction films are no less informed by the travelogue impulse. “The grandest scenic background ever used in Motion Photography,” boasted ads for Rory O’More.17 You Remember Ellen (1912) likewise foregrounds the Irish scenery as it follows the travels of a young peasant couple through picturesque scenes of rural Ireland. “The Irish hills and dales, with more intimate views of

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roadside, croft and meadow, give perfect setting to this poetic Irish story,” was how the Moving Picture World began its review of the film.18 Indeed, contemporary accounts of the O’Kalem films abound in praise for the company’s scenic representation of Ireland. In his review of The Kerry Gow (1912), for example, Stephen Bush declared that the film “is Irish, entirely Irish and nothing but Irish,” and congratulated the O’Kalems on having gone to Ireland and returned with “the true atmosphere and every real characteristic of the Irish soil.”19 Bush was no less congratulatory in his review of The Shaughraun (1912). The O’Kalems “have well nigh reached perfection in the use they made of outdoor scenery,” he declared. “After we have seen the weird and rugged beauty of the stern and cliff-bound Irish coast, much of the temperament and much in the history of the Celtic race becomes as clear as crystal.” He also went on to compliment the film on its “startlingly accurate interiors”20 Accuracy was a hallmark even of Gauntier’s Irish-themed films shot in California. For The Ulster Lass an “entire village of thatched cottages was constructed, Irish jaunting carts were specially built and domestic animals feature galore in the ensemble scenes,” noted the Moving Picture World, concluding that the “whole is as faithful a picture of native Irish life as has ever been reproduced for moving pictures in America.”21 Of all the O’Kalem films none was more celebrated or more popular than The Colleen Bawn, the first of the company’s three-reel features. Kalem promoted the film as “a triumph of motion picture art,” a claim that few if any critics took issue with, and made a point of listing the film’s many settings—“the beautiful Lakes of Killarney, the picturesque peat bogs, old castles, rustic cottages, the typical hedgerows and the rugged mountains”—a virtual catalog of tourist sites.22 These ads were also keen to point out the authenticity of such locations in relation to the Boucicault play. “Every scene made in Ireland,” they claimed, “in the exact location described in the original play.”23 Such claims to authenticity were repeated throughout the film itself. According to the intertitles, one scene plays out amid the “a peat bog near the Killarney lakes,” while another offers “a view across the celebrated Gap of Dunlow.” The claim that a bed used in a particular scene was actually that of Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell may strain credulity, but it is in keeping with the film’s impulse to foreground the sense of authenticity. Indeed, when the film was re-released by Kalem in 1914 (15 months after the departure of Olcott and Gauntier), “authentic” soil from the Colleen Bawn Rock was shipped over and made available to exhibitors so that audiences may “tread on Irish soil” when entering the theater.24 Once again, the authenticity

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of the claim was paramount. Photographs showing the soil being dug from the base of the Rock along with various affidavits were made available to exhibitors as proof.25 The Moving Picture World featured a facsimile of a letter from Killarney’s Father Fitzgerald testifying to the authenticity of the soil.26 The concern over authenticity was more than a publicity stunt, however. Since the dawn of the medium, false claims to actual representation had routinely been made. Fake boxing matches, fake executions, and fake battle scenes had each laid claims to being real. And films such as IMP’s Seamus O’Brien (1912) and the Yankee Film Company’s own version of The Colleen Bawn (1911) disguised the wilds of New Jersey for Ireland. In representing “authentic” Irish locales and in bringing “authentic” Irish soil to exhibitors, Kalem was differentiating itself from the competition. More importantly, however, it was appealing to its core Irish audience for whom the authenticity of such relics took on an even greater import. In bringing Irish soil across the Atlantic, Kalem was suggesting that Ireland need not necessarily be left behind, that it too could be brought to the New World and take root there in the shanty towns and tenements and in the lace-curtained homes of the upwardly mobile. At their core, this was what the O’Kalem films were saying—the Atlantic was not some impenetrable gulf; the lines that crossed it were not one-way; the New World was not the negation of the Old. In assimilating into the mainstream, the Irish in America could retain aspects of their ethnicity, constructing in the process a new hyphenated identity that merged aspects of the Old World and the New. And all those they left behind need not be forgotten, but could still remain a part of them, bonded together in a common trans-Atlantic heritage and culture. In Oppenheim’s words: “All these are such as we!”

Conclusion Gene Gauntier completed Blazing the Trail a decade after she had left the film industry. Living in Sweden with her sister, Marguerite (wife of the wealthy industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren) she was all but forgotten in her native land— one of the many ghosts of cinema’s past left behind in the trek west to Hollywood. “Suffice for us the memories of that epoch in our life,” she wrote, “with its joys and its sorrows, its thrills and adventures, it affections and achievements. We would not live through them again, nor, yet, would we part with the memories of those days when we were blazing the trail.”27 The manuscript was dedicated to “the O’Kalems.” Like the Irish immigrants whose lives she helped dramatize almost

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two decades earlier, Gauntier was similarly exiled in a foreign land. And she too nursed a connection to a different time and place. But in dedicating her work to “the O’Kalems,” she was acknowledging not just the company of filmmakers that she and Sidney Olcott had led around the world, but also, the central role that Ireland and the Irish played in their careers—and in the development of the early American cinema as a whole. Indeed, as a location, Ireland provided the early cinema with some of its first authentic exotic locales. And its people helped to tell many of its earliest transnational narratives, epics in the great myth of modern America’s birth. But the Irish also played an important role as consumers of the early cinema. The success of the O’Kalem films was undoubtedly, in large part, a consequence of Irish patronage. And the Irish, of course, were significant among amusementgoers of the period—and a notoriously demanding group, given their highly visible (and successful) protest against the stage Irishman. Historians of early American cinema have largely ignored these factors and as a consequence much of the early American cinema’s function in representing foreign and diasporic cultures, as well as America’s own multi-ethnic makeup, has yet to be fully explored. The O’Kalem films are a perfect place to start.

Notes 1 New York Times, September 15, 1907, SM5. 2 Denis Condon, Early Irish Cinema, 1895-1921 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008), 125. 3 Miriam Hansen, Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Cinema (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994). 4 Judith Thissen, “Jewish Immigrant Audiences in New York City, 1905-1914,” and Giorgio Bertellini, “Italian Imageries, Historical Feature Film and the Fabrication of Italy’s Spectators in Early 1900s New York.” In American Movie Audiences: From the Turn of the Century to the Early Sound Era, edited by Melvyn Stokes and Richard Maltby (London: BFI, 1999). 5 The O’Kalem Collection, 1910-1915 is a two-disc DVD set featuring all surviving films produced by the O’Kalems in Ireland as well as the feature documentary, Blazing the Trail: The O’Kalems in Ireland (2011). 6 Gene Gauntier, Blazing the Trail (original manuscript, December 16, 1928): 90. A truncated version of Blazing the Trail was serialized in Woman’s Home Companion over six issues, between December 1928 and March 1929. 7 “Far Afield,” New York Dramatic Mirror, November 2, 1910: 29.

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8 Moving Picture World. Vol. 7, No. 23, December 3, 1910: 1296. 9 Gauntier, Blazing the Trail, 109 (In the published version, the quote is assigned to G’s diary.). 10 Gauntier, Blazing the Trail, 110–11. 11 New York Dramatic Mirror, January 1, 1913: 28. 12 Moving Picture World. Vol. 15, No. 3, January 19, 1913: 258. 13 Olcott once again restaged Ireland on foreign soil (actually in a New York studio) in 1926, when he directed the Marion Davies vehicle Little Old New York. 14 Moving Picture World. Vol. 24, No. 10, June 5, 1915: 1607. 15 Moving Picture World. Vol. 8, No. 12, March 25, 1911: 656. 16 Moving Picture World. Vol. 11, No. 3, January 20, 1912: 202. 17 Moving Picture World. Vol. 9, No. 8, September 2, 1911: 642a. 18 Moving Picture World. Vol. 11, No. 11, March 16, 1912: 962. 19 Moving Picture World. Vol. 14, No. 6, November 9, 1912: 530. 20 Moving Picture World. Vol. 14, No. 11, December 14, 1912: 1065. 21 Moving Picture World. Vol. 25, No. 1, July 3, 1915: 86. 22 Moving Picture World. Vol. 10, No. 1, October 7, 1911: 14. 23 See Moving Picture World. Vol. 9, No. 11, September 13, 1911: 911. 24 Kalem Kalendar, February 1, 1914: 2. 25 New York Dramatic Mirror, February 4, 1914: 30. 26 Moving Picture World. Vol. 19, No. 10, March 7, 1914: 1202. 27 Gauntier, Blazing the Trail, 225.

Works cited Bertellini, Giorgio. “Italian Imageries, Historical Feature Film and the Fabrication of Italy’s Spectators in Early 1900s New York.” In American Movie Audiences: From the Turn of the Century to the Early Sound Era, edited by Melvyn Stokes and Richard Maltby. London: BFI, 1999, 29–45. Condon, Denis. Early Irish Cinema, 1895-1921. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008. Gauntier, Gene. Blazing the Trail. Unpublished manuscript, 1928. —. “Blazing the Trail.” Woman’s Home Companion. December to March, 1928–9. Hansen, Miriam. Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Cinema. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994. Kalem Kalendar. February 1, 1914: 2. Far Afield. New York Dramatic Mirror. November 2, 1910: 29. Moving Picture World. Vol. 7, No. 23. December 3, 1910: 1296. Moving Picture World. Vol. 8, No. 12. March 25, 1911: 656.

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Moving Picture World. Vol. 9, No. 8. September 2, 1911: 642a. Moving Picture World. Vol. 9, No. 11. September 13, 1911: 911. Moving Picture World. Vol. 10, No. 1. October 7, 1911: 14. Moving Picture World. Vol. 11, No. 3. January 20, 1912: 202. Moving Picture World. Vol. 11, No. 11. March 16, 1912: 962. Moving Picture World. Vol. 14, No. 6. November 9, 1912: 530. Moving Picture World. Vol. 14, No. 11. December 14, 1912: 1065. Moving Picture World. Vol. 15, No. 3. January 19, 1913: 258. Moving Picture World. Vol. 19, No. 10. March 7, 1914: 1202. Moving Picture World. Vol. 24, No. 10. June 5, 1915: 1607. Moving Picture World. Vol. 25, No. 1. July 3, 1915: 86. New York Dramatic Mirror. January 1, 1913: 28. New York Dramatic Mirror. February 4, 1914: 30. Oppenheim, James. “The Nickel Theatre.” The New York Times. September 15, 1907. Thissen, Judith. “Jewish Immigrant Audiences in New York City, 1905-1914.” In American Movie Audiences: From the Turn of the Century to the Early Sound Era, edited by Melvyn Stokes and Richard Maltby. London: BFI, 1999.

2

Alexander Korda and Peter Lorre: Central European Exile and the Illusion of Return Catherine Portuges

Exiles and refugees from Nazism have long been a touchstone for theories of collective and personal memory, homeland, nation, and diaspora. The presence of European filmmakers in Hollywood evokes a major cultural transfer in cinema history: their productions have prompted a corpus of scholarship investigating the nexus of film style, culture and politics, the effects of displacement, and the impact of European sensibilities on American cinema.1 The rise of National Socialism in the 1920s and 1930s that ushered in massive transformations in Europe also directly affected the cultural and social landscape of Southern California, for even before Adolf Hitler officially became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Central European intellectuals and artists had already begun fleeing their homelands.2 Under the influence of National Socialist ideology, the liberal artistic environment they had enjoyed during the Weimar Republic was foreclosed, artistic expression stifled and anyone considered insufficiently Aryan subjected to murderous persecution. Many of those who came to Los Angeles hoping to find opportunities in the Hollywood movie industry as screenwriters, actors, composers, editors, and directors had enjoyed successful professional lives in Europe that continued in the United States, while others, lacking contacts, daunted by language barriers and thwarted by vastly different artistic sensibilities, ultimately failed to make their place in American cultural life. Among the filmmakers who departed their countries of origin in successive waves, few sought or, for that matter, were able to resume filmmaking in their former homelands. A longed-for, fantasized, or idealized return can ultimately end in disappointment, while life in the adopted country can paradoxically prove more attractive or satisfying than what one rediscovers at “home.” More perplexing still, others’ perceptions of the émigré

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as displaced or in exile may contradict one’s sense of oneself as being “at home” in the host country. On a metaphorical level, the prospect of return to an imaginary, unaltered homeland, as well as the wish to recover memories of the past or the gratification of former successes, more often than not turns out to be illusory. In emotional and social terms, then, past and present commingle, as Edward Said suggests when conceptualizing the exile as one who “exists in a median state, neither completely at home with the new setting nor fully disencumbered of the old, beset with half-involvements and half-detachments, nostalgic and sentimental on one level, an adept mimic or a secret outcast on another.”3 Unlike other émigré artists, however, filmmakers confront the enormous challenges of working in—and dependence upon—a medium that requires colossal financing for every stage of design, production, post-production, distribution, and exhibition. Such a high barrier to entry exponentially increases the odds against favorable conditions for a successful return, notwithstanding the legacy of exclusion, expropriation, expulsion, and extermination in the former homeland where professional lives had once flourished. Whether émigrés, exiles, expatriates, refugees, nomads, or cosmopolitans, “pioneers” who emigrated between 1910 and 1931 or exiles from 1932 to 1945, these artists often experienced the deleterious effects of distance and isolation from their homelands, disconnected from the native languages so essential to their artistic practice.4 Indeed, an insufficient command of English was a primary factor in the isolation of many immigrants, compromising their social and professional integration into the American community. Exploring the sequellae of emigration on “outsider” artists, one may well ponder the extent to which exile might effectively be considered to represent a primarily destructive detachment from the sources of creativity that are so often linked, in the popular imagination at least, to a seamless connection to one’s origins and mother tongue. Conversely, however, might it not also be seen as a potential source of renewed creativity and self-interrogation, compelled by the need to reinvent oneself in an alien or unfamiliar cultural and geographical landscape?5 These considerations, 70 years after the end of World War II, prompt a reexamination of the trajectories of émigré film directors whose particular experiences also raise questions regarding the role of multi-directional influence and exchange in the art of filmmaking.6 Since its earliest years, what may today be called “transnational Hollywood” has been both a destination and a point of departure for international

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filmmakers: the impact of their cultural diversity and geographical displacements is discernible in the institutions of cinema. Consequently, the history of filmmaking has been marked by the contributions of multinational artists who traverse cultural, linguistic, financial and geographical borders of production, exhibition, and reception in the present as well. Revisiting the trajectories of Hollywood’s multiethnic practitioners in light of current debates concerning the threat posed by Hollywood’s hegemonic practices and products to the survival of “small” or “minor” cinemas may offer a more nuanced appreciation of their positioning as European—and, in this case, specifically Hungarian— Jews confronted by the critical necessity to navigate unfamiliar and often hostile terrain in order to survive as human beings and as artists. While some scholars have perceived the cynicism, paranoia, and ruthlessness manifested in the films of exiles and émigrés such as Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, or Fred Zinnemann as expressions of anxiety and despair engendered by the McCarthy era investigations, the threat of Cold War nuclear annihilation, or the oppressive atmosphere of postwar conformist culture, others attribute the ambience of vulnerability, persecution, and pervasive pessimism discernible, for instance, in film noir-inflected productions to the pervasive power of European cinematic styles such as German Expressionism.7 The deep cultural and psychological wounds inflicted on this cohort of directors as a consequence of their disenfranchisement and persecution as Jews, all too acutely aware of the dangerous plight of families and friends who remained in Europe, arguably aligned them with the darker sensibilities of film noir.8 Their own traumatic experiences had led many to become militant antifascists who envisioned the United States in general—and Hollywood in particular—as a bulwark for freedom. By reframing the experiences and contributions of Central European filmmakers such as Korda and Lorre that at times have been erroneously attributed to or elided within a pervasively German esthetic and history, or encompassed within more general studies of émigré filmmakers without regard to the cultural, intellectual, and ethno-religious identities that inform their lives, the specificities of exilic and postexilic circumstances may be sharpened.9

Ambivalence, anti-Semitism, and antifascism Seeking and finding sanctuary in the United States did not necessarily diminish the insecurities émigré directors may have represented cinematically, for  the

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anti-Semitism and nativism that had intensified during the Depression  was manifest in the reception, at times ambivalent and even hostile, they encountered under wartime circumstances. Conversely, the ambivalence Jewish émigré directors felt toward their Hollywood refuge may reasonably have emerged from the humiliating role reversals they experienced in the film industry. As highly assimilated and primarily nonobservant Central European Jews, they both resented and feared the studio executives who were perhaps somewhat less well-educated yet responsible for their personal, professional, and artistic fate. In wartime Hollywood, the US government designated a number of émigrés—particularly those with a record of left-wing politics and antifascist activities such as Bertold Brecht—as suspicious aliens, if not enemy agents, enforcing curfews, limiting their freedom of circulation, and even impounding their royalties from foreign films.10 In the postwar period, whatever connections or credentials the émigrés may have established as antifascists paradoxically loomed as grounds for blacklisting as communists or fellow travelers. Assimilation notwithstanding, many tended to socialize primarily with other exile intellectuals, artists, musicians, and writers who, despite finding a respite from censorship and persecution in Los Angeles, nonetheless confronted commercial limitations on their creativity and found their political loyalties questioned.11 From the perspective of the observing host community, assimilated Jews arriving from Hungary tended to be considered more Hungarian than Jewish with regard to their social lives and interactions. While the majority of exiles were Jewish, a relatively small group of Hungarian gentiles, politically liberal, radical, or leftist, also left the country, as did others who simply hoped to pursue more rewarding careers. Havens such as the salonnière Salka Viertel’s Sunday night cultural gatherings at her Maybery Road home in Santa Monica Canyon provided sites of common ground for a European Hollywood intelligentsia, at once assuaging their intense nostalgia and creating a simulacrum of the missing environment.12 Haunted by the countries they had left behind, many émigrés continued to experience daily anxiety over the fate of their families and friends still caught in Europe, while at the same time they were acutely aware of the suspicion and paranoia that often lurked beneath the tolerant façade of American friendliness and acceptance.13 The imposition of immigration quotas, a palpable sense of threat or rejection by their adoptive communities, persistent guilt and anxiety as survivors whose families were persecuted, and the shadowy awareness of personal and collective trauma bifurcated their

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identity as émigrés and exiles. It is not surprising, then, that many attempted to suppress or conceal the ethno-religious identities that formed their personal experience and artistic production. The litany of name changes among this group is striking, suggesting the destabilized cultural identities that marked their exilic and diasporic experience and the history of persecution and marginalization that preceded it. The transnational trajectories of two Austro-Hungarian Jews—Sir Alexander Korda (1883–1956) and Peter Lorre (1904–64)—offer an opportunity to retrace the daunting challenges faced by many others who fled Hitler’s Europe. Born a generation apart, Korda and Lorre nonetheless shared the fate of many of their Central European contemporaries such as Otto Preminger, Marlene Dietrich, and Billy Wilder whose exodus from Europe culminated variously in their integration or failure within the Hollywood studio system. Like that of fellow émigré Lewis Milestone (who was born in Kishinau, Bessarabia, emigrated to Hollywood and returned to Europe after being graylisted), Korda’s journey did not in fact end in Hollywood.14

Alexander Korda Born Sándor Kellner in Pusztatúrpasztó, a remote farming village on the Great Hungarian Plain during the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy, Alexander Korda became one of the world’s most important and charismatic movie moguls, with an oeuvre that encompassed such classics as The Four Feathers (dir. Zoltán Korda 1940) and The Third Man (dir. Carol Reed 1949). By the end of World War I he was in charge of Hungary’s largest film studio, an early success that was a dazzling harbinger of the career to follow. In the course of the 1919 revolution and ensuing counterrevolution, with the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in August 1919, Korda was briefly arrested, a victim of the counterrevolution’s anti-Semitism.15 Forced into exile, he set out on an odyssey of the world’s movie capitals. After stops in Vienna and Berlin, he arrived in Paris where, with Marcel Pagnol, he made Marius (1931), one of the first great sound classics of French cinema. In Hollywood, he worked closely with such legendary figures as Samuel Goldwyn, David O. Selznick, and Louis B. Mayer, while mentoring the early careers of Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Charles Laughton. Settling in Great Britain where he founded London Films in 1932, he quickly carved out a place for himself at the heart of British culture and society

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and became known for the glamour and sophistication of his productions, which rivaled those of Hollywood. Having failed to realize his ambitions in the Hollywood of the 1920s and early 1930s, Korda mounted a challenge to its epic productions by creating entertaining blockbusters in Britain. His success with The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) enabled him to found Denham Studios, known as “Hollywood on the Thames.” Korda’s emphasis on aristocratic and royal milieux reflected the tenor of the wartime refugee community in Britain, suggesting that, while the Frankfurt School, Brecht, and radical intellectuals flocked to the United States, Britain welcomed a cohort of so-called White Revolutionaries, émigrés devoted to aristocracy and the ancien régime.16 Perhaps not surprisingly, given his propensity for reinvention, the impact of anti-Semitism and cultural prejudice on Korda’s self-presentation and artistic production repays closer scrutiny, suggesting that he may well have been a more consistently and seriously engaged political filmmaker than is usually assumed.17 Taking account of the abiding interests of Korda’s early life and the films he produced and/or directed from 1933 to 1942 including The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), Things to Come (1936), or That Hamilton Woman (1941), recurrent themes of antifascism, British rearmament, a call to end US isolationism, and unwavering concern for the plight of the refugee are consistently discernible.18 Issues of cultural identity, the challenges of assimilation, national belonging, the complicated status, and perspective of the “outsider” played a primary role in his life as well as his work. His reputation as extravagant if creative tycoon is, I think, closely linked to his experience as an émigré and to his Jewish identity. Korda’s ideas about filmmaking also resonate uncannily with contemporary explorations of transnationality in his conception of what he called the “international film,” rooted in British national culture and identity and marketable throughout the world, as elaborated in his 1933 statement that: “To be fully international, a film must first be truly and intensely national.”19 Not unlike many of his counterparts, Korda ostensibly sought to downplay and perhaps even conceal his Jewish roots, adopting a personal biography that, while not overtly denying his background, did everything possible to elide and obfuscate it, allowing him to set about becoming more British than the Brits. Nonetheless, his private and professional worlds were facilitated and sustained by a deeply Jewish milieu. Ironically, although a state-of-the-art film studio in Budapest now bears his name, and despite his lifelong attachment to his family

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origins, Korda was never able to produce another film in Hungary following his exile in the 1920s, and ultimately considered himself to be an adoptive son of Great Britain. Among the group of Hungarian refugees who found work in England in the 1930s, Korda’s influence continued until his death in 1956. Assisted by his brothers Zoltán as director and Vincent as art director, as well as other expatriate Hungarians, London Films produced extraordinary work, often in collaboration with Hollywood.20 The Private Life of Henry VIII won an Academy Award nomination as best picture and an Oscar for its star, Charles Laughton. In 1942, Korda helped produce Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be, with his brother Vincent serving as art director. Alexander Korda’s penchant for bold experimentation encouraged the flowering of talent such as Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (The Red Shoes 1948) and provided early opportunities to David Lean and Carol Reed, no doubt leading to his distinction as the first British film producer to receive a knighthood. These achievements are arguably connected to Korda’s identity as a Jewish exile who, despite his flamboyant success, multilingual talent, and artistic originality, remained intimately connected to his roots in the Great Hungarian Plain, as he acknowledged: “When my friends and I were young in Hungary, we all dreamed of being poets. And what did we become? We became politicians and advertisement men and film producers.”21 Working simultaneously in Europe and the United States, the Korda brothers’ lives—and that of Alexander in particular—were interwoven with intellectual, social, and political circles on an international scale, a rare accomplishment among filmmakers of their era.

Peter Lorre Although its film community was still in its formative years when Korda began his career in 1911, Hungary would produce a surprisingly rich heritage of influential filmmakers within and beyond its borders. Born László Löwenstein in Rózsahegy, Hungary (now Slovakia) in June 1904, Peter Lorre trained with Jacob Moreno in Vienna’s Stegreiftheater and made his theatrical debut in Zurich in the early 1920s, leading to work as an itinerant actor in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. His cinematic career began in 1929 with a brief appearance alongside Ivan Mosjoukine in The White Devil.22 In 1930, after working with Berthold Brecht on the Berlin stage, Lorre was engaged by Fritz Lang for the role

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of the psychopathic child murderer in M, leading to further UFA productions. Following an itinerary similar to Korda’s, in 1933 Lorre emigrated first to Vienna, then Paris, where he made High and Low (1934) with G. W. Pabst. After a brief passage in London where he was cast in Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), he arrived in Hollywood in 1935, thanks to a contract with Columbia Pictures. To his regret, his bravura performance in M meant that he was immediately typecast by Hollywood as a threatening presence, most often a sexually menacing “foreigner.” Lorre worked in supporting roles until 1937 when he received the first of eight title roles as secret agent Mister Moto in Norman Foster’s detective series. In the 1940s he was a familiar presence in Hollywood genre films— thrillers, war stories, and espionage dramas. His round face, protruding eyes, and nasal voice won him roles in The Maltese Falcon (1940, dir. John Huston), Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz), The Cross of Lorraine (1943, dir. Tay Garnett, in which he played a Nazi officer), Jean Negulesco’s American film noir, The Mask of Dimitrios (1944), and The Beast with Five Fingers (1947, dir. Robert Florey). Lorre had arrived in America expecting to shed his screen image as a villain, making valiant if unavailing attempts to shed his signature accent; nonetheless, and in spite of his attraction to Southern California life and culture, Hollywood repeatedly cast him as an outsider who hinted at things better left unknown. Seeking greater control over his career, Lorre established his own production company. His unofficial graylisting by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, however, left him with little work. After an exile of nearly two decades, Lorre returned to Germany as the writer, director, and star of the postwar psychological drama Der Verlorene/The Lost One (1951).23 The film opens in a displaced persons’ (refugees and released prisoners) camp in Germany after the World War II armistice. Peter Lorre plays the role of Dr Karl Neumeister, a world-weary, chain-smoking, heavy-drinking, and hardworking physician in the camp, who is confronted with his sordid past when Nowak, a refugee, appears, posing as a chemist assigned to assist the doctor in dispensing inoculations. A flashback sequence foregrounds the doctor and the mysterious Nowak together in the canteen where it becomes clear that Neumeister’s real name is Karl Rothe and Nowak’s is Hösch, and that they met during the war when Dr  Rothe was implicated in secret experiments at the institute where Hösch served as a Gestapo agent. Colonel Winkler, the camp’s head of counterintelligence, informs Rothe that Hösch coerced a confession

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from Rothe’s fiancée, Inge (with whom he was having an affair) that she had been passing on information about his experiments to the Allies. In the boarding house quarters he shares with Inge and her mother, Rothe’s latent psychopathy becomes apparent as he is overcome by the urge to strangle Inge for her double betrayal. His homicidal impulses no longer restrained, Rothe becomes a serial killer of other unfaithful women. Trapped by guilt and unconsciously seeking punishment, he is forced to flee under assumed identities, presumably becoming suicidal. As a director, Lorre brings noir atmospherics and German Expressionist style to a “rubble film” landscape of ruins, all while giving one of his most intense and precise performances. This project was undertaken as an attempt to return home from the United States (where he had worked since the mid-1930s) with a film based on his own novel about a doctor whose feelings of guilt about his actions during the Third Reich only intensify as he tries to adapt to postwar Germany. For his directorial début, Lorre could hardly have chosen a more controversial subject nor a less propitious moment. Probing deeply in its quest for understanding of the hysterical madness that had overtaken his Europe in the previous decade, Lorre’s dark vision, filtered through an actor’s sensibility, met with rejection by audiences seeking escape from such evocations of Hitler and the Nazi nightmare. The German public recoiled from the film’s spectacle of the nation’s descent into fascism and postwar degradation symbolized by the

Figure 2.1  Peter Lorre in Der Verlorene (The Lost One), 1951.

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serial killer. Following its premiere in Frankfurt am Main on September 18, 1951, The Lost One played for only 10 days. Lorre’s directorial style was heavily influenced by his work in the prewar expressionist cinema, especially Fritz Lang’s M, based on the actual case of a serial killer. Of Lorre’s performance in The Lost One, Lang (whose own selfdenying Jewish identity is well documented)24 commented: “In a mise-en-scène characterized by half-light and shadow, the spectator viscerally senses the prota­ gonist’s growing, murderous rage in this compelling expressionist exploration based on the true story of a Nazi research scientist who ended up a murderer and suicide in a post-war refugee camp.”25 Despite its later recognition as a unique and even brilliantly original work, The Lost One was, perhaps not surprisingly, a commercial disaster for Lorre and put a definitive end to his filmmaking ambitions, compelling him to return to Hollywood to resume his acting career. His health deteriorated, forcing him to limit the pace of his filmmaking, yet during this period he made Beat the Devil (dir. John Huston 1952) with Humphrey Bogart and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (dir. Richard Fleischer 1954) with Kirk Douglas, in addition to working with Boris Karloff, Béla Lugosi, and Vincent Price. Disillusioned, his career in decline, struggling with drug addiction, romantic turmoil and insecurity, depressive and addicted to morphine, Lorre was found dead at the age of 60 of a pulmonary embolism in his Hollywood home on March 23, 1964. Many of Lorre’s memorable Hollywood roles embodied the grotesque, the perverse, the pathological, the outsider. Associated more broadly with foreignness if not specifically with Jewish identity, his performance of these roles evokes the profound ambiguity with which Hollywood characterized the “other” and the “foreign.” Today, his work may be read in part as a critique of Hollywood’s disavowal of its own founders’ ethnic, religious, and cultural origins and identities. The beneficiary of that rare afterlife that can sometimes occur in cinema, Peter Lorre’s oeuvre is enjoying a renaissance through retrospectives and restorations, thereby introducing to new generations this talented artist whose performances remain vibrant despite having suffered suppression and marginalization. In the view of Austrian Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek: “He is the one who speaks from inside each one of us and makes us aware of the fact that we too have been torn out of any context and degraded—degraded merely by our being here in the first place. In this sense, Lorre always played the role of someone who was degraded, but someone about whom we can have only an inkling as to what that person might once have been.”26

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Eager to build a company in Germany after the war, Bertold Brecht, whose own unhappy stint in Hollywood is well-documented, begged his friend Peter Lorre to join him in East Berlin.27 Considering Lorre to be the finest reader of prose and poetry in the German language, he was planning a production of Hamlet and a performance of The Good Soldier Schweik, from which the young Brecht had drawn in evolving his own outwardly cynical attitude and verbal style. The collaboration they both apparently ardently desired would never come to pass. After the war, Brecht wrote the following poem, “To The Actor P. L. In Exile:” Listen, we’re calling you back/ Once driven out/ now you should return. From the land / where milk and honey once flowed/ you were driven out. You are being called back/to the country which has been destroyed. / And nothing more/ have we to offer you, other than that you are needed./ Poor or rich/ healthy or infirm/ forget everything / and come.28

During his Hollywood exile where ironically Lorre had often been required to play the role of Nazis, his friendship with Brecht grew deeper, and he, too, was eventually suspected of harboring Communist sympathies. Although the two never worked together in Europe, The Lost One may be read as a story of guilt and atonement, providing a reading of still unexplored connections between the Nazi era and its postwar aftermath. The film’s failure at the box office ultimately led to Lorre’s return to Hollywood. The tragic aspects of emigration, and the reasons why émigré artists such as Peter Lorre and Alexander Korda changed continents, are diverse and varied. Some, such as German-born Max Ophüls (né Maximillian Oppenheimer) believed “. . . we don’t belong here. We belong in Europe.”29 Upon his own brief postwar return to Europe, Austro-Hungarian-born director Billy Wilder (1906–2002) wondered: “Where was home?”30 It is worth noting in conclusion that Korda became substantially more integrated into British cultural life than did Lorre in his American context. One might wonder to what extent working respectively in the film cultures of London and Hollywood—Korda as producer, Lorre as actor—in tandem with their quite different personalities, accounted in part for these disparate trajectories, linked though they may have been by their common fate as Austro-Hungarian Jews. These narratives of exile and the concomitant illusion of return on the part of a transient twentiethcentury generation evoke the difficulties and crises of living in transit, working in multiple languages and under different political systems, suggesting the

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extent to which filmmaking itself is a journey with significant obstacles and frustrations, one that challenges the idea of the national as a privileged site for the formation of cultural identity and gestures toward a globalized twenty-first century.31

Notes 1 See for example Cornelius Schnauber, German-speaking Artists in Hollywood: Emigration Between 1910 and 1945 (Bonn: Inter Nationes, 1996). 2 “The social upheavals that followed the First World War drove astonishing numbers of people in all directions. Russian and Ukrainian refugees escaped Bolshevism in Belgrade; Poles were relocated into reemerging Poland; Hungarians escaped from Romania and the newly established states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Many people went on substantial and extended study tours to Germany, much as others had done before the war. Migrations were not limited to Jews suffering from the political and educational consequences of the White Terror in Hungary. Yet Jewish migrations were a definitive pattern of the 1920s, when the ‘Numerus Clausus’ act of XXV: 1920 excluded many from college. A significant, though smaller, group of non-Jews also left Hungary at the same time. Motivated by anti-liberal politics, poverty, or curiosity, gentiles of mixed convictions and confessions hit the road and tried their luck in Paris, Berlin, or Hollywood. . . . Though the Hungarian government realized the potential loss the country would suffer from intellectual exile, most émigrés resisted official endeavors to lure them back to Hungary and chose to stay in Germany until Hitler took over as Chancellor in January 1933.” Tibor Frank, “Approaches to Interwar Hungarian Migrations, 1919–1945.” Hungarian Historical Review 3/4 (2012): 337. 3 Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual (New York: Pantheon, 1994), 36. 4 Some critics such as Peter Pulzer prefer the terms “emigrants” or “refugees” to “exiles,” finding the latter terms to harbor a possible hint of volition. Peter Pulzer, “The Emigrant in Britain.” In Second Chance: Two Centuries of German-speaking Jews in the United Kingdom,” edited by Werner E. Mosse (Tubingen: Mohr, 1991), 3–10. 5 See Susan Rubin Suleiman (ed.), Exile and Creativity: Signposts, Travelers, Outsiders, Backward Glances (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998). 6 I am grateful to my colleagues Harlow Robinson and Jonathan Skolnik for their collaboration on a related topic for the panel “Émigré Directors in Hollywood: Case Studies in (Mutual) Influence,” Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference, Boston, March 21–25, 2012.

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7 See for example Thomas Elsaesser, European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005); and Lutz Koepenick, The Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hitler and Hollywood (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2002). 8 For a close reading of this genre and its connections with émigré filmmakers, see Vincent Brook, Driven to Darkness: Jewish Emigre Directors and the Rise of Film Noir (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010). 9 The historian Tibor Frank discusses the particular challenges of assimilation faced by a generation of exceptionally gifted Hungarian refugees (primarily scientists and artists) in the 1930s and 1940s: Many refugee Hungarians were mistaken by American agencies and individuals as German refugees. Born in the last decades of the AustroHungarian Monarchy, Jewish-Hungarian professionals often spoke German as a mother tongue and had attended some of the best schools of the Monarchy. Many of them had studied and received their degrees in Germany and been employed by German universities and other institutions. Members of the large group of Hungarian-Jewish scholars and scientists with German training were often invisible to immigration authorities because they were lumped together with German and GermanJewish scholars fleeing Nazi Germany. Tibor Frank, “Approaches to Interwar Hungarian Migrations, 1919-1945.” Hungarian Historical Review 1, 3–4 (2012): 347. 10 “Exiled to Paradise: German Intellectuals in Los Angeles, 1933-1950.” Doheny Memorial Library Exhibition, University of Southern California, March 15– May 29, 1992. A number of émigrés were limited to circulation within a 5-mile radius of their homes, according to exhibition documents issued by internal security agencies. 11 The Austrian Cultural Forum (New York City) focused on this phenomenon with “Habsburgs Go Hollywood,” a film and discussion series focusing on Hollywood versions of Austria’s imperial past, suggesting ways in which films of the 1930s and 1940s such as Josef von Sternberg’s The King Steps Out (1936) and Billy Wilder’s The Emperor Waltz (1948) served as commentary on the political situation in Europe and on the rise of National Socialism in Austria and Germany in particular. http://www.acfny.org/transforum/transforum-3/film-habsburgs-gohollywood/ 12 An actress and screenwriter, sister of the composer Eduard Steuermann, Salka Viertel was born Salomea Steuermann in Sambor, then part of the AustroHungarian Dual Monarchy, and was active in aiding fellow Central Europeans

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13 14

15 16

17

18 19 20

21 22

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trapped in Europe and engaging in liberal causes at the expense of her career (see her memoir, The Kindness of Strangers: A Theatrical Life—Vienna, Berlin Hollywood, 1969). Some writers were able to get help obtaining visas and temporary employment through the European Film Fund, a private relief effort that offered 1-year studio contracts to endangered authors in Europe, established by Paul Kohner, a Hollywood agent and producer. Review of Vincent Brook, Driven to Darkness: Jewish Emigré Directors and the Rise of Film Noir, http://www.case.edu/artsci/jdst/reviews/Driven.htm Tim Bergfelder, “Cultural Exchange, Exile and the Boundaries of National Cinema.” In Destination London: German-Speaking Emigrés and British Cinema, 1925-1950, edited by Tim Bergfelder and Christian Carnelli (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008). Charles Drazin, Korda: Britain’s Movie Mogul (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 38. John Trumpbour, Selling Hollywood to the World: U.S. and European Struggles for Mastery of the Global Film Industry, 1920-1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Behind the public façade of flamboyant film impresario, and thanks to his gift for chameleon-like adaptation, Korda played a hidden and largely undocumented role as one of Britain’s most important intelligence agents. A staunch ally of Winston Churchill, he used his studios, London Films, as a front for the ultra-secret “Z” organization, and later played a key role in Britain’s vital propaganda battle to bring the United States into World War II. See Drazin (2011), 214. See Greg Walker, “The roots of Sir Alexander Korda: Myths of Identity and the International Film.” Patterns of Prejudice 37, 1 (March 2003): 3–25. Nathan Abrams, “Hidden: Jewish Film in the United Kingdom, Past and Present.” Journal of European Popular Culture 1, 1 (2010): 53–68. By the late 1930s, Korda’s extravagances and overexpansion had led to a “boom and bust cycle” that left him bankrupt. Yet despite such financial excesses, he was able to return to Hollywood to produce The Thief of Bagdad in 1940, a spectacular Technicolor fantasy inspired by The Arabian Nights and directed by Michael Powell. The film won Academy Awards for cinematography, art direction (Vincent Korda), and special effects, with an Oscar-nominated score by the Hungarian composer, Miklós Rózsa. See Drazin (2011). Michael Korda, Charmed Lives: A Family Romance (New York: Random House, 1979). Lorre had actually made his screen debut in 1927, as a dentist’s patient in the Austrian film Die verschwundene Frau/The Woman Who Disappeared (1929), recently located in Brussels and restored 75 years after it was made.

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23 At the start of his exile, Lorre, referencing his role in M, had wired his European friends: “There’s not enough room in Germany for two murderers,” echoing his fellow exile Billy Wilder’s words: “It was through Hitler that I became aware that I was a Jew.” According to Lutzi Korngold, widow of the émigré composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, “We thought of ourselves as Viennese; Hitler made us Jewish,” interviewed by Karen Thomas in Cinema’s Exiles (PBS documentary, 2008) and cited in Brook (2010), 222. 24 See Brook (2010), 88. 25 Cited in Stephen D. Youngkin, The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2005), 425. 26 Cited in “Peter Lorre: A Stranger in Paradise,” program of the Austrian Film Museum Retrospective of 40 films in observance of the 100th anniversary of the filmmaker’s birth (May–June 2013). To coincide with this project, the Film Museum is publishing a new book on Lorre’s life and work: Peter Lorre. Ein Fremder im Paradies (Peter Lorre. A Stranger in Paradise), Volume 3 of the joint book series published by the Film Museum and Zsolnay-Verlag. The book, which has been edited by Michael Omasta, Brigitte Mayr and Elisabeth Streit, contains original essays by writers such as Ilse Aichinger, Elfriede Jelinek, Peter Nau, Enno Patalas, Christian Petzold, and Robert Schindel; historic texts by Bertolt Brecht, Graham Greene and Lorre himself; results of significant new research; and finally, a multitude of photos and illustrations. From June 2 to 4, SYNEMA, the Theater Museum and the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies has programmed a symposium entitled “Peter Lorre, Actor”. http://www.filmmuseum. at/jart/prj3/filmmuseum/main.jart?rel=en&reserve-mode=active&contentid=1219068743272&schienen_id=200005 27 Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956), arguably the most significant German playwright of the twentieth century, suffered in his US exile due in large part to his theatrical philosophy and political views. 28 Gert Gemünden, “Brecht in Hollywood: Hangmen Also Die and the Anti-Nazi Film.” TDR: The Drama Review 43, 4 (Winter 1999): 65–76. 29 Curtis Bernhardt and Mary Kiersch. Curtis Bernhardt: A Directors Guild of America Oral History (Metuchen, NJ: Directors Guild of America and Scarecrow Press, 1986). 30 In Billy Wilder Speaks (documentary film directed by Gisela Grischow and Volker Schlöndorff, 2006, 71 min.). 31 The illusion of return may be read as perhaps analogous to the ultimately tragic illusion harbored by many Jews who remained in Hungary convinced that as patriots, war veterans, or members of prominent families, they would be exempt from persecution.

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Works cited Bergfelder, Tim. “Cultural Exchange, Exile and the Boundaries of National Cinema.” In Destination London: German-Speaking Emigrés and British Cinema, 1925-1950, edited by Tim Bergfelder and Christian Carnelli. New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2012, 1–23. Brook, Vincent. Driven to Darkness: Jewish Émigré Directors and the Rise of Film Noir. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009. Drazin, Charles. Korda: Britain’s Movie Mogul. London: I.B. Tauris, 2011. Elsaesser, Thomas. European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005. “Exiled to Paradise: German Intellectuals in Los Angeles, 1933-1950.” Doheny Memorial Library Exhibition, University of Southern California, March 15–May 29, 1992. Frank, Tibor. Double Exile: Migrations of Jewish-Hungarian Professionals through Germany to the United States, 1919–1945. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009. Friedrich, Otto. City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s. 1st edn. New York: HarperCollins, 2013. Gemünden, Gerd and Anton Kaes (eds). “Film and Exile.” New German Critique 89 (summer 2003): 170–89. “Hungarians in Hollywood.” Film Series sponsored by the Hungarian Cultural Institute, New York, Extremely Hungary: 75 years of Hungarian Filmmaking, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=1534 Koepenick, Lutz. The Dark Mirror: German Cinema Between Hitler and Hollywood. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2002. Korda, Michael. Charmed Lives: A Family Romance. New York: Random House, 1979. Omasta, Michael, Brigitte Mayr and Elisabeth Streit. Peter Lorre. Ein Fremder im Paradies/Peter Lorre. A Stranger in Paradise, vol. 3. Vienna: Film Museum and Zsolnay-Verlag, 2013. Portuges, Catherine. “Accenting L.A.: Central Europeans in Diasporan Hollywood in the 1940s.” In Borders, Exiles, Diasporas, edited by E. Barkan and M. Shelton. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, rep. in Globalization: Critical Concepts in Sociology (6-Vols), edited by Roland Robertson and Kathleen White. London: Routledge, 2002/12, 47–57. —. “Hollywood on the Danube: Hungarian Filmmakers in a Transnational Context.” AHEA e-journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association 5 (2012): 1–6, http.ahea.net/e-journal/volume-5-2012. Said, Edward. Out of Place: A Memoir. New York: Knopf, 1999. Schnauber, Cornelius. German-Speaking Artists in Hollywood: Emigration Between 1910 and 1945. Bonn: Inter Nationes, 1996.

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Suleiman, Susan Rubin (ed.). Signposts, Travelers, Outsiders, Backward Glances. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998. Urwand, Ben. The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, October 2013. Viertel, Salka. The Kindness of Strangers: A Theatrical Life–Vienna, Berlin, Hollywood. Montreal: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, 1969, digitized June 15, 2010. Youngkin, Stephen D. The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2011.

3

From Blacklists to Black Films: The Hollywood Radicals Return Home Rebecca Prime

Introduction In most narratives of American cinema, Hollywood figures as a microcosm of the proverbial national melting pot, a land of opportunity, and a place of refuge for the (mainly) European immigrants and exiles who made their way there during the first part of the last century. Less well known is the story of Hollywood’s emigrants, the directors, screenwriters, and actors who, facing persecution as a result of the Hollywood blacklist, instead left America to make films in the more hospitable political climates of Mexico and Europe.1 Yet despite the success blacklisted filmmakers such as Jules Dassin and Joseph Losey achieved in their overseas careers, their desire to return “home” and make films again in the United States remained undiminished. By the mid-1960s, this dream of return was a real possibility for many of the American exiles. The blacklist, while still erratically enforced, was more often perceived as irrelevant by a film industry more concerned with its financial future and connecting with the country’s alienated youth. At the same time as Hollywood was struggling to reinvent itself, European art films were enjoying their heyday at the American box office. The perception of European cinema as a rival and a model for the emergent New Hollywood worked in favor of the exiles, whose “European” cachet facilitated their reentry into the American film industry much as their Hollywood experience had initially opened doors for them in Europe. In 1968, Paramount hired Jules Dassin to direct his first American film since being blacklisted in the early 1950s. That film was Up Tight, a retelling of John Ford’s The Informer (1935) transposed to the Cleveland ghetto and featuring an

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all-black cast. Five years later, the blacklisted director John Berry likewise chose to spot­light the struggles of the black community in his return to American filmmaking with the romantic comedy, Claudine (1974). Joseph Losey, who among the exiles had the greatest success in reinventing himself as a “European” director, also longed to make one final American film: a love story between a young black woman and an older white doctor set against the backdrop of a race riot.2 This chapter queries the emphasis on race in the cinematic homecomings of these blacklisted American filmmakers. Given their careful avoidance of the political during the long years in which the American film industry was closed to them, why would these directors select such controversial subject matter for their shots at reclaiming their Hollywood careers? I contend that a partial answer lies in the tradition of social cinema shared by their generation of 1940s Hollywood radicals. A discussion of the production histories and reception of Up Tight and Claudine reveals the ways in which Dassin and Berry attempted to reconfigure this tradition to meet the circumstances of the post-Civil Rights era, as well as underscores the degree to which the industrial context of film production in America had changed since the 1940s. In keeping with this collection’s emphasis on transnational cinema as not only a contemporary development, but one with significant historical precedents, this chapter also asks in what ways Dassin and Berry’s cinematic homecomings can be considered “transnational” and explores some of the challenges and paradoxes of postexilic return through the lens of Dassin’s and Berry’s experiences. After years spent working in different modes of production, how do exiled filmmakers readapt to the industrial context of their home countries? Given the opportunity to once again address an audience of compatriots, what issues do they choose to prioritize in their films of return? How do their years of exile affect their domestic critical reception? Not only were Dassin and Berry working in an industrial context that differed greatly from the artisanal mode of production to which they had become accustomed in France, but in choosing to work with black casts on black stories, they were in some ways recreating the sense of estrangement that characterized their early years of exile. In recovering the history of these two significant yet largely unexamined films by Jules Dassin and John Berry, this chapter also engages with questions of historiography and genre. Although Up Tight and Claudine concern “black” topics—the future of the Civil Rights movement following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in the case of Up Tight and the struggles of a black single

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mother in Harlem in Claudine—they have been largely neglected by scholars of African-American film.3 This oversight can be at least partially explained by the historiography of black cinema, which has not emphasized Hollywood’s blackthemed productions of the Civil Rights era. Addressing this lacuna, Christopher Sieving suggests that the focus on “authenticity” in definitions of black cinema foreclosed many of the black-themed but white-produced films of this period from serious consideration.4 This chapter queries the role that Dassin and Berry’s background as political dissidents and Hollywood outsiders played in both the contemporary reception and scholarly treatment of Up Tight and Claudine. Did their exilic status help them to transcend the discourse of racial authenticity or, conversely, did it contribute to their perceived unsuitability to investigate such a highly charged domestic topic as race relations? With regard to genre, this chapter considers Up Tight and Claudine in the context of the 1960s “message movie” and the 1970s blaxploitation film, but also in relation to other, less obvious generic frameworks such as film noir and Italian neorealism that inform the depiction of race in these films and reveal their ties to 1940s social cinema. While the generic and historical backdrop of black cinema is important to our understanding of these films, it is also necessary to consider the transnational dimensions of their production by exploring the influence of Dassin’s and Berry’s years in France on both their political perspectives and approach to filmmaking. I suggest that, in taking on one of America’s most incendiary social problems of the 1960s and 1970s, Dassin and Berry were forcefully expressing their desire to reclaim their identity as Americans, but that their films were ironically, and inevitably, shaped by their transnational experience.

Hollywood’s radicals During the 1940s, Jules Dassin and John Berry were part of a very active, interconnected group of politically progressive filmmakers in Hollywood. Both were briefly members of the Communist Party, but were more likely to be found at cocktail parties than cell group meetings. They had both been involved in the left-wing theater movement in New York in the 1930s and arrived in Hollywood with strongly conflicted feelings about working in the movies. They soon chafed at the restrictions of the studio system, Dassin at one point going on strike for over a year to protest the material he was being given to direct under the terms of his contract with MGM.

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Neither Dassin nor Berry was targeted in the first round of the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ investigations into Communism in Hollywood in 1947. In the short interlude before the second, more comprehen­ sive, round of investigations in 1951, both filmmakers made important contributions to the brief outpouring of socially conscious film noirs that emphasized themes relating to work, class, money, and sometimes race.5 Both were named as communists in the 1951 hearings and fled subpoenas. By 1952, they had joined the growing colony of blacklisted filmmakers in Paris. After a few difficult years, their professional situation improved dramatically, thanks largely to the French perception of film noir as an American genre. Dassin’s Hollywood noirs were much admired in France and earned him the job of directing Du Rififi chez les hommes/Rififi (1955), which won the prize for best director at Cannes that year. Dassin was subsequently embraced by the French film industry, but rejected by its critics when he strayed from the noir genre in subsequent films such as Celui qui doit mourir/He Who Must Die (1957) and La Loi/The Law (1959). The huge box office success of his comedy, Never On Sunday (1960), reestablished his reputation in the United States, but not as a director of tough crime thrillers such as The Naked City (1948); instead, Dassin was reincarnated as a director of European art films. John Berry’s professional rehabilitation came thanks to his parodies of B-movie noirs starring the American actor Eddie Constantine as a hard-drinking, hard-boiled Yank in France. Berry’s European career quickly faltered, however, following the failure of his 1958 slave-ship drama Tamango (discussed later in this chapter). He worked in television and the theater in London and New York, and made a few more movies in France in the 1960s. However, by the time he returned to America in 1974, he was in desperate need of new opportunities. From these different positions—one of relative security and one with nothing to lose—Dassin and Berry decided to mark their US homecomings by taking on a topic they felt to be vitally important to their country’s future. Racial equality had been among the key social issues supported by Hollywood’s radical community through its political activism and to a lesser degree through its films, suggesting that the socially conscious noirs of the 1940s provide an important lens through which Up Tight and Claudine should be understood.6 Dassin presents a direct continuum between his work in Hollywood and Up Tight, telling the International Herald Tribune that when he “directed his last film in the United States—Thieves Highway in 1949—he promised himself that when he returned the race problem would be his next subject.”7

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“An Up Tight Time” Up Tight is a remake of The Informer, John Ford’s 1935 Anglo-Irish War drama (and itself an adaptation of Liam O’Flaherty’s 1925 novel), with Cleveland filling in for Dublin and the Black Power movement for the IRA. The film begins with documentary footage (shot by Dassin on location in Atlanta) of the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. We then transition to the footage as seen on television by Tank, a dim-witted but earnest unemployed steel worker. Devastated by King’s assassination, Tank gets drunk and is unable to assist his best friend, Johnny, in a planned robbery. Later, when Tank hears that Johnny approved the decision by B.G., the local Black Panther leader, to expel him from the group on account of his drinking, Tank’s heartbreak leads him to betray Johnny to the police, who have put a $1,000 bounty on his head for a murder that occurred during the robbery. Johnny is subsequently killed by the police, and Tank gives himself away by his extravagant spending of the bounty money. After being “tried” and sentenced to death by the Black Panthers, Tank escapes and spends the night hiding out in a hotel with his girlfriend Laurie, to whom he confesses his inability to understand his actions. In the morning, he returns to the steel yards to await his fate; shot through the chest by one of his former comrades, he falls from a platform into a pile of iron ore. What is perhaps not fully evident from this plot summary is how extremely radical Up Tight was. Apart from a few documentaries, the nascent Black Power movement had yet to be addressed on film.8 The film’s dialogue discusses race with a candor that is still surprising, and the depiction of intergenerational conflict within the black community suggests a social complexity lacking in Hollywood films such as In the Heat of the Night (dir. Norman Jewison) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (dir. Stanley Kramer), both made just 1 year earlier in 1967.9 How did a film like this come to be made, and by a Hollywood studio no less?10 In the spring of 1968, Dassin was in New York with his wife, the Greek actress Melina Mercouri, to raise support for the opposition movement to Greece’s military junta. While there, Dassin was approached by Paramount to discuss the possibility of working together. Disappointed by Paramount’s suggestion of a remake of The Informer, Dassin countered by suggesting they use the story as a vehicle to explore black militancy. That Paramount agreed speaks to the precarious state of the Hollywood film industry and the collapse of the traditional studio system. Paramount had been bought by Gulf & Western

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2 years earlier and was focusing on edgier material designed to attract a younger and more diverse audience. As one contemporary commentator noted, “The businessmen who invest money in films have decided that there are enough angry black people and scared white people to fill a lot of theaters.”11 In this regard, Paramount’s decision was entirely in keeping with contemporary moves by other studios to address the ideas associated with the black power movement; by the spring of 1968, Warners’, Fox, and Columbia all had projects slated that explored themes of black nationalism, autonomy, and violent resistance. By presenting black characters in predominantly black communities, these narratives were a stark departure from the Hollywood “message films” of the earlier part of the decade, which typically dramatized the struggles of a single black character (usually played by Sidney Poitier) in an otherwise all-white world.12 Yet it is also telling that Paramount chose to address such controversial subject matter by remaking a Studio-era classic with a Hollywood-trained white director at the helm, suggesting that its appetite for risk had its limits. Dassin wrote a first draft of the screenplay but doubted his ability to accurately depict the black experience. To increase the authenticity of the film’s dialogue and atmosphere, he enlisted the help of the actress Ruby Dee and the actor, writer, and Civil Rights activist Julian Mayfield, who would also play the role of Tank. Among the first changes Dee and Mayfield made was to replace Dassin’s title, The Betrayal, with Up Tight, a term they felt to be more descriptive of the black experience the film aimed to convey; it was an “up tight time,” Dee explained. Dassin recalled having problems understanding the language Dee and Mayfield used in their rewrites, much as he had 15 years earlier in Paris when he made Rififi, his first French-language film. Finally back in the States, Dassin was again an outsider. Dassin had hoped to film on the streets of Harlem, where he’d grown up, but the production was unable to win the support of the NYPD and relocated to Cleveland. It was not to prove a fortunate choice. The city had been torn by race riots the previous summer and Dassin remembered being “very much resented by the community, especially because we couldn’t get black people for our crew.”13 Dassin managed to get through 6 weeks of filming on location in the inner-city neighborhood of Hough before tensions erupted between the locals hired as extras and the police. With police protection withdrawn, the crew refused to work and the production relocated to Paramount’s Hollywood sound stages. Ironically, this contemporary adaptation of The Informer had its own informants. Even prior to the start of filming in Cleveland, white crew members

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attempted to sabotage the production by alerting the FBI to the movie’s subject matter. In his testimony to the FBI, the production manager described the film as a “filthy story” and stated his concern that “young Negro hoodlums will get ideas from the film as to how to steal guns, shoot watchmen, organize riots, and rebel against whites.”14 Other crew members expressed their opposition to the film using the McCarthy-era rhetoric of anti-Americanism. In a letter addressed directly to J. Edgar Hoover, one crew member wrote: “A lot of the crew have walked off the picture because they say they love their country too much to work on it. . . . I would like my name to be kept secret, because I need my job, but I love my country and I am willing to fight in every way I can to keep it free from those who wish to take it over.”15 Another report submitted by a disgruntled crew member invoked Dassin’s background to charge that the film was Communist-inspired and calculated to stir racial unrest; it even went so far as to accuse Paramount of paying off local black power groups, who then used the money to buy guns.16 The 1950s fear of a Communist takeover was conflated with the late 1960s fear of black revolution in the discourse surrounding the FBI’s investigation of Up Tight. Despite its troubled production, advance press on Up Tight forecast a box office blockbuster on account of its content and assumed appeal to black audiences. Preview screenings for select groups of black activists and college students elicited enthusiastic reactions, and reviews in the black press were generally positive.17 Reaction among the mainstream press was predictably more mixed given the film’s negative and stereotyped depiction of its white characters. The New York Times praised the film’s willingness to “jump into the center of a social phenomenon that has been carefully avoided by almost everybody but a few documentary filmmakers and the national magazines.”18 Other reviews, however, didn’t feel that the audacity of the subject matter compensated for its schematic treatment of the story, and criticized Dassin for replacing Ford’s emphasis on the psychology of informing with a sociological approach.19 A recurring theme was Dassin’s inability to fully grasp the complexity of the black struggle, a shortcoming some reviewers connected to Dassin’s personal history of exile.20 Nor did Up Tight’s controversial subject matter translate into the box office success predicted for it, even with black audiences. Discouraged by what the film’s failure would mean not only for his Hollywood career, but for the future of black-themed films, Dassin returned to Europe and never made another film in the States.21

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For Dassin, the experience of making Up Tight had the paradoxical effect of affirming his identity as both an expatriate filmmaker and an American. On the one hand, he attributes the film’s failure to his inability to take the measure of the national pulse after his years abroad.22 On the other hand, being back in America and making a film on a subject in which he felt personally invested confirmed his feeling of being “deeply American.”23 The degree to which Dassin’s expatriate status has contributed to Up Tight’s subsequent neglect is hard to say, but most of the key texts on black cinema either make no mention of Up Tight or refer to it dismissively in passing.24 Much as Dassin found himself to be an outsider to both the black community and the rapidly shifting culture of America in the 1960s, Up Tight remains an outsider in the canon of black American cinema.

Claudine Just as the fact of Up Tight’s production speaks to the changes that had occurred in Hollywood since the time of the blacklist, John Berry’s Claudine was a film that could not have been made in an earlier era. A small independent production made in part with government financing, its mode of production had more in common with the types of films Berry had worked on in France than in Hollywood.25 Its production also addressed the shortage of black film industry professionals that had become an increasingly obvious problem with the rise of the blaxploitation cycle in the early 1970s. The tremendous success of Melvin van Peebles’ independently produced Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasss Song in 1971 quickly convinced Hollywood of the box-office potential of black-themed exploitation films with their highly violent and sexualized black characters. A predictable result was the crop of blaxploitation films made by white directors using all-white crews.26 To address the problem of minority representation both in front of and behind the camera, a group that included the actors Ossie Davis and James Earl Jones and the producer Hannah Weinstein formed the Third World Cinema Corporation in 1973. In addition to providing industry training for minority students, the company would produce minority-themed films; Claudine was the first of five productions scheduled for release by 20th Century-Fox.27 Berry was in fact Third World’s third choice to direct Claudine. After Ossie Davis and Melvin van Peebles turned down the project, Hannah Weinstein approached Berry, an old friend from Paris (although not blacklisted herself,

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Weinstein spent the 1950s and 1960s in Europe, where she employed many blacklisted writers on her hit television series, The Adventures of Robin Hood). Filming on location in Harlem, Claudine encountered few of the difficulties Up Tight had experienced. Tensions with the community were no doubt alleviated by the fact the majority of production jobs were held by blacks or Hispanics and included six recent graduates of Third World’s trainee program.28 Nonetheless, Berry found his suitability to direct the film subject to scrutiny. The New York Times suggested that “Some members of the black community feel that Berry was not fit to fashion a film about black family life. In their view, black film and black theater must not only be about blacks, but by blacks as well.” Berry’s response was humorous but also suggested his frustration with the dogmatism of such attitudes: “If that’s the case, man, you should get only kings and queens to do ‘Hamlet.’ I hope I’m not going to be whitelisted now.” Claudine concerns the difficult romance between the film’s title character, a single mother of six children played by Diahann Carroll, and Roop, a garbage collector played by James Earl Jones. Their complicated family life provides much of the film’s drama—and social commentary. Convinced that Roop will prove to be as worthless as their mother’s previous boyfriends, Claudine’s children treat him with suspicion. Charlene, Claudine’s 16-year-old daughter, outrages her mother when she becomes pregnant. Charles, Claudine’s 18-year old son, joins a group of black militants and gets a vasectomy to eliminate the possibility of becoming a future dead-beat dad. Claudine and Roop initially resist marriage for fear of losing the welfare benefits upon which Claudine relies. When they do marry, their ceremony is interrupted by the police, who are looking for Charles on account of his political activities. A police paddy wagon serves as the honeymoon getaway vehicle, as Claudine and Roop join Charles in a show of their new family’s solidarity. While the small scale of Claudine’s domestic drama provoked comparisons with TV movies—as did the presence of Diahann Carroll, best known to audiences as Julia, the nurse and single mother in the eponymous television show (1968– 71)—both the black and mainstream press understood the film’s significance as a response to the blaxploitation genre’s unrealistic depiction of black American life. Sharon Brown, a Third-World graduate employed as the film’s assistant editor, described Claudine’s appeal: “I think a lot of blacks will be able to relate to this film. . . . Most black films have . . . either dope pushers or detectives.”29 While black audiences had responded strongly to the welcome novelty of seeing black protagonists who were empowered and triumphant, the highly generic nature

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of blaxploitation films contributed to a limited range of characterizations. Films with black “superheroes” may have made for fun escapism and good box office, but they had little bearing on the everyday concerns of the African-American community. Despite (or perhaps because of) the departure it offered from the blaxploi­ tation formula, Claudine was commercially and critically successful, proving popular with audiences and earning Diahann Carroll an Oscar nomination for best actress. Yet Berry was unable to transform this success into a second career in America. He attributed his failure to a bad agent and poor choices, but his age (he was in his mid-fifties) and association with a past era of Hollywood filmmaking undoubtedly put him at a disadvantage in the New Hollywood of the 1970s. Berry remained in the States for a few more years, making a couple of mediocre films and TV movies before returning to Paris, where he lived until his death in 1999. Claudine remained in circulation first through television and now through DVD. In 1998, Ebony included it in a list of the top black films of all time, with celebrities such as Debi Allen and Whitney Houston naming it among their favorite films. Its relative prominence in black popular culture, however, is not matched by its stature within academic film studies. Although discussions of the film by scholars of black cinema are generally positive, their brevity suggests that Claudine is ripe for reevaluation.30

Themes, style, and genre Claudine is a very different film from Up Tight in terms of ambition and approach, but both films demonstrate thematic ties to the social cinema of the 1940s. Up Tight uses its location shooting to critique urban decay. Tank’s girlfriend, Laurie, lives in a derelict neighborhood, the Black Panthers hold their meetings in an abandoned bowling alley, and Tank falls to his death in the now-defunct steel yards that made him, like so many in his community, obsolete. Like Claudine, Up Tight points to problems in welfare’s implementation; Laurie, also a single mother, is shown desperately trying to hide Tank from a visiting social worker for fear of losing her benefits. While both films were criticized (notably by the mainstream, largely white press) for perpetuating pernicious stereotypes of promiscuous black women on welfare and irresponsible black men, Dassin’s and Berry’s desire to present the welfare system as something broken but nonetheless

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essential reflects their political awakening during the Depression and identity as New Deal liberals. The fact that Up Tight and Claudine were released shortly after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s landmark 1965 report, “The Negro Family: the Case for National Action” suggests another, more contemporary context in which these films may have been viewed. Up Tight and Claudine also show their 1940s roots in terms of genre. With its black cast, urban setting, and soul soundtrack by Booker T. and the MGs, Up Tight has been described as foreshadowing blaxploitation aesthetics.31 Likewise, as we have seen, Claudine was conceived and received as a reaction to the blaxploitation genre. I would like to suggest that to fully understand their significance, we should consider these films in relation to other generic frameworks, namely film noir and Italian neorealism. With its rainy, neon-lit streets, fallen women, and vision of compromised masculinity, Up Tight draws heavily upon the conventions and iconography of classic film noir, albeit in color. As he had done in On the Waterfront, cinematographer Boris Kaufman found beauty in Cleveland’s urban wasteland, while his use of chiaroscuoro (much of the film was shot at night) employs the visual vocabulary of film noir. Veteran production designer Alexander Trauner

Figure 3.1  Noir lighting highlights Tank’s despair. Up Tight, 1968.

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likewise brought a noir sensibility to the production that extended back to his work on the French poetic realist films of the 1930s; for example, Tank’s final hideout in a miserable hotel room directly evokes Jean Gabin’s lonely vigil in Le jour se lève (1939). Perhaps most strikingly, the film’s final shots of Tank’s death directly recall the similarly dramatic ending Dassin employs in The Naked City and Night and the City. For most of his career in France, Dassin had been strenuously avoiding the noir genre that he associated with his days of servitude in the Hollywood studio system. He also objected to the French film industry’s typecasting—the idea that “Americans do genre films”—and had repeatedly tried to prove his chops as a director of European art films. Yet for his US homecoming, he gravitated toward the conventions of the genre that had established his career 20 years earlier. His stylistic choices were no doubt partially inspired by Up Tight’s source material: the notion of a man on the run—from those he betrayed but most of all from himself—across a desolate urban landscape must have resonated with his earlier noirs, and most closely with Night and the City. Yet Up Tight’s noir roots seem invisible to Dassin, whose focus in interviews was solely on the film’s radical content. Likewise, very few critical discussions of the film relate it to the cycle of black neo-noirs that emerged in the early 1970s.32 While Up Tight’s use of noir style suggests the degree to which Dassin’s experience of the blacklist continued to inform his filmmaking, Claudine reveals that Berry never abandoned the neorealist ambitions his career had given him few opportunities to explore. In interviews, he repeatedly compared the film to From this Day Forward, his 1946 drama about the struggles of a young, workingclass couple in New York, which he saw as having more in common with Italian neorealism than with Hollywood films of the period.33 Both From this Day Forward and Claudine were shot on the streets of New York and reflect the influence of neorealism in their cluttered interiors and emphasis on the small dramas of everyday life. In his vision for the film, Berry may also have been influenced by his experience directing a number of episodes of East Side/West Side, a highly acclaimed but short-lived television series about a social worker in New York that explored the problems of the inner city. Of course, Up Tight and Claudine differ from the noirs and neorealist films of the 1940s in one extremely obvious way: their black casts. Apart from the occasional appearance as a musician or maid, black actors are largely absent from film noir. Most noirs are staged in artificially homogenous milieus, in that the noir city would in fact have been an increasingly black city due to the

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growing African-American urban population during the postwar period.34 For this reason, scholars have seen in film noir’s “whiteness” what Eric Lott refers to as an “index of racial fears.”35 At first glance, the Italian neorealist films of the 1940s seem more progressive in their attitudes toward race, as evidenced in Rossellini’s sympathetic depiction of Joe, the American GI in Paisan. However, the career of John Kitzmiller, an African-American actor who appeared in numerous Italian films during the 1940s and 1950s, suggests that Italian postwar cinema ultimately reinforced a racial hierarchy that marked blacks as either child-like or savage.36 The treatment of race in film noir and Italian neorealism has also been linked to the context of the European colonial experience in ways that help illuminate the transnational influence on Dassin and Berry’s insertion of race into these genres. The French enthusiasm for the “whiteness” of film noir has been seen as a response to the country’s charged racial politics and anxiety about immigration during the process of decolonization and the Algerian crisis.37 Similarly, the absence of blackness in Italian cinema has been related by scholars to “the (conscious or unconscious) deletion of colonial crimes and the missing debate on Italian imperialist expansion.”38 Given that Dassin and Berry were living in France during the period of postwar decolonization, it is worthwhile to consider the degree to which their experience of European racial discourse affected their perception of America’s race problem. On the one hand, Paris in the 1950s retained its reputation as a haven for African-Americans seeking relief from America’s oppressive racial segregation and was home to many prominent artists, including the novelists Richard Wright and James Baldwin. Although contact between the blacklisted and AfricanAmerican communities was for the most part limited, Berry was close with Wright, a friendship dating back to Berry’s appearance in Orson Welles’ 1941 stage adaptation of Native Son.39 Yet although French intellectuals were openly critical of the United States for its treatment of African-Americans, the case of Berry’s film Tamango reveals France’s own racial blind spots. When the success of his detective film spoofs allowed him more autonomy in his choice of subjects, Berry chose to make Tamango, a historical drama about a shipboard slave revolt based on a novella by Prosper Merimée. Designed as a vehicle for Dorothy Dandridge, who had come to Europe in search of less racially circumscribed roles, Tamango was a big-budget “super production,” filmed in color in both French and English. The film’s production was plagued with problems that reflected the country’s

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charged racial dynamics. “We had trouble finding actors who were black, not café au lait, to play the slaves,” recalled the assistant director Jacques Nahum, whose imperfect solution was to hire soldiers from France’s African colonies stationed at a nearby army base. According to Nahum, the soldiers had great difficulty accepting their roles; “they objected to having oil applied to give luster to their skin, to wearing leg irons, even to eating peanuts. ‘We’re not monkeys!’ they would cry.”40 A commercial disaster dismissed by François Truffaut as a “monument to boredom,” Tamango was nonetheless considered too incendiary to be shown in France’s volatile colonies, where it was banned. Berry had notably altered the racial dynamics of Merimée’s original in ways that emphasized the slaves’ sense of solidarity, dignity, and heroic martyrdom; for instance, the title character Tamango is no longer a slave-trading chief but a captive himself; the slaves’ uprising ends in their massacre, not their self-destruction. While some scholars have seen these changes as a reflection of Berry’s support for racial equality and the Civil Rights movement in America, Algeria’s ongoing war of independence with France provided perhaps a more immediate context for the film’s anticolonialist message.41 The situation in Algeria also played a role in the film that relaunched Jules Dassin’s career: Du Rififi chez les hommes. In 1954, Dassin was asked to adapt a pulpy crime novel by Auguste le Breton in which the “bad guys” were of North African descent. The producer considered this an impolitic choice considering the tense relations between France and Algeria (the Algerian War of Independence would begin a few months later, in November 1954) and approached Dassin because he could make the “bad guys” American. Dassin came up with yet another possibility and made the “bad guys” French, much to the producer’s astonishment. As these examples illustrate, Dassin and Berry would have had a distinct awareness of the inconsistencies in France’s racial discourse, which defined itself in opposition to the United States while overlooking its own colonial legacy. At the same time, Dassin and Berry would no doubt have identified with the French intellectual and leftist milieu that championed the African-American cause. In addition to these attitudes, they brought back with them to the States an approach to filmmaking that reflected their years in France. Of his directorial approach in Claudine, Berry observed that, “I set up certain scenes the way I did because of the work I had done in France, because of that influence.”42 Dassin’s dedication to location shooting likewise reflected his European experience, at

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least in the opinion of the FBI. According to one informer’s account, Dassin “was used to shooting scenes in Europe where he would go out on the street and steal every shot. In Cleveland, he did a lot of street shooting which, in Hollywood, would have been done on a set with less interference.”43 Likewise, the police were brought in to discourage Dassin from filming on Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row once the production relocated to Hollywood. Although these reports justify their opposition by accusing Dassin of stirring racial tension by filming on the streets, another memo suggests that geopolitics was also a factor. Expressing the concern that the “picture will hurt the United States” at a time when the Vietnam War was already negatively impacting the country’s image overseas, the FBI echoes the argument that was made by against the employment of blacklisted filmmakers in Europe in the 1950s.44

Conclusion Finally, the blacklist and its afterlife provide yet another context through which we should understand Dassin’s and Berry’s cinematic homecomings. With regard to Up Tight, Dassin’s choice of title—The Betrayal—is closer to Ford’s original but also suggests a thematic proximity with the blacklist and the trauma of naming names common to Dassin’s later noirs.45 Viewed in the context of Dassin’s politics, Up Tight’s depiction of black militants, with their secretive cells and strict rules, seems to offer a retrospective commentary on Dassin’s Communist Party membership, and very likely his awareness of the Algerian resistance as had recently been depicted in Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers. The blacklist also may help explain the issue of authenticity raised by Up Tight and Claudine. A common subtext in the response to both films was the question of “who gets to tell black stories?” Given the historical absence and stereotypical depictions of blacks by Hollywood, the politics of black representation were understandably foregrounded. It is interesting, however, that the black press often either made no mention or deemphasized the fact of Dassin and Berry being white, preferring instead to characterize them as “famous international directors.”46 Dassin and Berry’s background as political outsiders may have suggested a commonality with the black community’s own history of marginalization and the current climate of political resistance, between the blacklist and black nationalism.

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In an interview from 1971, Jules Dassin offered this assessment of his career and the challenges of working in a cultural context not his own: “I had to pretend, and I still am pretending, that I identify with European culture. I’ve done films in Greece, in France, in Italy and so on, about subjects of those countries. They’re not mine, and I’m being ersatz about it, and I know it. I should be working, I should be making films about Harlem, about things and places I know. My problem is that of an artist separated from his sources. I’d have been a better film director had I been able to continue my work in the United States.”47 Having been branded as “un-American” according to the rhetoric of the 1950s, Dassin and Berry chose to assert their identity as American filmmakers through expressing their transnational vision and continued concern about the prospects for a more just American society.

Notes 1 For the history of these political exiles in Mexico, see Rebecca M. Schreiber, Cold War Exiles in Mexico: U.S. Dissidents and the Culture of Critical Resistance (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2008). For the European experiences of the American blacklisted, see Rebecca Prime, Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2014). 2 Joseph Losey, “Dialogue on Film.” American Film 6, 2 (November 1980): 60. 3 In Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mamies, and Bucks (1973), Donald Bogle refers to Up Tight as “a major disappointment” but does not discuss the film; Daniel Leab’s From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures (1975) includes short discussions of Up Tight and Claudine, both of which Leab considers ultimately unsuccessful. Thomas Cripps’ Making Movies Black refers briefly to Up Tight as the end of the era of the Hollywood “message movie” (1993: 252); neither Ed Guerrero’s Framing Blackness (1993) nor Mark A. Reid’s Redefining Black Film (1993) mention either Up Tight or Claudine; nor do the essays included in Black American Cinema (ed. Manthia Diawara 1993). 4 See Christopher Sieving’s Soul Searching: Black-Themed Cinema From the March on Washington to the Rise of Blaxploitation (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011), 3–9. 5 See Thom Andersen, “‘Red Hollywood,’ and ‘Afterword’.” In “Un-American” Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era, edited by Frank Krutnik, Steve Neale, Brian Neve, and Peter Stanfield (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007), 257 and 265.

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6 Just as the Hollywood Left had raised awareness of Los Angeles’ racial problems through their organized response to the Sleepy Lagoon Case (in which 24 Mexican-American youths were indicted for the murder of José Diaz) in 1942 and the Zoot Suit riots (in which small altercations between Mexican-Americans and white sailors escalated into a full-on attack on the youths of the barrio by thousands of whites) in 1943, films such as Losey’s The Lawless (1950) and the underground blacklisted production Salt of the Earth (dir. Herbert Biberman 1954) called attention to the Chicano experience. Christopher Sieving notes that this legacy assisted the blacklisted (whether exiled or not) in relaunching their careers when American producers began showing interest in black-themed movies in the 1960s and early 1970s. Among the films written or directed during this period by those affected by the blacklist are Odds Against Tomorrow (scr. Abraham Polonsky 1959) and Slaves (scr./dir. Herbert Biberman 1969). See Sieving (2011), 125. 7 Mary Blume, “Dassin Film Tackles Race Problem.” International Herald Tribune, n.d., Margaret Herrick clipping file. 8 Vincent Canby, “Jules Dassin Updates ‘The Informer’ in ‘Up Tight’.” The New York Times, December 19, 1968. 9 Christopher Sieving notes how the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968 made the “assimilationist narratives starring Sidney Poitier”—the only black-themed Hollywood productions to consistently attract a “sizable and racially balanced audience” in the 1960s—seem immediately outdated. See Sieving (2011), 9, 86–7. 10 Stanley Kaufman, in his review of Up Tight, suggests that this question is more interesting than the film itself. See “An American Informer.” New Republic, December 21, 1968. 11 John Skow, “Uptight!.” Saturday Evening Post, n.d.: 37. 12 Sieving (2011), 86–7. 13 Blume, Ibid. The production had five black crew members; Mildred Wilson, director’s assistant; Tom Hurt, production assistant; Reuben Watt, assistant director; Cassius Weathersby, production manager, and Ernie Phillips, set painter. FBI Memo May 22, 1969; Skow, 76; Sieving (2011), 137. 14 Jules Dassin, FBI file, FOIPA No. 1126133-00, memo dated April 26, 1968. 15 Cited in Sieving (2011), 140. 16 Despite concerted efforts, the FBI was unable to substantiate this claim. See Sieving (2011), 142. 17 Cathy Aldridge, “‘Uptight’s’ Fine Cast in Black Experience.” New York Amsterdam News, December 29, 1968; John A. Saunders, Jr., “Writer Calls ‘Uptight’ an Honest Effort to Depict Life in Ghetto.” Philadelphia Tribune, April 5, 1969; Joseph Turner, “‘Up Tight’ is a Winner.” Cleveland Call and Post, January 4, 1969.

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18 Vincent Canby, “Jules Dassin Updates ‘The Informer’ in ‘Up Tight’.” New York Times, December 19, 1968. 19 John J. O’Conner, “Militants on a Pedestal.” Wall Street Journal, December 19, 1998. 20 William Roth, Film Quarterly 22, 3 (Spring 1969): 64. 21 Vernon Scott, Herald-Examiner, July 10, 1968. 22 Dan Georgakas and Petros Anastasopoulos, “A Dream of Passion: An Interview with Jules Dassin.” Cinéaste IX, 1 (Fall 1978): 23. 23 Gordon Gow, “Style and Instinct.” Films and Filming 16, 4 (February 1970): 22–6. 24 See note 2 for examples. 25 Claudine was financed in part through a $400,000 grant Third World Cinema Corp. received through the Federal Model Cities program, an element of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty aimed at urban renewal and fostering a new generation of black urban leaders. Paul Gardner, “18 Minority Film Trainees Graduate.” The New York Times, August 23, 1973. 26 Examples include Black Caesar (dir. Larry Cohen 1973), The Black Six (dir. Matt Cimber 1973), Cleopatra Jones (dir. Jack Starrett 1973), Coffy (dir. Jack Hill 1973), Shaft in Africa (dir. John Guillermin 1973), and Foxy Brown (dir. Jack Hill 1974). 27 Gary Arnold, Washington Post, May 17, 1974. 28 Donald Bogle, Blacks in American Films and Television: An Encyclopedia (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1988), 56. 29 Gardner (1973). 30 Thomas Cripps mentions it in passing as one of a number of films of “range and integrity” that offered an alternative to the blaxploitation cycle while Donald Bogle attributes the film’s lasting appeal to its strong sense of character. Donald Bogle, Blacks in American Films and Television: An Encyclopedia (1988: 54–6); Thomas Cripps, Black Film as Genre (1978: 54). 31 Michael Gonzales, Ebony. January 2012. 32 The exception is William Covey, “The Genre Don’t Know Where it Came From: African-American Neo-Noir Since the 1960s.” Journal of Film and Video 55, 2–3 (Summer–Fall 2003): 59–72. 33 Bertrand Tavernier, Amis Américains: entretiens avec les grands auteurs d’Hollywood (Lyons: Institut Lumière/Actes Sud, 1993), 596. 34 James Naremore, More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), 236. 35 Eric Lott, “The Whiteness of Film Noir.” American Literary History 9, 3 (Autumn 1997): 542–66; Julian Murphet, “Film Noir and the Racial Unconscious.” Screen 39, 1 (spring 1998): 23. 36 Saverio Giovacchini, “Living in Peace After the Massacre: Neorealism, Colonialism, and Race.” In Global Neorealism: The Transnational History of a Film

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37 38 39

40 41 42 43 44 45

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Style, edited by Saverio Giovacchini and Robert Sklar (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013). Murphet (1998), 23. Angelo del Boco, cited in Giovacchini (2013), 142. Berry also appreciated France’s “anti-raciste” tradition that allowed him to continue the affair he’d begun in Hollywood with the singer Eartha Kitt more openly. John Berry, “A Voix Nue.” FranceCulture 2, May 20, 1999. Jacques Nahum, interview with author, February 2, 2007. Christopher L. Miller, The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 227. John Berry, “A Voix Nue.” FranceCulture 2, May 21, 1999. Jules Dassin, FBI file, FOIPA No. 1126133-00, memo dated June 4, 1969, 3. Jules Dassin, FBI file, FOIPA No. 1126133-00, memo dated May 22, 1969. In Rififi, Dassin plays Cesare, the Italian safe-cracker who is killed for betraying his friends. In writing the role, he drew upon his experience of the blacklist; “I was just thinking of all my friends who at that moment, during the McCarthy era, betrayed other friends.” Jules Dassin, “Interview.” Rififi DVD, The Criterion Collection, 2001. Charles Barnes, “John Berry, Dir. of ‘Claudine’.” Philadelphia Tribune, May 7, 1974. Arthur Friendly, “Jules Dassin: Victim of the ‘Great American Red Hunt,” The Washington Post, April 4, 1971: 41. Here Dassin takes a very different stance with regard to his exile than that expressed a year earlier on French television, suggesting that he may be tailoring his comments to his American audience along with his undoubtedly mixed feelings on the subject.

Works cited Andersen, Thom. “Red Hollywood” and “Afterword.” In“Un-American” Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era, edited by Frank Krutnik, Steve Neale, Brian Neve, and Peter Stanfield. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007, 225–76. Bogle, Donald. Blacks in American Films and Television: An Encyclopedia. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1988, 56. —. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mamies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Black American Films. New York: Viking, 1973. Covey, William. “The Genre Don’t Know Where it Came From: African-American Neo-Noir Since the 1960s.” Journal of Film and Video 55, 2–3 (Summer–Fall 2003): 59–72. Cripps, Thomas. Black Film as Genre. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1979.

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—. The Hollywood Message Movie from World War II to the Civil Rights Era. New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1993. Diawara, Manthia. Black American Cinema. New York: Routledge, 1993. Giovacchini, Saverio. “Living in Peace After the Massacre: Neorealism, Colonialism, and Race.” In Global Neorealism: The Transnational History of a Film Style, edited by Saverio Giovacchini and Robert Sklar. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013, 141–62. Guerrero, Ed. Framing Blackness: The African-American Image in Film. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1993. Leab, Daniel. From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1975. Losey, Joseph. “Dialogue on Film.” American Film 6, 2 (November 1980): 60. Lott, Eric. “The Whiteness of Film Noir.” American Literary History 9, 3 (autumn 1997): 542–66. Miller, Christopher L. The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007. Murphet, Julian. “Film Noir and the Racial Unconscious.” Screen 39, 1 (spring 1998): 23. Naremore, James. More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Prime, Rebecca. Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2014. Reid, Mark A. Redefining Black Film. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993. Schreiber, Rebecca M. Cold War Exiles in Mexico: U.S. Dissidents and the Culture of Critical Resistance. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. Sieving, Christopher. Soul Searching: Black-Themed Cinema From the March on Washington to the Rise of Blaxploitation. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011). Tavernier, Bertrand. Amis Américains: Entretiens avec les grands auteurs d’Hollywood. Lyons: Institut Lumière/Actes Sud, 1993.

Part Two

Nostalgic Visions, Imagined Homelands

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4

Between Longing and Belonging: Diasporic Return in Contemporary South Korean Cinema We Jung Yi

To return to a home that no longer exists The return journey to a lost home is a perennial theme of Korea’s national imaginaries. From Japanese colonization (1910–45) and the Korean War (1950–3) to the decades of rapid urbanization that accompanied the intense industrialization under military dictatorship, the experiences of displacement and migration have affected the psychic landscape of South Koreans. In recent Korean films, the long-standing desire for homecoming among the uprooted is situated within an increasingly complex geopolitical context. Specifically a new social atmosphere fostered by economic progress and democratic advances has been imbricated with the transformation of the nation-state under the conditions of globalization. The waning of the earlier metanarratives of the nation, which shaped both state-led development and anti-state movements during the Cold War period, promoted a transition in the field of cultural production. Breaking from the social realism of the Korean New Wave in the 1980s, South Korean cinema in the 1990s and onward has become the central site in which new identities and communities are being imagined. The emergence of film as the predominant mode of representation in postauthoritarian South Korea is intimately tied to the web of the nation-state and global capitalism; because of its increasing transnationalism, film makes a fitting centerpiece for the government’s nationalist strategy for globalization known as seghyehwa. It is against this backdrop that the South Korean media has turned its attention to stories of the Korean diaspora. Those who were marginalized in the discourse of national history have become acknowledged as distinctive

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members, often referred to under the name of dongpo (fellow countrymen), of a globalizing Korea. The South’s imagination of dongpo, initially employed in South Korea’s nationalist discourse to signify unity with their compatriots in the North, has thus been extended in the age of transnationalism to incorporate ethnic Korean populations dispersed across various locations. Certainly, rising interest among contemporary South Koreans about the lives of dongpo echoes the worldwide trend of nostalgia as explored in the culture industries; the Korean diaspora’s quest for home, dramatized in popular cultural productions, is interlaced with a longing for lost origins. But this affective yearning for a community, at once manifested and mediated by Koreans abroad, cannot be fully understood without taking into account the historical context within which those who were “cut off from their roots, their land, their past” are perceived as restoring “their belonging in and to a place, a people, and a heritage” through a homecoming experience.1 To historicize and contextualize the return of dongpo in the globalized setting of contemporary Korean cinema, this chapter provides a critical review of two recent South Korean films that address Korean diasporic subjects’ journeys of self-exploration: Our School (Uri Hakgyo, Myung-jun Kim, dir., 2007), an independent documentary about Zainichi (ethnic Koreans residing in Japan) students attending a Korean school in Hokkaido, and My Father (Mai Padeo, Dong-hyuk Hwang, dir., 2007), a commercial film about a Korean adoptee’s return in search of his birth parents.2 Although they use contrasting styles to thematize seemingly disparate cases, both films present a defamiliarized image of the divided Koreas that is rarely recalled in the daily life of the nation. At the same time, the arduous border crossings of the diasporic subjects in the two films recuperate a sense of belonging to an originary homeland to which they can return only through an imaginary identification. In juxtaposing the different, but also similar, longings of a Korean adoptee and Zainichi students, I thus delve into the complex mechanism of the affective community on and across the screen. While this community is imagined through these itinerant, diasporic subjects, it in effect extends an invitation to South Korean audiences who have—beneath the tide of a postmodern tendency that is skeptical of metanarratives—yearned for another form of communal space (whether real or imagined). To that end, I shed light on the multivalent mimicry of these “in-between” speakers by attending to (1) the slippages entailed by the returned diaspora’s incomplete mastery of their “mother tongue” and (2) the alterations of what used to serve as ideological state apparatuses, such as family and school,

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in diasporic communities. Through an examination of their translational and transnational performances, I illustrate how these “new” representations of the Korean diaspora in South Korean popular media negotiate with the former framework of national identification. I also explore to what extent such different imaginings of diasporic subjects, affiliated with postcolonial strategies in the era of transnationalism, serve to disrupt putatively homogeneous Koreanness by revealing its uneven and multifaceted dimensions.

After the division of the homeland: Diasporic nationalism in Our School Given the invisibility of Zainichi in South Korea, especially those without South Korean citizenship, it is noteworthy that Our School succeeded in drawing applause from both critics and audiences. After winning the Best Korean Documentary Award at the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival, the film attracted more than 70,000 viewers over 4 months, which is a “remarkable popular success within the realm of independent cinema.”3 The movie, subtitled, “Hopeful Documentary of Hokkaido Chosun School Students,” did not merely strike a chord with ordinary South Koreans through its projection of a utopian community. It also won rave reviews because it offered an alternative vision of education and Korea’s forgotten colonial past, as suggested in these viewer responses: “I wished that we could also have schools like the ones in the movie”; “My grandfather was forced into a labor camp in 1943 during the period of Japanese colonization. The movie was a good opportunity for me to think about my grandfather.”4 In animating a lost history so that it becomes a living memory and a source of reflection, the lessons offered by Our School are not easily subsumed within banal images of the past or aspirations for a better future. The documentary further conjures up the uncanny reality of the two Koreas through its culmination in the Zainichi students’ excursion to their divided homeland. In leading South Korean audiences to the other side of the DMZ, a place usually forbidden to South Koreans, the return journey of the Korean diaspora prompts the inversion of the relationship between exiles and non-exiles. Not unlike their dongpo in exile, Koreans at home come to feel “an urgent need to reconstitute their broken lives,” while the diasporic subjects, acquiring a mobility that is not granted to native Koreans on both sides, are reconfigured as the ones who can help bridge the rupture of their origin.5 The in-between status of the Korean diaspora is now

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endowed with new potential that can be appropriated by those who stay within the conventional boundaries of the nation. Indeed, the documentary casts a refreshing light on Zainichi chōsenjin, who used to be embodied as either vulnerable sufferers under the oppression of the host society or naïve subjects indoctrinated with the propaganda of Chongryeon (the North Korea-affiliated General Association of Korean Residents in Japan).6 Focusing on the daily lives of Chosun School’s third- and fourth-generation Zainichi students, the film devotes itself first to showing diverse activities such as a choir competition, a soccer game, and a school festival. When the camera lens zooms in on their classroom, it does not reveal stressed-out students facing the pressure of college applications; this is quite unlike the ordinary landscape of South Korean high schools, which are a microcosm of the competitive capitalist nation. Nevertheless, the students in Our School do have their own—perhaps even more urgent—problem: they cannot and must not forget their minority position as Chosun people in Japan, even when they sing a song or play sports. In the choir competition, the students must sing a Korean folk song unfamiliar to them because the ultimate goal is to express their gratitude to their parents and other compatriots. Similarly, they play soccer “not to win but to give courage and a sense of (Chosun) national identity to dongpo living in Japan.” The case of the school’s weight lifting team is all the more tragic precisely because it is one of the best in Japan. However, even if they make their way to Japan’s national contest, they are not eligible for any financial support from the local Hokkaido Prefecture, which does not recognize the team as an official member of the Japanese league because of the students’ identification as Koreans in Japan. All these disadvantages provide the fundamental basis for the Zainichi school’s promotion of a strong sense of Korean identity. For those who go through “institutionalized oppression” and “internal borders” in their daily life, to reenact their sense of an uprooted origin works as a mode of resistance or a “process of healing” for their trauma.7 By adhering to the cultural traditions of their homeland, they attempt to overcome collective (post)colonial trauma, which is often triggered or exacerbated by the structural discrimination against Zainichi in Japanese society. As one student states in the film, “It’s a different matter to preserve your national identity in South Korea, your homeland . . . [For] jaeil [Zainichi] dongpo in Japan, if you don’t demonstrate it, it will fade away. . . . That’s why we have to wear traditional costumes, and stick to the Korean language.” However, speaking only Korean and wearing Korean-style uniforms—the audio-visual markers of Korean ethnicity—remain touchy issues even among

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those students united under resistant nationalism. Because of the genderspecificity of the Korean uniform, in Hokkaido’s freezing weather, it is harder for female students to abide by the rule that “students must wear the uniform neatly,” that is, girls are required by custom to wear skirts. The school’s “Korean 100%” campaign is even more challenging, particularly for transfer students, because if one speaks in Japanese, his or her group will not be able to meet the goal of the campaign. In order to help transfer students, their classmates translate all Korean textbooks into Japanese and apply a leniency policy to the new students. Thanks to the support of her fellow students, transfer student Ryosil declares that she was able to recover her sense of Chosun identity. Ryosil’s Koreanization, with the wholehearted assistance of community members, demonstrates the way in which the denial of ethnic origin is replaced by its affirmation. However, her case provokes more questions than answers concerning how this essentialist strategy against discriminatory power can avoid reproducing the binary logic of identity and difference. The dramatic “resolution” of Ryosil’s troubles through the collective mastery of her Korean language transforms the identity crisis of an individual Zainichi into an internal issue for the dongpo community, while the ongoing conflict between Japanese and Zainichi in Japanese society is bracketed, even if unwillingly. Though the students learn about “our history” and “our language” through their school education, they have little chance to talk about their history with other Koreans or Japanese in either language as long as they stay inside “our school.” By alienating itself from the external world, the Chosun school seems to suggest that the descendants of jaeil dongpo have only two options: either Koreanization within the school or Japanization outside of it. There are two non-Zainichi characters in Our School: South Korean filmmaker Myung-jun Kim and Japanese soccer coach Fujishiro. However, their exceptional presence at the Chosun School hardly breaks the binary between the Japanese and the Chosun. Fujishiro’s “assimilation” to the school contributes to the romanticization of a Zainichi community isolated from the outside as exemplified in his claim that, “I saw a totally different world from the world I was living in.” Kim’s sense of estrangement from the children due to his difficulty in understanding their conversation in Japanese, furthermore, unveils the underside of the national language campaign. However committed to learning their “mother tongue” as a way of instilling a sense of Chosun identity, they cannot simply cast off their “native language,” that is, Japanese, or undo the other parts of their hybrid identity. As one student confesses, “To be honest, I am more comfortable in Japanese.”

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The South Korean director Myung-jun Kim plays multiple roles in Our School. As a sympathetic narrator who transmits the story of these “brave” Koreans outside of the Korean peninsula to the “insiders” within the territory, he depicts this unique community as neither backward nor blindly ideological, but rather, as spirited and humanistic, if not idealistic. In this affective community of dongpo, neither the physical distances nor political antagonisms matter much, because both are transcended through a sense of national (be)longing. It is thus not coincidental that the director discloses the school’s relationship with North Korea, including North Korea’s continuous financial support, only after an empathic portrayal of the members of the school and a painstaking delineation of their ordinary lives.8 It should be noted that the director’s role as a mediator between South Korea and Chosun dongpo in Japan is shifted to the students when they take a field trip to North Korea, though the mediation is between the two Koreas this time. Because the itinerary requires a complicated procedure, even for the Zainichi teenagers with North Korean passports, it is not an easy trip. For the South Korean director, however, a meeting with dongpo in North Korea is nearly impossible. As he comes to face the insistent reality of national division, as well as the irreducible gap that exists between himself and the Zainichi community, he says deploringly, “As a South Korean citizen, I can visit the Mt. Geumgang Special Tour Region [in North Korea], but I am not allowed to go to Wonsan Port by a ferry from Japan [with the students].” Again, the film addresses the political issue of Korea’s division in very personal terms. In meeting and communicating with South Korean people, including the director, who lived together with them for 3 years, the Chosun students begin to use the term kankoku [South Korea], a forbidden word before, instead of South Chosun. A student says, “I have met many South Koreans and am learning more about South Korea. I have started to feel South Korea as it is. I feel very close to them.” Still, their understanding of kankoku is no deeper than that of Japanese outside of the school, as implicated in their cursory impressions that are mostly associated with images from the 2002 World Cup or Bae Yong-jun (aka Yon sama: the most popular South Korean actor in Japan). By contrast, North Korea is felt to be more “real,” although the students have had only a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a handful of dongpo living there. After the students return from the trip to their fatherland, the director perceives a subtle change: “Their hearts are still in their fatherland . . . they can’t come out of it.” What has captured their minds? Showing the scenes filmed by one of the

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students, the director at first admits that those pictures of Pyongyang streets and historic sites are now familiar landscapes to South Koreans, especially after the first inter-Korean summit, held in Pyongyang in June of 2000. He elaborates, however, that what they saw with their own eyes in North Korea was not “the superficies such as poverty and the buildings,” as in the Japanese media, but “its people with whom they can talk, hold hands, and share what they have in mind.” But who are these “nice” and “caring” people? Are they truehearted comrades or well-trained guides? The name of their guide is not remembered by a student, even though she genuinely misses the “abai” (“father” in Pyongyang dialect) comrade, who was always with them and took good care of them. The dongpo they met in their fatherland signify the ideal figure of the people in their memory, in which North Koreans always exist as the national collective, remaining uncontaminated by the filth of the outside—the modern, capitalist world. As a student says, “I felt as if I was cleansed. . . . I felt like they washed the dirt off my mind.” And another student adds, “Having a lot of money isn’t happiness. . . . The North Korean comrades know what true happiness is.” The students’ fascination with North Koreans as “real people” corresponds with South Korean audiences’ attitudes toward the Chosun students in the film: utopian as much as nostalgic. There is a structural twist, however. The Chosun students, who are initially situated as the objects of the South Korean audiences’ gaze, turn into the agents of mediation, inviting South Korean viewers to see the North from their “in-between” perspective. The interplay between exiles and nationals in Our School does not reach a dialectical sublation of inside and outside, but rather produces ambivalences, if not contradictions. The Zainichi students’ desire to resemble the “authentic” Chosun people is stricken by a slippage, since their “mimicry” makes them “almost the same but not quite,” to use the words provided by postcolonial critic Homi Bhabha.9 Their efforts to acquire a true national identity through their identification with North Koreans always undergo a process of (mis)translation. For example, a student loses her “mother” tongue in the middle of an interview in Korean, while, ironically, she claims her successful internalization of Chosun identity by meeting her dongpo in her fatherland: “I thought I was a Chosun person in Japan. But only after I visited my fatherland could I come to know the true meaning of being a Chosun person . . . [stutter] What is ‘hokori’ [pride] in Korean?” After the South Korean director translates it into Korean, she proudly enunciates, “I’m proud of being Korean.” Yet, when the director asks in return, “What made you so proud?” she falters with an awkward smile, and finally answers, “I don’t know.”

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Though such stutters or uncertainties of the diasporic subject could have introduced a liminal space between fixed identities, the film ultimately rebuilds a dongpo community united by familial solidarity. Right before the graduation of the senior class, their homeroom teacher, one of the two teacher-couples who married during the filming period, announces that his family is expecting a baby, and his students cheer in joy, calling him “father.” This is not an unexpected conclusion because the film, from the beginning, highlights the students’ collective life in school, which is almost like their second home. In the dormitory, all members eat, sleep, and play together; the teachers take good care of them on behalf of their parents, and at times resemble close elder siblings, for example, when they read comic books together with the children. The real parents, of course, are not bystanders. The mothers volunteer to make kimchi, and the fathers entertain their children with a farcical performance in the school festival. The familial relationship also connects them with dongpo in their fatherland, as embodied in the kind North Korean guide whom the senior students called abai. Needless to say, the South Korean director is an honorary classmate, as well as their unfailing supporter. The world of dongpo, which is infinitely expanded in the cinematic imagination, seems all the more precious precisely because it becomes harder and harder to defend the home-like school as it faces declining enrollment, on the one hand, and increasing threats by conservative right-wing Japanese, on the other. It is no wonder, therefore, that the students’ eyes are full of tears at commencement, after which they will be separated from their teachers

Figure 4.1  The graduating seniors in tears at commencement. Our School, 2007.

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and comrades. Without such support, how will they be able to cope with the outside world to which their school has offered them only minimal exposure? Their individual lives outside the community of learning, that is, their exilic experiences away from their second home, are not included in the documentary, which ends with the graduation ceremony. Perhaps the alternative space imagined by Our School can actually exist only within the Chosun School in Hokkaido. Undeniably, the director’s in-depth coverage of their communal lives vividly pictures a way of creating a diasporic community. In depicting the struggle of the minority subjects from another dongpo’s perspective, the film signals the possibility of a postcolonial practice that fractures the normative framework of the nation-state. The in-between space the cinematic text opens up, however, is prematurely closed as it excludes differences within and outside of the dongpo community and finally returns to the familiar nexus of the family-nation. As a result, the “hopeful” sign suggested by the Zainichi community is reduced to the pure image of national collectivity, and recedes from political reality. In closing, the director looks back upon the time when he was filming the documentary: “Sometimes when I came back to South Korea, my friends made fun of me because I unconsciously mimicked the children’s jaeil Chosun-style Korean. My South Korean friends said I sounded weird, but I was glad at heart.” By retaining the North Korean accent learned from his dongpo in Japan, the native returnee conveys a sense of estrangement from and displacement within his homeland. Can this voluntary, reverse mimicry of a non-exile, then, lead to a critical intervention that locates the instability of the things taken for granted by “normal” residents within the national territory? If so, we may find a clue to what Bhabha terms the “Third Space,” which “constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricized and read anew.”10

If I can choose My Father(land): A Korean adoptee’s homecoming experience Whereas Our School centers on the communal life of Koreans in Japan, My Father takes a closer look at the internal landscape of a Korean adoptee, portraying him as an uprooted individual in a fragmented world. While both films deploy the trope of family, the contexts are quite dissimilar. In Our School,

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the family-like-nation (real or imaginary) is presumed to be a preexisting site in which all dongpo can (and should) form solidarity against all odds. The protagonist of My Father, however, must seek out his original family, only to realize that there was no such thing as an originary community that has been lost from the outset. If Our School envisages a nation-as-family that is unified and homogeneous, My Father captures a divided and dispersed nation that is like a separated family. The Korean adoptee’s return to his birthplace is challenged by a series of hardships, in contrast to the Chosun students’ inspiring trip to their fatherland. Unlike the homecoming experience of the Zainichi children in Our  School, supported by their parents and directed by their teachers and a guide, the “son” of My Father carries out his journey to the land of his birth on his own by enlisting in the American military so that he can be stationed in South Korea, leaving his adoptive parents in a state of anxiety. The outline of the plot is as follows: though raised by a loving adoptive family in America, the Korean-born boy named James Parker always had a sense of longing for his birth parents and returns to Korea as an American GI to look for them. Through a nation-wide TV program, James finally meets his “biological” father, his only living relative, yet not in a pleasant place—a federal prison in which the father has served over 10 years as a condemned murderer. After an awkward reunion under a mass media spotlight, a father-and-son bond begins to grow slowly. But the more that Euncheol Gong (James’ Korean name) gets to know his birth father Namcheol Hwang, the more he feels confused. Why do they have a different family name? Why does Namcheol dodge questions about Euncheol’s birth mother? After a paternity test, James learns that he is not genetically related to the murderer. The film demonstrates Euncheol’s psychological turmoil through the melodramatic conventions of excess and acting out. Though My Father does not appear to deal with serious political questions, such as national identity and the (post)colonial history of Korea, at least not in the same way that Our School wrestles with them, it raises its own thorny issues through its melodramatic devices. In dramatizing the true story of Aaron Bates, whose meeting with his “father” in prison created a sensation in the South Korean media in 2003, the commercial movie aptly evokes the nation’s “shameful” history of “child exports”: until the mid-1990s, South Korea, one of the fastest-modernizing countries in the world, had sent “more children overseas than any other country,” since international adoption was undertaken as “part of an emergency effort” in the aftermath of the Korean War.11

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As a popular film made for a mass audience, My Father presents a relatively simplified picture of a complicated historical phenomenon. For instance, it does not take into account the role of what Christina Klein calls “Cold War orientalism,” which, along with American security politics in Asia during the Cold War, stimulated the one-way traffic of non-white children to Western countries.12 Similarly, the influence of Korea’s patriarchal family system and sexual moralities that aligned with American expansionism and Western racial consumerism in the humanist mission of rescuing abandoned Korean orphans, particularly the mixed-race children born from the sexual exploitation and military prostitution resulting from the American military presence after the Korean War, is not explored.13 Instead, the film makes full use of the sociocultural ambience of the US military base, one of its significant settings. By characterizing Euncheol’s late birth mother as a dancer/prostitute in a bar for American soldiers, My Father subtly alludes to the historical context of contemporary Koreans’ antiAmericanism, which was recently reignited by the deaths of two teenage girls who were run over by a US military vehicle in 2002.14 Wondering which side he is on, James is bewildered, caught between insolent American soldiers treating with disdain “ungrateful” Korean “losers” who “can’t even defend their own country” but “have too many opinions,” and his nationalist KATUSA (Korean Augmentation Troops to the United States Army) friend who mocks Americans’ body odor. After James’s victory over the Americans in a race during military training, he is “proudly” accepted as a “Korean” by his Korean colleagues. However, thanks precisely to his physical superiority, which makes him “the Korean hero,” James cannot become an “ordinary” Korean. Whereas his masculinity is acclaimed in the “international competition,” his participation in a “national league” basketball game with Korean soldiers raises an objection among other Korean players. As a result, James remains an exceptional case to Koreans—again, “almost the same, but not quite”—while he is called “Batman” and “impostor” by American colleagues. When his Korean friend Yoseop leaves the US base after a fight between Korean and American soldiers, he says to James, “I’m sick of Americans.” But after looking at James’ face, Yoseop suddenly adds, in Korean, “Except you. You are a Korean.” Then Yoseop teaches James how to drink soju (Korean vodka), a task that should have been done by his own father. (Traditionally, a father gives his son his first drink to celebrate the son’s coming-of-age.) Through this cultural education, the bond of their “transnational” brotherhood, created through their male-centered military experience, is intertwined with a patrilineal relationship. Right after he drinks

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up like a “good [Korean] boy,” however, James does not comprehend what his “surrogate father” tells him in Korean: when Yoseop says, “pass the glass,” James turns the glass because “turning” and “passing” are homonyms in Korean.15 The solidarity between the two young men, which goes beyond their cultural differences, is extended to a symbolic reconciliation between Korea and America through the trope of family, whether broken or integrated. While the protagonist’s split identities, between the Korean-born Euncheol and American-raised James, are bridged by the supporting character of Yoseop, the task of mediating between the Korean birth father and the American adoptive father falls upon James.16 After his first meeting with his birth father, during which he was not so enthusiastic about giving a hug to the strange convict, James calls his home in America. When his adoptive father says, “Next time you meet your birth father, will you tell him I’m grateful to him for giving us such a wonderful son?” James answers, “To be honest, I don’t know what to think.” After the second meeting, James calls his American father again: “Dad . . . I met my birth father here. To be honest, I hoped he wasn’t the one. But I can’t pick or choose my birth father.” The death of the American father, however, is a turning point in James’s unwilling attitude. Now, he makes the effort to be close to “the only father” he has. In his next visit, which he makes alone without anyone accompanying him to translate, he relays to his birth father in Korean what his late American father said to him. Speaking very slowly, he says, “Thank you for giving us a great son.” The Korean father tries to comfort his son, but there is no way he can be sure to what extent his son understands what he is saying. Then James asks him if he likes music. While listening to the adoptive father’s favorite pop song together with his birth father, Euncheol tells a story that he could not share with his American father, despite their strong relationship. James had to break up with his first girlfriend, Christina, because her father did not want his daughter to date a boy who was “too different.” After James’s sad monologue in English, however, the Korean father merely wears an innocent smile and says in Korean, “I know this song.” At this moment, however, the language barrier between them does not matter, as the lyric says, “I love you more than I can say.” In this way, the (death of the) benevolent adoptive father reunites the separated family through the mediation of American popular culture. What thwarts this melodramatic reunion is not linguistic difference but the discovery that the bond with his Korean father is based on falsehood. As Euncheol learns more about Namcheol’s past as a guitarist in a nightclub, his doubt grows. Unlike the horrible murder committed by the death-row inmate,

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there is no trace of the guitarist who insists that he met Euncheol’s birth mother at the club. When Euncheol demands the truth, in English, however, the criminal “doesn’t understand a word,” and asks Euncheol to say it in Korean. Then James’s anger flames out: “Why do I have to speak in Korean? Why is it always me who is trying? What have you ever done for me? . . . Why did you do this [murder]? Is this why you sought me out? To get you out of here?” After this quarrel James is informed that Namcheol is not his biological father, but James never tells Namcheol the truth. Instead, James asks his non-biological father, in Korean, “Did you love me? If you love me, it’s okay. It’s okay if you lied. . . . I know you’re a murderer. I know it, but . . . I still want you to live on . . . because you are my father. Father . . . I love you.” With its humanistic touch, My Father demonstrates how powerful the signifier “family” can be, betraying, at the same time, the fictionality of the normative nuclear family model. In this alternative family narrative, an old, crippled criminal is “forgiven” by an altruistic, wholesome youth, embodying an ideal of dongpo: even if you are abandoned, and even if you are deceived, you still need to love your father(land). You cannot pick your father(land), but you can help the people living there, even though they are not directly related to you.

Return to exile Both Our School and My Father end by depicting the main characters’ everyday lives after they return to their home in a foreign—yet more familiar—land. Confronted with their unchanging realities, including the intensifying protest of Japanese neoconservatives against North Korea and its affiliated organizations in Japan, the Zainichi students are advised not to display their ethnicity outside of their school through their outfits or language. Meanwhile, their determination to use “Korean only” within the school becomes compromised as the senior students start their full-out preparation for the Japanese university entrance examinations. In contrast, the discharged James seems to have less difficulty readjusting to comfortable suburban life in America: he delights his adoptive mother by restoring the obsolete truck his late father had treasured. At this point, the Korean adoptee’s long journey, filled with anxiety and confusion, appears to have been completed—but it isn’t quite. In the last scene of the film, James opens the mailbox outside and finds a letter from Korea containing a picture, on the back of which someone has scrawled in crooked handwriting, “Euncheol,

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Figure 4.2  James/Euncheol stands in front of his adoptive parents’ home in America, holding a picture of his Korean birth mother. My Father, 2007.

this is your mom. MOTHER (in English).” Steadily pulling back, the camera frames Euncheol from the back as he stands in front of the fence around his (adoptive parents’) home, as if hesitating to (re-)enter that space. He may still be wandering or wondering, where he belongs or which home(land) he longs for, not unlike the Zainichi school’s graduates at their commencement, who have just come out from behind the “fence” of their alma mater to set off on a new, solitary journey in their life-world. In contrast to the nostalgic, exclusive nationalist sensibility that permeates Our School, My Father marks a gesture of conciliation and embracement better suited to a globalizing Korea. Despite these differences, the representation of the Korean diaspora in both films neither disavows the value of origins, nor challenges the hierarchy between the center and the periphery. Whether the diaspora’s yearning for a community is driven by centripetal nationalism or centrifugal transnationalism, their unwavering longing for connection with dongpo in their divided homeland affectively fills in the lack of unity in reality. In so doing, the shifting and multilayered identities of the Zainichi population and of Korean adoptees are incorporated into mainstream Korean culture as legitimate minority groups. Ironically, the minorities represented in these films cannot overcome their “minor” status vis-à-vis the majority because, as cultural critic Rey Chow points out, “it is that status that gives it [the minority] its legitimacy.”17 The minoritization of the diaspora also involves a process of homogenization within and around them. In Our School, the issue of gender is subordinated to that of nation, as illustrated in the conflict between female and male students

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over wearing Chosun-style school uniforms. In My Father, the real mother’s “dubious” past as a semi-military prostitute fades away too easily, compared to the hardship that the son bears in coming to terms with the undeniable past of the genetically unrelated father. Furthermore, the mother is recalled, by both the father and the son, only as a reified image in a picture, not unlike James’s ex-girlfriend in America. Although the two women, symptomatically, hold the key to the adoption discourse, that is, military prostitution in South Korea and racism in both countries, neither the Korean mother, nor the white girl, is given a chance to speak for herself. By discounting the internal tensions and unresolved issues surrounding the dongpo in exile, and integrating diasporic subjects collectively into the transnational setting, contemporary Korean cinema ultimately renews a longing for national homogeneity that encompasses Koreans both at home and abroad.

Notes 1 Edward Said, “Reflections on Exile.” In Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 176–7. 2 These schools are often called “Chosun schools” (Chōsen in Japanese). Although the term chōsen originally denoted ethnicity rather than nationality when it was used to refer to the Korean peninsula during the colonial period, it now often connotes an association with North Korea. South Korea is transcribed as kankoku in Japanese. It is noteworthy that the film’s title, “Our School,” is ambiguous. What are the intentions and effects of using this inclusive possessive pronoun “our”? Who is identified with “we” here? This will be discussed further in the text. 3 Darcy Paquet, “Our School.” Darcy’s Korean Film Page—Documentaries. August 4, 2007. http://www.koreanfilm.org/docs.html. 4 This is quoted from the chapter “Our School and Audiences” in disc 2, which was made after its release. 5 Said, Ibid., 177. 6 During Japanese colonial rule (1910–45), more than 2 million Chosun people migrated from the Korean peninsula, and an estimated 600,000 chōsenjin, former colonial subjects, remained in the Japanese archipelago as a stateless minority until the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea in 1965. Even then, those who did not acquire South Korean nationality could not enjoy the basic rights of residential security, or the freedom to travel outside

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Cinematic Homecomings of Japan, until they acquired permanent residence as refugees in 1981, when the Japanese government ratified the UN Refugee Convention. See Chikako Kashiwazaki, “The Politics of Legal Status: The Equation of Nationality with Ethnonational Identity.” In Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin, edited by Sonia Ryang (New York: Routledge, 2000), 28. Jin-Sook Shin, “Hwangdonghae Diaseupora: Gukgyeong eul neomneun saramdeul–2000 nyeondae dongnip yeonghwa reul jungsim euro.” Ataeyeongu 18, 2 (2011): 134. Paquet observes, “he [the director] is somewhat coy, at least initially, in presenting the political dimensions to his story. Only after a thorough introduction to the school, the teachers, the students, and various school programs does he mention that the school was founded with support from North Korea” (“Our School”). Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), 122. Ibid., 55. Eleana J. Kim, Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 24. Christina Klein, Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 19451961 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 143–90. Tobias Hübinette, “The Orphaned Nation: Korea Imagined as an Overseas Adopted Child in Clon’s Abandoned Child and Park Kwang-su’s Berlin Report.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 6, 2 (2005): 229. See “Korean Anger as US Soldiers Cleared.” BBC News. November 22, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2497947.stm (accessed October 13, 2013). This unexpected “turning” of the original by a non-native Korean’s awkward yet nonetheless not incorrect translation reminds us of the reverse mimicry of the director of Our School. By introducing “a strange stillness,” it opens up what Bhabha calls “the third space,” which makes heterogeneity in and of the original “become uncannily visible” (The Location of Culture, 321). Like the director in Our School, Yoseop plays multiple roles in My Father. Not only as a devoted friend, but also as a friendly guide, Yoseop helps James to seek and visit the nursery where James was originally left before adoption. It is there that they learn James’s Korean name: Euncheol. Yoseop’s role does not end by assisting James in recovering his lost Korean identity. As a considerate elder brother, Yoseop teaches Euncheol how to make a Korean bow to his father and advises him to be a filial son, in addition to actively engaging as a translator in the relationship between the father and the son. It is also Yoseop who reminds James that his father will be all alone after James leaves Korea.

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17 Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 104.

Works cited Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 2005. Chow, Rey. Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. Hübinette, Tobias. “The Orphaned Nation: Korea Imagined as an Overseas Adopted Child in Clon’s Abandoned Child and Park Kwang-su’s Berlin Report.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 6, 2 (2005): 227–44. Kashiwazaki, Chikako. “The Politics of Legal Status: The Equation of Nationality with Ethnonational Identity.” In Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin, edited by Sonia Ryang. New York: Routledge, 2000, 13–31. Kim, Eleana J. Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. Klein, Christina. Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Paquet, Darcy. “Our School.” Darcy’s Korean Film Page—Documentaries. August 4, 2007, http://www.koreanfilm.org/docs.html. Said, Edward. “Reflections on Exile.” In Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, 173–86. Shin, Jin-Sook. “Hwangdonghae Diaseupora: Gukgyeong eul neomneun saramdeul–2000 nyeondae dongnip yeonghwa reul jungsim euro.” Ataeyeongu 18, 2 (2011): 125–44.

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Three Ages of Russian Nostalgia: Nostalghia, Window to Paris, and Brother 2 Milla Fedorova

At first glance, Andrei Tarkovsky’s existential psychological parable Nostalghia (1983), Yuri Mamin’s grotesque fantastical comedy Window to Paris (1993), and Aleksei Balabanov’s ironic gangster blockbuster Brother 2 (2000) may seem an unlikely grouping because of the striking differences in their genres and intended audiences.1 However, all three can be defined as films of homecoming. They are constructed according to the same narrative model: a Russian abroad, although attracted by the charms of the West, nevertheless makes the decision to return home. All three directors stress that, from a practical point of view, the hero’s choice of homecoming might be unreasonable and even dangerous. However, all three imply that this decision is right in the highest, spiritual sense. In Nostalghia, Tarkovsky creates a timeless image of rural Russia that bears no signs of the historical era when the film was made—the period of political and economic stagnation preceding the collapse of the Soviet Union. The film’s protagonist dwells on an idealized image of his home country, even though he knows that returning to Russia is mortally dangerous for an artist committed to freedom of expression. Window to Paris and Brother 2 grotesquely exaggerate the shortcomings of particular periods of Russian history—the devastation of the early post-Soviet years in the case of the former and the corruption of mafiatorn Russia of the early 2000s in the latter instance. The atrocities of life in Russia are juxtaposed with the material well-being of life abroad to stress the spiritual value of homecoming. All three films contrast the spiritually advanced Russia with the materialist West, its ultimate Other. This opposition dates back to the nineteenth century, namely, to the discussions between Westernizers and Slavophiles about Russia’s

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historical path in relation to Western countries. While the former believed that Russia should develop according to the European model of Enlightenment, the latter claimed that only Russia could show true spiritual values to European countries that had strayed from the right path. In these films, Tarkovsky, Malin, and Balabanov update the Slavophile position. In the new historical context of the late twentieth century, the core values identified as specifically Russian mainly remain the same: self-sacrifice for the sake of others, concern for the spiritual over the material, unity of all people, and belief in the existential Truth. All three films juxtapose “foreign” values with Russian ideals in order to demonstrate the superiority of the latter.2 In each film, the protagonist’s faithfulness to his homeland is symbolically tried by an erotic challenge. Music, on the other hand, functions as the homeland’s agent, being a tool that powerfully draws the protagonist home. The present analysis builds on Svetlana Boym’s characterization of modern nostalgia as “a mourning for the impossibility of mythical return, for the loss of an enchanted world . . . a nostalgia for an absolute, a home that is both physical and spiritual.”3 Window to Paris and especially Brother 2 perfectly reflect this mythological nature of nostalgia, since nostalgia’s powerful hold does not diminish with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the focus of the characters’ nostalgic longing. In each instance, the directors explore the phenomenon of nostalgia through multilevel systems of doubles.4 In each film, the Russian protagonist meets a foreign double whose quest reflects his own. Scenes that take place abroad mirror scenes taking place in Russia. Curiously, all three films feature episodes where either the protagonist or the viewer cannot recognize the foreign reality and mistakes it for Russia. In this way, the Other (a foreign country) and one’s own country (Russia) are also shown as doubles. Over the course of the films, the viewer comes to the conclusion that Russia is the “original,” while the foreign country (respectively, Italy, France, and America) is merely its simulacrum. The three films show three foreign countries—Italy, France, and America; three decades in Russian history—the 1980s, the 1990s, and the early 2000s; and three characters, each of whom represents the nostalgic hero of his time. The archetype of return varies depending on the time when each film was made, the genre, and the foreign country in question. Mamin’s Window to Paris is a noir comedy with a strong lyrical undercurrent, an allegorical story about the end of the Soviet Union. It raises the question of homecoming in the most acute form: Is there a place to return to when the home country has changed so radically? What

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constitutes home? Like Eldar Riazanov’s Inhabited Skies (1991) and Vladimir Soloviev’s House Under Starry Sky (1991), it demonstrates an absurdist carnival atmosphere accompanying the collapse of the regime. But unlike Riazanov’s and Soloviev’s films, it offers a clear, positive message to the viewer at home and abroad: only those who stay in their home country or return there in order to live and work give it hope. Other countries may be richer and better, but only this country is their own. Brother 2 addresses the next generation of Russian viewers, who either had not experienced the reality of life under Sovietism or had experienced it as children. For this audience, the nostalgia of childhood blends with memories of government-produced paeans to the Soviet Union’s order and power. Scholars of cinema define films such as Brother 2, together with Balabanov’s War (2002), Stanislav Govorukhin’s Voroshilov’s Sharpshooter (1999), and Nikita Mikhalkov’s The Barber of Siberia (1998), as post-sots. These films “do not try to expose the absurdity or violence hidden beneath Socialist Realist mythology” but rather resurrect it as a positive mass culture, “emphasizing optimism and affirmative values:” Russia’s unique national identity, patriotism, strong male friendship.5 The motif of return to one’s homeland in Brother 2 implies the necessity of the ultimate return to the above-mentioned Soviet values and expected revival of the strong state.

Subjects of nostalgia: Protagonists and their plots The evolution of nostalgia’s subjects—protagonists epitomizing Russian patriotism—from the 1980s to the 2000s is quite alarming. In Nostalghia and Window to Paris, the protagonist belongs to intelligentsia: the writer Andrei Gorchakov in Tarkovsky’s partially autobiographical film is much more complex than Mamin’s music teacher Nikolai, but less humane and thus less endearing to the viewer. Balabanov’s character Danila is overtly anti-intellectual: a “simple” young man (significantly younger than Tarkovsky’s and Mamin’s protagonists). A veteran of the first Chechen war and killer with his personal code of honor, he resurrects the masculine, nationalistic ideal of Soviet patriotism and brothersin-arms values. From Nostalghia to Brother 2, the level of the protagonist’s introspection decreases. Accordingly, his stay in the foreign country becomes shorter, and the protagonist himself is farther removed from the immigrant experience. Thus,

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with the collapse of the Soviet Union—the physical object onto which nostalgia is projected—the power of nostalgia only increases. Tarkovsky’s Andrei has lived in Italy long enough to be exhausted by homesickness. As Maya Turovskaya notes, daily life (byt, in Russian) does not appear in the film: Andrei does not belong to the Italian reality; he actively resists its charms and rejects any potential ties to the country.6 He casts away his beautiful Italian interpreter Eugenia who has developed feelings for him and remains faithful to his Russian wife Maria. The only Italian with whom Andrei manages to establish a relationship is an outcast, Domenico, whom all the Italians consider insane on account of his obsession with saving the world. Domenico’s yearning for an ideal society where people won’t be alienated from each other resonates with Andrei’s nostalgia for Russia. In fact, what Andrei is looking for in Italy is Russia: he researches the life of the eighteenth-century Russian serf-musician Pavel Sosnovsky who had come to Italy to study music but finally, suffering from nostalgia, chose to return to Russia, even though it cost him his personal freedom and, eventually, his life.7 Like Sosnovsky, Andrei constantly longs for Russia, and for all we know, plans to leave Italy soon, even buying a ticket home. His nostalgic desperation is especially striking, since it is not justified by the circumstances as the director presents them.8 But while Andrei repeatedly visits Russia in his thoughts and dreams, the physical return never takes place: he dies from a heart attack. In the meantime, Domenico publically immolates himself in order to draw his countrymen’s attention to their tragic alienation. In the two post-Soviet films discussed here, the protagonists’ relationship to their homeland is depicted as less complex and more closely mirrors the experience of the films’ intended audience. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, emigration became a real possibility for larger numbers of Russians. While leaving the viewer to make their personal decision on this matter, the directors of these films state their message about homecoming as the right ethical choice clearly and directly. Music teacher Nikolai in Window to Paris travels to France through a magic portal, which opens for a limited time in his communal apartment room in St Petersburg. Constantly crossing the border between the countries but never staying in Paris too long, he considers the option of moving to Paris forever, since in his homeland there is no demand for his music. His neighbors, the Gorokhovs, also repeatedly visit France but their motives are less noble: they seek material gain. Another group of neighbors—communists mourning the blessed days of the Soviet Union—become lost in the streets of Paris and are

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shown taking a taxi in circles as they desperately try to find their way back home. In France, Nikolai meets his female counterpart, the taxidermist/artist Nicole who, in her turn (in the second part of the film), accidentally crosses the border into Russia. After Nikolai helps her to escape from prison, their relationship evolves into romantic attraction. However, Nikolai’s tourism never transforms into emigration. Eventually, he makes the decision to return to Russia on behalf of his students—schoolchildren whom he had recklessly taken for an excursion to the alluring world of Paris. As it turns out, they are too late: the magic portal has closed, leaving them no easy way back. In the end of the film, the characters march to the accompaniment of their musical instruments into a Paris airport, where they hijack a plane in order to return to St Petersburg. Like Window to Paris, Brother 2 consists of two parts, but while in the former, the action switches back and forth between two countries, in the latter, the first part takes place in Russia and the second in America. In Moscow, the protagonist’s friend Kostia is murdered after trying to help his émigré brother Dmitry—a hockey player who had been virtually enslaved by an American mafioso businessman. The protagonist Danila takes over his friend’s mission and heads to America to free Dmitry from the mafioso’s clutches. He does not even consider the option of emigration: when a New York taxi-cab driver takes him for a fresh immigrant, Danila proudly declares: “I love my motherland.” Like Tarkovsky’s Andrei, Danila befriends a local (the truck-driver Ben) and, like Mamin’s Nikolai, saves a girl in trouble (Dasha, a Russian prostitute). He even manages to have a fleeting romance with an American celebrity news anchor, despite the fact that in Russia, he has a famous pop-singer girlfriend. After successfully confronting the businessman and setting his friend’s undeserving brother free, Danila returns home, bringing Dasha with him. Both Window to Paris and Brother 2 feature actual Russian emigrants as secondary characters and treat them ironically. Failing to fit into the new society and to succeed professionally, they occupy marginal niches. Mamin’s immigrant character, the protagonist’s friend Misha, is a virtuoso violinist who performs classical music without pants, holding his violin between his thighs. Among Balabanov’s Russian immigrants, we see a taxi driver, a prostitute, members of the mafia and, finally, Danila’s brother Victor, who prefers imprisonment in America to return to Russia. Through their depiction of these characters, Mamin and Balabanov make their viewers consider whether emigration from Russia—in pursuit of abstract ideals of freedom and prospective riches—is

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Figure 5.1  Danila and Dasha disguised as millionaires at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Brother 2, 2000.

worth any price, including the loss of dignity, professional success, and even personal freedom. The scenes of the protagonists’ return home in Window to Paris and Brother 2 ironically resonate with each other: instead of the traditional emigrants’ escape from Russia, we see an escape to Russia. In hijacking a plane in order to return to Russia, Mamin comically reverses the dissident dream of flight from the Soviet Union.9 Similarly, in Brother 2, the protagonist, chased by both the police and the mafia, has to masquerade as a millionaire in order to leave for Russia. In order to fool the authorities and mafia, he arrives at the airport in a luxury car, accompanied by Dasha dressed in an expensive fur coat. When the clerk at the passport control points out that Dasha will never be able to reenter the United States, since her visa had expired long ago, Dasha’s only response is an obscene gesture; she could not care less.

The other as the place of alienation In Nostalghia, Window to Paris, and Brother 2, the West—Italy, France, and America, respectively—is associated with materialism and a lack of spirituality. Tarkovsky refuses to show Italy’s beauty, preferring to instead shroud her celebrated landscapes and monuments in fog; as Maya Turovskaya notes, he managed to “de-Italianize” Italy like no one else.10 His protagonist disparages the  country as “the land of shoes.” Mamin’s approach is subtle and ironic: on the one hand, he demonstrates that there is no place for idealistic artists in

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Paris: Nikolai fails to find a job as a musician in France just as he has failed to do so in Russia. On the other hand, Mamin mocks the disdain for Western materialism as a cliché of the Russian popular mind. In Window to Paris, we hear the reproach of French soullessness not from the protagonist but from his grotesquely materialistic Russian neighbors who use it as an excuse to “expropriate from the expropriator,” that is to steal everything they see from the French. Balabanov, however, restores the binary opposition between moneydriven West and spiritual Russia: Danila states that not America with its material goods has the real power but Russia who possesses truth. This characterization of America as a soulless capitalist country comes not from a refined member of the intelligentsia, as in Nostalghia, but from the film’s uneducated protagonist, supposedly representing the ordinary Russian people.11 It comes as no surprise that the protagonists are eager to leave the alien reality of the West, with its materialism and absence of spiritual values. However, Window to Paris and Brother 2 demonstrate that some elements of the West—principally, its preoccupation with money—have penetrated life in the new capitalist Russia, a development about which both Mamin and Balabanov express concern. In Window to Paris, the slogans in the halls of the “economic gymnasium” where Nikolai used to teach, pronounce: “Time is money” and “A kopek saves the ruble,” and the walls sport the portraits of American presidents from the banknotes. Yet, in the new curriculum there is no place for a subject lacking any practical application, such as music. In Brother 2, Balabanov focuses on the ruthless forms the young capitalism takes in Russia, demonstrating the collusion between the country’s new businessmen and the international mafia.

Types of nostalgia By focusing on his protagonist’s inner world and revealing his dreams, Tarkovsky demonstrates that the object of Andrei Gorchakov’s/Tarkovsky’s nostalgia is an ideal, distant Russia, and the traditional values associated with it: family, spiritual life, harmony with nature, and allegiance to one’s country. In the film’s final scene, the director materializes an ideal nostalgic object at a symbolic level, harmoniously fusing Russia and Italy and reconciling Andrei’s dreams with his Italian surroundings: we see a Russian country house embraced by the walls of an Italian gothic cathedral.12 According to Boym, it is exactly this unity, the unique sense of home and order—rather than a physical location—that

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constitutes the actual object of nostalgia. Boym identifies this type of nostalgia as “reflective,” focused on the feeling of loss, as opposed to “restorative” nostalgia, which constantly re-creates a myth through ritual. “Restorative nostalgia evokes national past and future; reflective nostalgia is more about individual and cul­ tural memory. . . . Nostalgia of the first type gravitates toward collective pictorial symbols and oral culture. Nostalgia of the second type is more oriented toward an individual narrative that savors details and memorial signs, perpetually deferring homecoming itself.”13 Mamin shows the peculiarities of modern nostalgia in their most pure form, eliminating the distance between Russia and the West through magical means: since the border between Russia and France can easily be crossed, it becomes especially clear that the object of nostalgia is a myth rather than a real place. Window to Paris features a combination of nostalgias and ironically deconstructs them. Former communists epitomize restorative nostalgia: they predict at their ritual gatherings that the country will wish to return to the Soviet rule. As we see in the film, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the October Revolution repeats itself as a farce: desperate citizens waiting in enormous lines for the opening of liquor stores easily start a riot, parodying the revolutionary upheaval. They carry political banners and march, following a band that plays revolutionary songs. Ironically, in the film the communists are separated from their Soviet motherland not only in time—since the Soviet Union no longer exists—but also in space: they are trapped in Paris when the portal closes. The director also mocks the traditional emigrant nostalgia, stripping it of romantic overtones. The protagonist’s émigré friend Misha incessantly criticizes soulless Europeans and nostalgically recollects Russian kitchen talks dedicated to matters of universal significance. But when he faces the very real possibility of return that Nikolai offers him (taking him, blind-folded, to St Petersburg through the magic portal), he is immediately cured of homesickness, comes to peace with France’s materialism, and begs Nikolai to return him to Paris. However, non-ironic nostalgia is also present in the film, and is associated with the protagonist’s longing for Russian culture—lost after the Revolution— and for a life where art has value rather than price. For Nikolai, France epitomizes this lost world, but only in the beginning of the film. The process of Nikolai’s disenchantment parallels the debunking of Misha’s nostalgic memories of Russia. Finally, in Brother 2, nostalgia is presented in a sincere, non-ironic fashion. Danila spends too short a time in America to feel genuinely nostalgic for

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Russia, yet the scenes of his American sojourn have unmistakable overtones of homesickness, achieved, to significant extent, by means of the soundtrack. Danila fights not only for his physical return to Russia, but more importantly, for the return to Soviet values—his real “homeland.” In the new world torn apart by the power of money, the true object of nostalgia is the Soviet ideal of the strong country united by a common ideology, and patriotism is the foundation of this ideology.

Temptations of the other and agents of homeland The foreign country (the Other) and the protagonist’s homeland (one’s own) have their own agents acting against each other: music and eroticism. Nostalgia in Nostalghia, Window to Paris and Brother 2 is triggered by music and is often embodied in music. Although music usually functions as a universal language, connecting the foreign world with one’s own, it still calls the characters home. In our films, music is associated with freedom, but, paradoxically, it also represents an irresistible force connected with one’s homeland. The notion of music driving a return to Russia despite the perils of such a homecoming is implicitly present in Nostalghia: the musician Sosnovsky cannot live without his homeland. In Window to Paris, this trope materializes literally and grotesquely: music is shown as a magical means of manipulation when, in order to bring his students home, Nikolai has to use the power of his magic flute. Mamin reverses the motif of the Pied Piper of Hamelin: Nikolai the Piper does not take children away from their stingy parents, but brings home their children who have been striving for the material goods of France. This scene reflects the episode in the beginning of the film where an orchestra playing “The Internationale” leads rebellious crowds of post-Soviet Russian paupers away from an empty liquor store they were going to attack. However, the theme music of Window to Paris, Tchaikovsky’s “Old French Song,” bridges the two worlds depicted in the film rather than pitting them in opposition. Finally, in Brother 2, music functions as a means of communication between a Russian and an American: Danila and Ben, the truck driver, become friends by listening to Danila’s collection of modern Russian music as they drive to Chicago. Before his departure, Danila leaves Ben this cassette as a sign of gratitude and kinship. The soundtrack of Brother 2, combining modern Russian pop and rock

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music and legendary rock songs from the late Soviet era, conveys the Russian national idea and the feeling of nostalgia. As we see, in these films, the Russian protagonists abroad experience forces pulling them in opposite directions. Nostalgia as a longing for an ideal not belonging to reality is close to Baudrillard’s understanding of seduction.14 Enhanced by music, it lures the protagonists home, while the foreign country is also tempting them with dreams of personal freedom and professional realization (in Nostalghia and Window to Paris, respectively). America as presented in Brother 2 can offer only base temptations—money and power—that do not have value in the protagonist’s eyes. In all three films, competing with the seduction of nostalgia is a literal, erotic seduction.15 In each instance, the protagonist meets a seductive foreign woman who is presented as a double of somebody he knew in the home country. In Nostalghia, the stunningly beautiful Eugenia accompanies Andrei in his journey and unsuccessfully tries to seduce him. Eugenia represents external beauty, but she does not possess inner harmony and lacks the intrinsic feminine qualities that are essential for Tarkovsky. From the outset, she claims that motherhood does not satisfy her as a woman’s major mission, and when we see her in the church she refuses to kneel and pray. This scene makes the discord between the external and the internal in Eugenia especially evident: although she resembles an icon of the Virgin Mary, we know that she does not aspire to motherhood. Tarkovsky gives the name of Mary (Maria) not to her, but to Andrei’s wife, who appears pregnant in his dreams. Maria is associated with the traditional, patriarchal Russian qualities so dear to the director—country life, family, home. Juxtaposing the two women, Tarkovsky contrasts the Western erotic temptation epitomized by Eugenia to the Russian eternal femininity embodied in Maria.16 While Andrei successfully resists the temptation, in his dreams Eugenia and Maria function as doubles, sometimes replacing each other. What Tarkovsky does on the symbolic level, Balabanov materializes in the plot of his movie: a Russian and an American girlfriend easily replace each other in the protagonist’s life. Both Russian pop singer Irina Saltykova and American news anchor Lisa Jeffrey belong to the world of celebrity; both surrender to Danila’s masculine charms and provide him with refuge. And yet, both are relatively meaningless to him: women in Brother 2 play a secondary role, and relations with them are insignificant in comparison to masculine companionship.17 The

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erotic episodes in Brother 2 do not function as the protagonist’s trial; rather, they stress a strong man’s magnetism, which, as the film implies, neither a Russian nor an American woman can resist. Only in Window to Paris is a foreign woman portrayed not as projection of male fantasies, as in Nostalghia, nor as an insignificant episode in the protagonist’s journey, as in Brother 2, but as a subject. Nicole does not replace any Russian woman, but functions as the protagonist’s own double. Not only do Nicole and Nikolai have similar names and share artistic occupations for which they are underappreciated, but they are placed in parallel situations as they explore each other’s countries. The film’s structure accentuates this parallelism: in the first part, Nikolai goes to France, unaware of the border he is crossing, and the second part starts with Nicole’s involuntary journey to Russia. As the action develops, both find themselves almost naked in an alien world: Nicole is locked out on a St Petersburg street in a bathrobe, which is later stolen from her, and Nikolai finds out that he is expected to perform classical music in a Paris club without pants. Both characters, after a series of trials, learn to understand each other through understanding the other’s country and also learn to value their own world. The fact that Nikolai proves capable of building a meaningful relationship with the Other, as well as his decision to return home and work to improve life in his own country, signals that he succeeds in his personal quest. In Window to Paris, Mamin wittily mocks the stereotype of European seduction: French eroticism exists mostly in the Russian visitors’ expectations. Because of their stereotypical preconceptions, the Russian visitors even get into trouble with the authorities immediately upon their arrival in Paris: they misinterpret Nicole’s rage at their invasion as erotic passion. According to Mamin, an adequate reaction to the foreign “erotic challenge” is not resisting it—as in Tarkovsky—and not succumbing to it—as it is in Balabanov—but eliminating the stereotypical expectations of such a challenge.

Doubles and the problem of nonrecognition The complex systems of doubles juxtaposing Self and Other (svoe and chuzhoe) serve as a means of exploration of nostalgia and return. The foreign reality in all the films is full of doubles and repetitions. In addition to encountering the doubles of Russian women, the protagonists meet their own doubles abroad. In Nostalghia, Andrei has two doubles: in diachrony, the Russian musician

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Sosnovsky whose life in Italy he studies and whose path he literally follows, and in synchrony, the Italian Domenico with whom he shares a mysterious quest.18 Domenico, as has been noted, does not belong to the Italian world; typologically, he is a Russian character—a holy fool.19 While Domenico’s countrymen reject and avoid him, Andrei insists that he understands his actions. Tarkovsky stresses the connection between the two characters in the scene of Andrei’s dream: looking at himself in the mirror, Andrei sees Domenico’s face. According to Domenico’s plan, together they can restore the universe’s lost unity and achieve the balance of the elements—water and fire.20 Nikolai and Nicole’s function as doubles in Window to Paris has been discussed earlier. Turning to Brother 2, Balabanov organizes his film’s structure as a system of mirror reflections between America and Russia. We have two pairs of brothers: Danila/Victor and Kostia/Dmitry. One brother in each pair makes the decision to emigrate and thus, serves as a foil to his patriotic counterpart. Danila and Kostia, who have chosen to remain in Russia, are faithful to their brotherhood—both actual and metaphorical: they are ready to risk their lives for the sake of their friends and never leave their companions in trouble. Victor and Dmitry, who chose to emigrate, value money most of all and betray their brothers as easily as they leave their country. The fact that Kostia and Dmitry are twins stresses the contrast between them. As Danila reproachfully says to Dmitry when the former demonstrates his cowardice and stinginess, “You look so much like your brother—and yet are so different from him.” Several secondary Russian characters in Brother 2 also have American doubles, although they never meet them. A grumpy New York cabman behaves so similarly to the Moscow taxi driver whom we have seen in a previous scene that Danila even asks him if he has a brother in Russia. Irina Saltykova and Lisa Jeffrey are unaware of each other’s existence. In addition to these character doubles, the events in the first and the second part of the film mirror each other. In both parts, Danila buys arms, fights with mafia, is arrested and then released; both in Russia and in America he ambushes a corrupt businessman and restores justice, yet spares his enemy’s life. Danila’s American adventures repeat events that already took place in Russia, making the viewer doubt the reality of his exploits abroad. The impression of déjà vu is immediately present upon Danila’s arrival in the United States, since first of all, he heads straight to Brighton Beach, New York’s Jewish-Russian district. With Russian language and signs around him, it seems for a moment that he has never left Russia. The fact that Danila conceals from his girlfriend the fact that he has gone abroad reinforces this

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illusion: when he talks on the phone with her, he pretends to be somewhere near the town of Tula, not far from Moscow. A similar pattern of temporary elision between the foreign country and Russia and the ensuing mistaking of the foreign Other for its domestic counterpart is prominent in Nostalghia and Window to Paris as well.21 Tarkovsky achieves the effect of nonrecognition through montage. Nostalghia opens with a rural Russian landscape; a country house sits in the middle of a foggy field bisected by a power line pole.22 The fog literally blurs the border between the Russia and Italy, allowing for almost seamless montage. In the next scene, the Russian landscape, acquiring color, slowly transforms into an Italian landscape, also foggy, with a power line pole. Only when the viewer hears the characters speaking Italian can he or she ascertain that the action has now switched to Italy. In contrast with Nostalghia, the opening sequence of Window to Paris depicts the Other morphing into the native land. The opening credits appear against the background of postcards with emblematic Paris cityscapes: the Moulin Rouge, the Eiffel Tower, the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, etc. Suddenly, one of the postcards becomes animated but the viewer is transferred to the busy and aggressive space of post-Soviet St Petersburg. Breaking of the viewer’s expectations about the action’s location later reoccurs on the level of the characters. When Nikolai and his neighbors in the communal apartment first travel to Paris through the magic portal, they continue to think that they are in St Petersburg, in a nearby street. They approve of the change in the climate and of the order in the streets.23 The fact that the post-Soviet reality already features some capitalist elements accentuates the confusion Mamin’s characters experience. For instance, the Russian visitors mistake a Parisian cafe for a St Petersburg currency bar. They even manage to buy beer, paying with Russian metal rubles stamped with Lenin’s image—from the French perspective, a numismatic curiosity. Mamin reaches the comic apotheosis of the inability to distinguish between the foreign country and the homeland when Nikolai’s neighbor Gorokhov spies the Eiffel Tower and exclaims: “If it hadn’t been for the television tower, I would have never recognized my own neighborhood!” On the group’s second visit to Paris, Mamin comically echoes this scene: when Gorokhov, intending to open Nikolai’s eyes to the vices of the Western consumerist civilization, brings him to a store, he does not initially recognize himself displayed on TV screen and exclaims: “Look! What a fat snout this glutton has gotten! Oh, it is I, myself!”

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Conclusion The use of character doubles, parallel plotlines, and moments of nonrecognition of the Other instill in the viewer’s mind the idea that the foreign reality itself is merely reflection of life at home in Russia. All three films discussed here represent Russian space as the real one—be it Tarkovsky’s timeless and idealized mother Russia or Mamin’s and Balabanov’s grotesquely dark post-Soviet Russia—and the Other as the simulacrum. In Nostalghia, the powerful memories of homeland make the Italian reality fragmented and fragile, and Andrei falls through the cracks again and again, being returned to Russia by his visions, dreams, and memories. In Window to Paris, Mamin accentuates the illusionary lure of France. Although Paris looks festive and friendly, Nikolai’s attempts to find his place there fail. Nikolai and his companions return to the very real, impoverished Russia because their place is there, and only they can work to change it: “It is your country, after all. Can’t you make it better? Much depends on you. Trust me!” pleads Nikolai to the children who represent Russia’s future in the film. In Brother 2, Danila eagerly leaves America, which he disparages as a country of false values, for his homeland, which he perceives as the epitome of truth. However, by encouraging the viewer to compare and contrast home and abroad, the doubling devices in these films, especially the patterns of nonrecognition, also create some flickering common space.24 Paradoxically, focusing on the motif of the border that the protagonist is striving to cross to get home, the directors simultaneously create an image of a world not separated by national boundaries. It may be argued that such an unstructured world causes anxiety, and the directors, especially Mamin and Balabanov, are warning us of the dangers of Western materialism being imposed onto Russia. However, these Russian films of return also reflect a dream of a world without borders, an ideal object of nostalgia. Significantly, the final scenes in Nostalghia and Window to Paris suggest such a possibility. Tarkovsky virtually fuses Italy and Russia in the film’s final image of an Italian cathedral “embracing” a Russian country house. Mamin’s closing scene features Nikolai and his neighbors, safely returned home from France, tearing down the wall of their house where the magical portal was located—thus symbolically destroying the border between Russia and France. This image unmistakably invokes the destruction of the Berlin Wall. In contrast, for Balabanov, it is much more important to separate the two countries and the values associated with them. But even Brother 2 implies a

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symbolic connection between the two worlds through the song “Good-bye, America” (“The Farewell Letter”) by “Nautilus Pompilius,” a legendary Russian rock group. It accompanies the characters’ return to Russia at the end of the film and can be interpreted as the quintessence of post-Soviet nostalgia. Written in 1985, the song is about the need to part with a dream: that of the idealized image of America that existed in the minds of young people in the Soviet Union despite the official propaganda. The real America, accessible after the elimination of the Iron Curtain, could never live up to this dream. Made in 2000, Brother 2 uses the song anachronistically to convey nostalgia not only for the lost ideal of America that existed in the Soviet Union but also for the lost world of Soviet Russia as well. In fusing together these lost, perfect worlds, it reminds the viewer that it is impossible to visit the former or to return to the latter, since both exist only in imagination. Therefore, in each film, the characters’ return to Russia demonstrates their yearning for the genuine and real, their attempt to break free from the lure of simulacra. Yet, their true object of desire is not their real homeland but an ideal world without borders and alienation, where the spiritual prevails over the material. The films locate this imaginary home in the characters’ dreams (Nostalghia), in Russia’s future (Window to Paris), and in the Soviet past (Brother  2). Thus, while a physical homecoming may occur on the plot level, the true homecoming can never take place in reality, although it always inspires Russian characters to move forward in their search for belonging.

Notes 1 The Italian title of Tarkovsky’s Soviet/Italian film reflects Russian pronunciation of the word “nostalgia.” 2 Paradoxically, Tarkovsky’s seemingly non-politicized Nostalghia has become a model, according to which the new post-Soviet nostalgia is being constructed. However, Tarkovsky’s patriarchal and male-dominant world, as Slavoj Žižek defines it, epitomizes the values that the later directors will associate with the Soviet Union. Slavoj Žižek, “The Thing from Inner Space,” http://www.lacan.com/ zizekthing.htm (accessed September 30, 2013). 3 Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001), 8. 4 The term “double” is used in a broad sense here to define the characters that in some fashion mirror each other. Judith Oster has pointed out the abundance

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of mirroring images in bi-cultural texts (Oster, “See(k)ing the Self: Mirrors and Mirroring in Bicultural Texts.” MELUS 23, 4 [Winter 1998]: 59). Of the films in question, only Nostalghia dwells on the actual images of mirrors and mirror reflections. However, all three of them feature numerous characters echoing each other—through similar situations they are put in, similar framing, external likeness, etc. Mark Lipovetsky, “Post-sots: Transformations of Socialist Realism in the Popular Culture of the Recent Period.” Slavic and East European Journal 48, 3 (2004): 358. Maya Turovskaya, 7½, ili Fil’my Andreia Tarkovskogo (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1991), 157. Sosnovsky had a historical prototype—the serf-musician Maxim Berezovsky. After his return from Italy, unable to buy himself from his master, Count Sheremetev, he supposedly committed suicide. However, the origins of Andrei’s tragic longing become clearer in the context of Tarkovsky’s own biography. The director stated that he conceived Nostalghia as a film for the viewer at home and for the sake of his homeland in which he intended to “convey a certain state of yearning that engulfs a Russian who has severed his roots.” After shooting the film, he made the decision to stay in Italy—apparently, trying to escape Sosnovsky’s fate (the master Tarkovsky depended on was Goskino, the state organization controlling film production in the Soviet Union). For example, in an interview with Solomon Volkov, Joseph Brodsky describes a radical plan of hijacking an airplane and flying to Afghanistan that he conceived in his early youth with Oleg Shakhmatov. The fantastic plan had even started to acquire real details: they went as far as buying plane tickets. According to Brodsky, they were stopped—not only by their unwillingness to kidnap the pilot, but also by the foreshadowing of nostalgia: “Motherland or not—we did not think in these categories. But I suddenly recalled my girlfriend in Leningrad. . . . I realized that I would never see her again. Neither would I see certain other people—friends, acquaintances. And it got to me, stung to the quick. All told, I wanted to go home.” Solomon Volkov, Dialogi s Iosifom Brodskim (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Nezavisimaia gazeta, 2000), 66–7. Turovskaya, 7½, ili Fil’my Andreia Tarkovskogo, 154. Although critics often describe the film as overtly anti-American (Yana Hashamova, for example, points out the film’s attacks on political correctness, racial equality, and democracy. Hashamova, “Aleksei Balabanov’s Russian Hero: Fantasies of Wounded National Pride.” Slavic and East European Journal 51, 2 [2007]: 295–311), it may be argued that such a reading is too harsh. The distribution of good and evil does not necessarily coincide with the distribution of Russian and American. On the one hand, the vices of materialism are not confined to America: Corruption is flourishing in the new Russia as well. On the

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Cinematic Homecomings other hand, some real virtues can be found in the United States: The camera deliberately pauses at America’s stunningly beautiful landscapes and Chicago cityscapes. Besides, the truck-driver Ben is shown to truly understand Danila, sharing his food with him and becoming his brother-in-arms, despite the absence of a common language. Despite the deliberate openness of this image for interpretations (Tarkovsky also admitted a possibility of negative interpretation of this image—as a materialization of Gorchakov’s inner discord that leads to his death [Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair (London: Faber and Faber, 1989): 213]), the cathartic effect of this image is undeniable. The director may question “whether Andrei has earned this ‘wholeness’ through suffering or a painful growth in self-knowledge” (Vida T. Johnson and Graham Petrie, The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue [Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994], 161) but for the viewer he indeed created a harmonizing image of “reconciled opposites.” Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, 49. Jean Baudrillard, Seduction, translated by Brian Singer (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1979). As Svetlana Boym notes, the Russian character’s archetypical encounter with the West is usually erotically charged. Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, 13. As Slavoj Žižek disapprovingly writes about Tarkovsky’s “standard male scenario”: “Tarkovsky’s universe is intensely male-centered, oriented on the opposition of woman/mother . . . permeated by a barely concealed disgust for the provocative woman.” Žižek, “The Thing from Inner Space,” http://www.lacan. com/zizekthing.htm. Dasha, a prostitute whom Danila rescues from sexual slavery in America, is not a woman for him but a comrade. “At war, one does not leave one of their own behind,” he claims, insisting on taking her home. The motif of doubles and the device of doubling in Nostalghia has been extensively studied by Tarkovsky scholars. Among the recent works dealing with this matter is Nariman Skakov’s chapter “Recollections of Nostalghia” in his book The Cinema of Tarkovsky: Labyrinths of Space and Time (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2012), 167–92. See, for example, Johnson and Petrie, The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue, 163. Andrei promises to carry a lit candle across a pool, as Domenico conceives self-immolation. However, Andrei forgets about his promise, and the mutual mysterious quest fails. Domenico’s glorious self-sacrifice for the sake of humanity turns into a pathetic spectacle accompanied with stuttering music and observed

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by indifferent audience. When Andrei comes to the pool to fulfill his part of the quest, it is too late: The pool has been drained, and crossing it with a candle seems to be an empty task. Trying to accomplish it anyway, Andrei dies of a heart attack. As Lipovetsky notes, according to Baudrillard, an inability to distinguish between the Other and the self constitutes a distinguishing feature of seduction (Lipovetsky, “Post-sots: Transformations of Socialist Realism in the Popular Culture of the Recent Period,” 372). We may argue that this motif in the films reflects nostalgia’s seductive quality. Turovskaya observes that in Tarkovsky’s Soliaris, a similar landscape functions as a universal emblem of human civilization. Turovskaya, 7½, ili Fil’my Andreia Tarkovskogo, 153. The characters’ confusion can be rationally explained by the fact that they are drunk. This motif recalls Eldar Riazanov’s Irony of Fate (1975) where the drunk protagonist also does not realize that he has been transferred to a different city, but in Riazanov’s film, the geographical differences were not so drastic. While people’s ability to cross borders is restricted in the films—even in Mamin’s partially magical reality—in both Nostalghia and Window to Paris we have animal characters that mysteriously coexist in two worlds, which facilitates the blurring of borders. In the former, a German shepherd dog appears in Russian scenes and accompanies Domenico in Italy. In the latter, a black cat goes back and forth between St Petersburg and Paris, discovering new passages and serving as the characters’ guide.

Works cited Baudrillard, Jean. Seduction, translated by Brian Singer. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1979. Boym, Svetlana. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books, 2001. Hashamova, Yana. “Aleksei Balabanov’s Russian Hero: Fantasies of Wounded National Pride.” Slavic and East European Journal 51, 2 (2007): 295–311. Johnson, Vida T. and Graham Petrie. The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994. Lipovetsky, Mark. “Post-sots: Transformations of Socialist Realism in the Popular Culture of the Recent Period.” Slavic and East European Journal 48, 3 (2004): 356–77. Oster, Judith. “See(k)ing the Self: Mirrors and Mirroring in Bicultural Texts.” MELUS 23, 4 (Winter 1998): 59–83. Skakov, Nariman. “Recollections of Nostalghia.” In The Cinema of Tarkovsky: Labyrinths of Space and Time. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2012, 167–92.

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Tarkovsky, Andrei. Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair. London: Faber and Faber, 1989. Turovskaya, Maya. 7½, ili Fil’my Andreia Tarkovskogo. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1991. Volkov, Solomon. Dialogi s Iosifom Brodskim. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Nezavisimaia gazeta, 2000. Žižek, Slavoj. “The Thing from Inner Space,” http://www.lacan.com/zizekthing.htm

6

Beyond Return in Turkish Diasporic Cinema Silvia Kratzer

The opening sequence of the Belgian-Turkish film Turquoise (dir. Kadir Balci 2009) immerses the viewer in an image of deep winter. The camera lingers on the mystery of the landscape, the tranquility of which could also be a mask for peril. The duality of the image is heightened as the camera pulls back and we realize that we have been contemplating not a physical landscape but a Flemish landscape painting displayed in a Belgian museum. We have been gazing at it through the eyes of Timur, a Turkish immigrant, who works as a museum guard. What initially appeared to be a scene of his ancestral village in Turkey is revealed to be an image of his exile in Belgium. In this one image, home and exile, departure and arrival, imagination and nostalgia, overlap and intersect. In doing so, it expresses a number of prevalent themes in exile and transnational cinema of recent years: the dominant ideas of “liminality,” a state of being in-between places and cultures, and “hybridity” or the mixture of identities and cultures that results from living suspended in the interstices between two or more cultures, nations, and traditions. The experience of liminality and hybridity, once theorized predominantly in the postcolonial context, now describes the fate of many of the immigrant and exile communities presently living in Europe and elsewhere. Speaking to this dilemma are several current European film movements most prominently the “beur” cinema in France, the work of Indian and Pakistani filmmakers in Britain, and the Turkish, Kurdish, and Iranian immigrant cinemas in Germany and Belgium. Unlike earlier immigrant cinemas, which tended to impute a split identity to the immigrant, for whom “wholeness” can only be found in the homeland, more recent films complicate the notions of “home,” “return,” and “identity.” No longer bound to one national configuration or

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Figure 6.1  The landscape of memory. Turquoise, 2009.

geographical anchor, these concepts are instead conceived of as a composite of experiences culled and stitched together from both the country of origin and the country of exile. More importantly, instead of the points of departure and of arrival, these films highlight the terrains the protagonists traverse (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) and the identities they construct through processes of transition. Through incorporating the influences of divergent cultures and backgrounds, these immigrant cinemas challenge rigid definitions of European national cinema. At the same time, these emerging transnational cinemas rethink, go beyond and often reverse the previously polarized concepts of home and return, arrival and departure. In so doing, they redraw the map of European national cinema to better reflect a complexly layered contemporary global environment. The literature on cinemas that bridge two or more cultures has likewise evolved in response to these developments. Earlier concepts of transnational and diasporic cinema proposed a cinema of fremdheit (cinema of alterity) where transnationals suffered various forms of “displacements” imposed on them by migration and resulting in a split identity.1 Other theories included the more allencompassing concept of “accented cinema,” nomadic cinemas of journeys, or das Kino der doppelten Kulturen (the cinema of double cultures) that foregrounds the experience of métissage and hybridity. Recent approaches take a more complex view of migrant identity, addressing a cinema of transnational mobility as well as what Will Higbee refers to as a “cinema of transvergence” that builds upon Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome.2 These new perspectives take the view that immigrant identities

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draw from a dense network of intertwining cultural elements, resulting in an inclusive and synthetic cultural identity.3 By tracing the concepts of departure and arrival, home and return across the narrative trajectories of Head On (2004) and Soul Kitchen (2009) by the German-Turkish filmmaker Fatih Akin, and Turquoise (2009) by BelgianTurkish filmmaker Kadir Balci, this chapter argues that “home” and “foreign land,” “departure” and “return” are not distinct or separable concepts but instead are tightly imbricated and mutually inclusive. The three films discussed here all consider journeys between a lost and longed-for homeland and a foreign country whose promise of a better life remains always out-of-reach. Analyzing these different forms of the “journey” allows new perspectives on transnational experience to emerge. Although hailing from vastly different cultural traditions, the three types of journey explored here—the “far-sickness” evoked by the German term Fernweh, the Islamic concept of hajj, and the mythologies of the Western Frontier—all share an understanding of the physical journey being primarily a means for the “real” spiritual and mythical journey to occur. Accordingly, this chapter undertakes a journey of its own by mapping the physical and emotional journeys of the films’ protagonists as they search for “home” while probing the underlying mythological journey and universal longing for a spiritual home that can be found only “elsewhere.”4

Journeys: Fernweh/hajj/the Western frontier The German word Fernweh, the longing for faraway places, indicates an opposite trajectory and yet contains identical sentiments to Heimweh or homesickness. While both concepts suggest a yearning for a “lost home,” Fernweh directs this quest for a sense of deeper belonging and wholeness not toward the Heimat or home country but toward the foreign land. In Fernweh, the idea of home itself is marred by a sense of displacement. Here, to set out for a foreign land is to fulfill the overarching yearning to find one’s true, spiritual (albeit ultimately unreachable) “home.”5 The Islamic hajj, or faithful believer’s pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, resonates with many of the concepts of Fernweh. Akin to the longing suggested by Fernweh, the hajj is the journey that every Muslim man or woman must undertake at least once in a lifetime to find spiritual wholeness and completion

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and carries with it the reward of achieving a sense of individual purity as well as a reminder of the transnational human community across differences of class or nationality.6 A third concept of the journey that can be applied to the immigrant films examined here is the journey to the frontier as seen in the classical Hollywood Western. Visually as well as thematically, these films share fascinating commonalities with the American Western genre. In terms of visual style, the “inside/outside” shot, which visually suggests the dramatic conflict between “civilization” and the frontier, between “home” and “freedom” and appears as a recurring motif and iconic image in many classic Westerns, seems deliberately evoked.7 Likewise, the search for a potential utopia that is a prominent theme in the classical Hollywood Western resonates with the unfulfilled longing for a better life dramatized in these immigrant narratives. These transnational films reference and reframe these inside/outside shots to comment on the relationship between home and elsewhere, departure and return, exile and homecoming. Whereas, in the Western, “home” (inside) and unlimited personal freedom (outside) are visually separated, the protagonists in these transnational films set out for a new home that increasingly erases these boundaries. Although originating from very different cultural contexts, the concepts of fernweh, hajj, and the frontier are deeply woven into the fabric of German culture and society. Fernweh is related to German Romanticism and its idealized view of the natural world as a resource where mankind can regain a sense of wholeness and spiritual completeness. Hajj also plays a significant role in contemporary Germany’s multicultural society, with its growing Muslim population. The Western genre as well has occupied a central place in German culture dating back to the extremely popular novels of Karl May (1842–1912), whose travel writings on the American West have provided the source material for numerous German Western genre feature and television films from the postwar era to the present.8 While Fernweh is dominated by the longing for a sense of freedom located in the faraway home and performing the hajj offers spiritual freedom in the fulfillment of identity, in the Western genre, freedom and the home are seen as thematically separated and visually distinct places, for instance, in the opposition between the town or ranch house and the wide-open, unexplored wilderness beyond. But similar to the hajj, the Western frontier also presents the promise of spiritual freedom in attaining God’s country, a utopia untainted by the sins and corruptions of civilization.9 In their longing for the far-away, mythical/spiritual

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home found only in and through the journey, these concepts overlap and at times appear to mirror each other. This shared preoccupation can provide a central element in the rethinking of national cinemas by revealing new and unexpected connections between the center and the margins, Islam and the West. The Western’s structural oppositions between law and order, justice and civilization, on the one hand, and the unlimited personal and individual freedom represented by the frontier, on the other, resonate with the journeys taken up in the transnational films examined here. The migrant sets out from the homeland and a home that has become a trap and place of alienation to another land in search of the mythical frontier and its promise of a truer sense of “home.” The old home is left behind and the journey across the frontier commences to an imagined God’s country or an envisioned utopia that the country of migration seems to present. It is here in the new land that law and justice, as well as freedom, seems to be within the migrant’s grasp. Another thematic parallel concerns the Western hero, who, by the close of the classical Western cycle, frequently remains an exile and a wanderer, rejecting a home with its confinement and corruption and perpetually searching for a lost Eden; for instance, the closing images of Head On show the protagonists on the road, in search for an unknown home elsewhere. Home itself is found only in the journey and the state of being in transition.

Soul Kitchen In Fatih Akin’s Soul Kitchen (2009), home for Zanos, the film’s young GreekGerman protagonist, is associated with Soul Kitchen, his incongruously named third-rate German restaurant located in the outskirts of an industrial area of Hamburg. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that Soul Kitchen also serves as a surrogate home for a reliable clientele who return there nightly for the pre-cooked “ersatz” German cuisine that Zanos dutifully dishes up to fulfill their demands for “German home-cooked” food. Yet, given its run-down state, catatonic customers, and unchanging menu, Soul Kitchen is the image of home as a trap—for Zanos, his German customers, and even for Socrates, Zanos’ elderly and grumpy tenant. Socrates spends his days jealously guarding his boat, which he never takes out of its storage shed. The boat serves as a recurrent visual reminder of the stunted desire for travel and change along with the stasis currently afflicting the characters of Soul Kitchen.

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Home here is a trap and Socrates, like Soul Kitchen’s old German customers, has gone bitter, sour, and stale. Over the course of the film, the home space of the restaurant undergoes a series of transformations, the first of which is catalyzed by a series of mishaps that befall Zanos. He dislocates his vertebrae, has to take responsibility for his never-do-well criminal brother, is evading the taxman, and to top it off he is threatened by the German mafia. But unlike other miserablist exile narratives, Soul Kitchen treats these events as comedy, not tragedy. The first in a series of unwanted “returns” comes in the form of the recurring visits of the German authorities from the health inspectors to the tax collectors who threaten to shut down Soul Kitchen for good. These visits usher in a series of renovations where Soul Kitchen transforms from an unsanitary dump to a newly styled gathering place for its daily returning guests who make Soul Kitchen their home away from home. Unlike earlier exile films, here the authorities turn out to help rather than hinder the formation of the home. Faced with the prospect of losing his home, Zanos initiates a series of improvements that culminate in his hiring of Shayn, a volatile Gypsy hautecuisine cook who throws out the canned German sausages and insists on a dailychanging menu. Confronted with the shock of Shayn’s bold culinary inventions (such as the bizarrely-named “Accupuncture-Soup du Jour”) on the now multicultural menu instead of the familiar canned sausage and potato salad, the old German regulars deprived of their old home with its reliable standard fare, abandon Soul Kitchen as their home and flee in droves never to return, leaving a despondent Zanos with a newly transformed but now empty restaurant. With the unwanted return of Zanos’ jailbird brother Iliad, things take an unexpected turn for the better. Iliad demands that his unwilling brother sign a work permit stating that Iliad is working at Soul Kitchen so that he can be on a daily furlough from prison. From now on, Iliad returns each day to Soul Kitchen and each night to his jail cell. Iliad’s insistence on acting as Soul Kitchen’s new resident DJ with a stage full of stolen equipment attracts a new hipper clientele to the restaurant. Business takes off, with Soul Kitchen providing a home both for young Germans and a dynamic group of international immigrants, reflecting the changing face of present-day Germany. Germany is no longer static but, like Shayn’s mind-bending menu, constantly engaged in a process of flux and transformation. Despite its physical transformation, Soul Kitchen remains a trap of sorts for Zanos, who can’t bring himself to leave it in order to follow Nadine, his

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beautiful German girlfriend to Shanghai. Thin, tall, and blonde, Nadine visually embodies the quintessential poster-stereotype of German womanhood. In direct opposition to Zanos, Nadine finds herself in the grip of the all-consuming yearning of “Fernweh” for a forever out-of-reach faraway place. She cannot understand Zanos’ obsession with Soul Kitchen and instead wants him to leave with her for Shanghai, the locus of her “Fernweh” fantasy. When Zanos finally does get his plane ticket to Shanghai and arrives at the airport, limping and harried, for his reluctant departure, he sees Nadine just arriving with her new Chinese boyfriend Han. Since there is now no point in leaving, Zanos returns to Soul Kitchen without ever having left, collapsing his departure and return. Zanos’ ill-conceived attempt at leaving for Shanghai turns out to be a grave mistake. Having signed over power of attorney of Soul Kitchen to Iliad, his unreliable brother promptly gambles away the restaurant that very night. Having lost his home, Zanos fights his nemesis, Neuman, the German mafia pimp, to win it back. Through a twist of fate and borrowed money from Nadine’s inheritance (her return to Germany was occasioned by the death of her wealthy grandmother), Zanos is able to buy back Soul Kitchen. The film culminates with a private party at the restaurant where Zanos and Anna, the Turkish immigrant and physical therapist with whom Zanos has fallen in love, celebrate together. Just as Soul Kitchen provides a common home to Germans and immigrants alike, it allows Greeks and Turks to transcend ancient rivalries in the new, culturally layered Germany. Visually, Soul Kitchen juxtaposes exteriors of a gray and cold Hamburg industrial area with the rich and colorful interiors of Soul Kitchen. Yet, the most striking inside/outside shots occur when Zanos returns nightly via his Skype video calls to Nadine in Shanghai, simultaneously her place of displacement from home in Hamburg and also her sense of home in Fernweh’s imaginary. On the computer screen, Nadine’s face appears slightly distorted, familiar, and yet strange. The shot frames her both inside and outside, trapped inside the computer monitor and yet, outside, in the foreign land of Shanghai. Outside and inside are wrapped around each other in one image. After their Skype break-up, Zanos burns his computer in a rage, thus eliminating the border between inside/outside. Soul Kitchen, like much of Akin’s cinema, reverses expectations and transgresses boundaries. Zanos may be trapped by his devotion to “home,” yet this entrapment offers its own journey inward from which he emerges refined and purified with a heightened sense of identity and authenticity. The outward

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physical and geographical journey is replaced by a more profound inward emotional journey. Rejecting the call of Fernweh, Zanos instead undertakes a series of inward-spiraling journeys leading him not to an escape to an elsewhere but returning him home over and over again and propelling him ever deeper into a more complex and liberating sense of belonging and wholeness. His home is ever-changing and forces him to confront and excavate ever new layers of his identity now, like his home, engaged in a process of transit. Whereas the Western genre upholds the division between home and freedom, Soul Kitchen transgresses and collapses it and in so doing, redefines the traditional exile narratives’ structural opposition between a longing for home and the search for a better life in a geographical elsewhere.

Head On Like Soul Kitchen, Head On (2004) reverses many conventions of the exile film. Endings turn into beginnings and symbolic death into rebirth. The suicide attempt of Cahit, the protagonist, that forms the climax of the opening sequence leads to his physical recovery in the hospital, where he encounters Sibel, a young Turkish-German woman, who reluctantly leads him into an arranged marriage. But theirs is the reverse of a typical arranged marriage. Sibel wants to be liberated from her family’s brutal patriarchal oppression and a Turkish husband is her ticket to freedom. While her family believes they are turning her over from one male protector to another, in reality her seemingly traditional Turkish marriage is a scam. Cahit and Sibel make a deal: he marries her so she can be free to live the life of the unrestricted, sexually liberated young German woman she craves to be. However, unlike many transnational narratives, the role of wife here serves as a fake identity not to appease the German authorities as in traditional exile narratives, but to appease the traditional and familial authority that Sibel’s Turkish father and brother exert over her. Now married in the traditional Turkish way, Sibel makes a new home with Cahit but is free each night to do as she pleases. Unexpectedly, she and Cahit gradually fall passionately in love, although she stops the consummation of their marriage at the last moment since then it would be a real marriage, and thus in her mind a trap. Their love has tragic consequences when Sibel’s German ex-lover jealously taunts Cahit and Cahit accidentally kills him and is convicted of murder. Their real marriage ends before it has a chance to begin.

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For Sibel, the murder ushers in a series of displacements, as her father disowns her once it becomes clear that she has been leading a double identity and her brother tries to kill her in the streets of Hamburg as the Turkish tradition of the so-called honor killing dictates. Sibel has to flee Hamburg, the only home she has ever known, to return “home” to Istanbul in order to escape from the traditions of the homeland. Return and home, escape and foreign land are tightly intertwined. Hamburg is both home and foreign land; Istanbul is both her place of exile and her return to her homeland. Exile and home return and departure have become interchangeable, leaving no place for Sibel to call her home. There is no escape from “return” that catches up with the protagonist even in the foreign land, both Hamburg and Istanbul. She has come to the end of her road. It is not a return to her home and identity but a sense of displacement and alienation that awaits her within her own homeland of Turkey. In Istanbul, she writes in her letters to Cahit that the city that is supposed to be her home has become her jail. Unable to express her true identity as a liberated woman, she dresses like a man. As was her habit in Germany, she tries to score drugs and live a life of sexual and personal freedom. At the end of her journey “home” that is simultaneously her journey into exile, she is brutally raped and, in a shockingly graphic scene, her identity is violently beaten out of her as she brutalized to a bloody pulp by three Turkish men and left for dead in the streets of Istanbul. Resonating with Cahit’s suicide attempt and symbolic death at the beginning of the film, Sibel’s road “home” leads to her symbolic death and while she also experiences a sort of rebirth, she seems, unlike Cahit, emotionally catatonic and resigned. There is no escape for Sibel from her return home to tradition either in Hamburg where her own family tries to kill her, or in Istanbul where her identity is literally raped and beaten out of her. Cahit, on the other hand, returns from prison a changed man, free to live a more authentic self. He has recovered from his alcoholism, gained purpose and direction in his life, and wants to rejoin Sibel and return to their marriage, this time for real. When they meet in Istanbul 4 years later, they finally consummate their marriage in a hotel. In an ambiguous image, Sibel packs her suitcase to leave with Cahit, but then sits down on her bed at the home she shares with her Turkish boyfriend and their young daughter. Ultimately, she decides not to join Cahit in either their marriage or their journey onward to more fully realized identity. Sibel seems to have resigned herself to a semblance of traditional Turkish life. It is an uneasy compromise, for Sibel is neither Turkish nor German. Perhaps the

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tragedy of her character is in her uneasy attempt to fit herself into a traditional life and identity, even if it is a lie that produces a fractured identity, rather than embracing the potential of a multifaceted and perhaps fluid identity and self. Whereas Cahit is institutionalized twice (clinic and jail) and symbolically resurrected to a new life and a new identity, Sibel seems suspended in no-man’s land. She is not a traditional Turkish woman—she retains her short-cropped hair and is not married to her boyfriend—and yet she is stuck in a precarious semblance of home that she is now unable to leave and that becomes her selfimposed trap. It is Cahit who continues the journey, his personal hajj. In Akin’s films, as in the hajj, the journey itself is the real home, be they inward journeys toward home as in Soul Kitchen or through introspection in jail, or outward journeys that traverse new terrains and territories. Being on the road, rather than being static and unchanging, is to find one’s “home.” In fact, redemption cannot be found without ever leaving home. As often in Akin’s cinema, Head On’s ending marks a collapse of opposites in yet another sense: that of departure and arrival, of an end and a beginning. Cahit waits for Sibel to leave with him as she had promised. When she does not come, he boards a bus to Meriad, where he believes he was born. He has come home in a truer sense because he refuses to remain entrapped by place. Whereas at the beginning of the film he drove his car head-on into a wall in an attempted suicide, now we see him moving forward. Where the earlier image signified suicide and death, the film’s closing image evokes the personal journey of hajj and Fernweh to a place he has never seen but imagines as his home. The end of his story is also a return home to his origins. But it is more of a mental and spiritual journey than a journey to a specific geographical location since we never see his arrival. Instead, his moving forward is his arrival. The ending resonates in opposite ways with that of Wim Wender’s Paris, Texas (1984). Here, too, the protagonist imagines a place of origin where he believes he was conceived but that remains forever out of reach. The geographical location of Paris, Texas is a place the protagonist imagines but never attempts to reach and that thus remains devoid of any redemptive power. In Paris, Texas, the imagined place of origin only heightens the protagonist’s sense of displacement and alienation. Head On, by contrast, leaves Cahit as the bus snakes along the road home to his birthplace. Cahit’s desire to reach an imagined place of origin is seen as part of an ongoing, never-ending journey. The journey itself is the arrival. For to stand still, as imagined in the static concept of Heimat, is to never undertake the journey of hajj and thus never find a deeper sense of self and wholeness of identity.10

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Throughout the film, sound and music plays a prominent role. The film returns repeatedly to a small traditional Turkish orchestra set up at the side of the Bosporus, with the city of Istanbul in the background. The traditional Turkish love songs performed by the music group serve as a refrain and ironic commentary to Cahit and Sibel’s love story, and function as Akin’s homage to the classical Turkish film genre.11 From one scene to the next, the camera remains static, framing the orchestra in the exact same way each time we revisit the scene at the Bosporus, and hear the performance of a new song. Changes in the light suggest that the narrative occurs over the course of a day, while in reality it unfolds over at least 4 or 5 years. In returning repeatedly to this scene that resembles a staged tourist attraction, Akin seems to be suggesting that any return to a fixed and static Turkish identity, frozen and unchanging in time, is possible only in the imagination, carried away by the sentiments of traditional melodies. The recurring scene also collapses inside and outside, home and foreign land, since the orchestra is set up both inside and outside: inside because a large Oriental rug, in the tradition of a Turkish living room, forms a make-shift stage on which the musician plays; and outside since the orchestra is set up in the open air on the riverbanks opening up a sprawling view of the city of Istanbul. The musicians are physically located and play on the European side of the Bosporus but visually, they are framed against the panorama of the Asian side beyond the water’s strait and the river that divides the European and the Asian continents. Return itself is suspended between home and elsewhere, between inside (carpet) and outside (riverbank) and between the divide between two continents, Europe and Asia. Language and music comment on the characters’ dilemmas and fluid sense of self throughout. In Istanbul, when Cahit searches for Sibel and speaks of his love for her to her cousin, he suddenly switches to English, citing the Grateful Dead’s lyrics “She Gives Me Love” since his love is not bound to either his Turkish or his German identity. The film alternates between Western musical motifs (such as the Grateful Dead’s “She Gives Me Love,” Depeche Mode’s “I Feel You,” Sister of Mercy’s “Temple of Love”) and traditional Turkish love songs. Early on in the film, after Cahit’s initial suicidal car crash, a benevolent but paternalistic German therapist asks him what his name means in Turkish. Cahit does not know the answer to the meaning of his own name and by implication his own identity. Head On sends Cahit onto a journey of self-discovery to find exactly that missing identity. However, in Akin’s films, identity is shaped not in the static, predetermined way the therapist had in mind, but is a dynamic,

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ever-changing concept, born out of and forged from a multitude of cultural and personal experiences and forever in the making. By reimagining identity in this fashion, Akin’s cinema helps redefine German national cinema by liberating it from its moorings and thus refashioning and reimagining national and personal identity.

Turquoise Turquoise (2009) by Belgian-Turkish filmmaker Kadir Balci follows the identity crisis experienced by three Turkish brothers (Editz, Timur, and Bora) who live in the Belgian city of Ghent, after they return their recently deceased father’s remains to Turkey. Timur, the middle brother and protagonist of the film, and his brothers undergo a series of “returns” that shatter the illusion of clearly defined or even divided identities and uncover instead identities in transit. The winter landscape painting described at the beginning of this chapter is an image that recurs throughout the film. It is a striking image that alludes to the American Western’s inside/outside shot but turns it inside out. Here, the outside (winter landscape) associated in the Western with freedom is actually an inside image and framed several times: by the painting’s frame, the museum context, and by Timur, for whom it serves as a reminder of his home village. What appears to be outside (the winter landscape) is in actuality inside (the picture frame and the museum). Moreover, instead of depicting the home village in Turkey, the painting is actually a Flemish landscape. Whereas in the Western genre’s iconic inside/outside shot, the shot from inside the home denotes law, order, and civilization and the view toward the outside denotes unlimited personal freedom, in this shot, inside and outside overlap and mirror each other. The landscape painting seems to speak of Timur’s (imagined) home but instead of inside, it is in reality outside since he is separated spatially and temporally from this home image. And yet it is also inside since this view of “home” is inside the frame and inside the museum. And of course, the image of “home” is in reality revealed to be not the Turkish village but an image of Belgium that anchors its national past. In this one image, home and foreign land, return and departure, inside and outside, the freedom of an elsewhere and the enclosure in the home collapse onto each other. The themes condensed in this image unfold slowly for the film’s characters over the course of the narrative. In Belgium, Timur’s older brother, Editz, presides

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over the nightly dinner table with patriarchal authority, dictating that everyone upholds the ancient Turkish traditions. He demands that his childless wife, Zara, watch only Turkish television channels and forbids her to learn Flemish or that any family members speak Flemish in his presence. The dinner table gathering upholds an illusion of a nightly return to tradition and the lost home of Turkey. For each of the characters—and as we will see even for Editz—this enforced return becomes a trap that stifles their identity. Timur conceals that his girlfriend Sarah is Belgian, Zara conceals that she secretly watches Belgian television and the youngest brother, Bora, conceals that he has fallen into petty crime as a form of escape. The price of return to tradition is heavy. Even Editz himself has an alter ego and lives a dual identity. He conceals that he has a secret and carefully guarded Belgian identity. He only married his Turkish wife Zara to keep with tradition. In reality he has been in love with and carries on a longstanding affair with his Belgian girlfriend, who knows him only as Eddy. His two names, Editz and Eddy, point to the broken identity that is a result of the forced return to tradition. After returning to Belgium following the family’s trip to Istanbul for their father’s funeral, Editz/Eddy, alone in his car, finally breaks down crying, faced with his own fractured identity and unable to fully be with either his Turkish wife Zara or his secret Belgian girlfriend. An inside/outside shot frames him inside his car’s claustrophobic interior, while the outside world is veiled in a layer of melancholy as rain obscures any glimpse of freedom or an open view or landscape. Visually, both interior and exterior spaces close in on him, immobilizing and dwarfing him. Inside and outside, home and freedom, return and exile are equal traps for him. He looks at himself in his rear view mirror—his own identity visually trapped, just as his insistence on returning to a traditional Turkish identity and past traps and suffocates him and his family. Emboldened by their recent visit to a “homeland” so clearly not his home, Timur confronts Editz/Eddy and forces him to face the impossibility of maintaining the traditions that Editz has tyrannically forced upon the entire family. Confronted about his affair, Editz confesses that he is infertile and cannot have children but allowed his Turkish wife to believe she was at fault. His façade of “traditional” manhood is destroyed and with this the pretense of his closedoff Turkish identity. It is only in the shattering of the illusion of wholeness of identity that he finally liberates his wife and family and ultimately himself. The brothers’ mother, Myriam, must also confront the impossibility of return to tradition, in her case during her visit to the home country. Her old friends in

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Istanbul comment that she has become a stranger, more Belgian than Turkish. At her coming-home party, they are affronted by her refusal to read the coffee grounds and her confession that she served them Belgian instead of Turkish coffee. To them, she is a stranger and for Myriam, homecoming is a rupture that forever severs her from any illusions of return. In Turquoise, return is splintered off into fractured and partial returns. There is Timur’s return in the imagination (painting); Editz’s return to the outdated traditions he forces on the family; the return to the city of Istanbul that is already a displacement since it is not the family’s ancestral village; the return to the country of Turkey where the family through their long absence has already become strangers; and at the end, the return of Timur to his Belgian girlfriend. To some extent, the family’s journey is one of hajj, a journey elsewhere to find one’s self. Just as hajj demands not a return from one’s journey to an old identity but instead challenges the pilgrim and the traveler to set out on a life-changing and identity-transforming journey, the family’s “pilgrimage” to Istanbul to deposit their father’s remains is what forces them to realize their need to change. This is reinforced when toward the end, the film returns one last time to the winter landscape painting. Only now we perceive the painting quite differently as we hear Timur’s grandfather in voice-over tell of the brutally harsh winters at home that he decided to escape to make a better life for himself and his family elsewhere, first in the city of Istanbul and then in Belgium. As we contemplate the landscape one final time, its romanticized overtones have been stripped and laid bare. The Turkish home village imagined in the painting is revealed not as a fantasized locus of home and belonging but a hostile place that the family had to escape from to find a better and more hospitable home elsewhere. The notion of home and the fantasy of a return to this home is uprooted from its anchor in the fantasy of a fixed geographical ancestral place and home is instead freed to be reimagined as the place of one’s own choosing. As in Head On, music plays a key role in the intermingling of national and personal identities. Timur is a passionate brass player. He felt instantly at home upon his initial arrival in Belgium when he heard and subsequently joined a brass band. Here he learns from his Belgian conductor that many brass instruments including the trumpet that are considered integral to the musical heritage of Northern Europe in fact originated in the Ottoman Empire. What was perceived as the foreign culture is revealed to be the culture of his homeland. At one point, as Timur and Sarah make love, we hear a song sung in Turkish. Then the camera pans and almost seamlessly cuts to a shot of Myriam, Timur’s

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mother, who chose to remain in Turkey after her husband’s funeral. Only then do we realize that the song originated in her kitchen as she reminisces over a wedding souvenir. The song bridges Timur’s love for his Belgian girlfriend with his mother’s love for his father, collapsing cultural difference through emotion and memory. Perhaps most importantly, in this scene the music bridges Belgium and Istanbul, while the camera movement makes it appear as if Myriam were in the room with Timur. Thus, visually and aurally, home and exile, Belgium and Turkey overlap and merge. At the film’s conclusion, Timur returns to Sarah, with whom he had broken up in order to appease his brother. Accompanied by his Belgian brass band, he serenades her from outside her window by playing Spanish guitar. Like Cahit in Head On, who speaks in a third language, English, when he expresses his love for Sibel, Timur finds an alternative means of expression. Love is not rooted in this or that culture, in the division between home and foreign land but in language or music that eludes and transgresses both. Visually, the camera is set up from the inside looking out as Sarah is shown from the inside as she watches Timur and his brass band framed through the window outside. Inside and outside have been reframed and repositioned in a careful equilibrium as places of freedom. Whereas in previous exile films (resonating with the Western), inside denotes a confining home and outside offers the freedom of an elsewhere but also the absence or loss of home, here there is no longer a division of inside and outside, exile and home. Home for Timur is with Sarah and his music, not with Editz and his traditional family dinners; home is an expression of individual liberation, not repression. In Turquoise, a home that is imposed upon by one’s family and traditions is exposed as a dangerous illusion that inevitably produces fractured and broken identities. Timur loses a sense of self and purpose when he breaks up with his Belgian girlfriend and Editz has a double life as Eddy. Identities regain a sense of wholeness only once they are engaging in a complex process of transition. Instead of fixating on his ancestral village as home and his brother’s expectations of him, Timur accepts a new home and, with his Belgian girlfriend Sarah, a more complex sense of self. The fact that at the moment of his return, he chooses to express himself through Spanish music instead of either Turkish or Belgian points to the development of a third, perhaps less fixed and more fluid and playful sense of identity. The same is true for Editz who learns to let go of a static and restricted sense of Turkish male identity that did not allow for emotional expressions and comes to terms with a more vulnerable self composed of a fluid

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mix of both Editz and Eddy, his Turkish and his Belgian identities. It is only in accepting the transitory nature of identity that the previously elusive longing for wholeness can be attained.

Conclusion The films analyzed in this chapter point to changing configurations of home and return. No longer is the foreign land seen as a place of entrapment and a separation from a lost home. Instead, homecoming in these films represents a return to a deeper sense of self and identity that cannot be found in the geographical home of one’s origin. The very parameters of home and return have shifted. Return is a coming home to a truer sense of self, and it is the journey to the foreign land that affords a more fully actualized identity. The main protagonists in these films set out on their personal journeys, ones that traverse physical and spiritual terrain. Each one undertakes his or her own hajj, or is propelled onward by Fernweh to seek a higher self and a more complete sense of home. Like the mythological heroes of the American Western, they find themselves at a spiritual frontier perched at the threshold, between worlds of home as confinement and home as utopian potential elsewhere. Setting out on one’s journey is itself a return and any attempts to actually return to a geographical or traditional origin of home reveals itself illusionary and spirals into further entrapment. Transnational mobility in these films no longer denotes an undesirable state of living in-between, “not here nor there,” as so often suggested in notions of liminality and hybridity. Mobility offers instead paths for and inroads into cycles of renewals where the journey itself is the “coming home.”

Notes 1 See, for instance, Daniela Berghahn, and Claudia Sternberg (eds), European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 5–9. 2 Gilles Deleuze, and Feliz Guittari. A Thousand Plateaus, translated by Brian Massumi (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). 3 For a discussion ungrounding the notions of national cinemas, see Will Higbee, “Beyond the (trans)national: Toward a Cinema of Transvergence in Postcolonial

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and Diasporic Francophone Cinema(s).” Studies in French Cinema 7, 2 (2007): 79–91. See also “Ungrounding the Narrative of Nation.” Film Philosophy 13, 1 (April 2009): 156–64. Much of Werner Herzog’s work is intricately tied to the sentiments and ideologies of Fernweh albeit not always with positive repercussions. (e.g. Fitzcarraldo, 1982). Kratzer-Juilfs, Silvia. “Home, Utopia, and the Reversal of Fernweh in Turkish and Iranian Exile Films in Germany.” In Exile Cinema as National Cinema: Re-Defining German National Cinema (PhD dissertation, University of California Los Angeles, 1996). “BBC Religions,” last modified September 8, 2009. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ religions/islam/practices/hajj_1.shtml John Ford was particularly known for his prominent use of the inside/outside shot as seen in Stagecoach and the iconic The Searchers. This shot can be found in most American Westerns as a recurrent visual motif of the view from inside a dark ranch house, denoting civilization and law and order but also confinement. Framing an outside view through an open door pointing to an awe-inspiring panorama of the freedom stretching as far as the eye can see of the wide open wilderness and God’s country, the shot suggests both danger and the promise of an endless utopian potential. The Western’s inside/outside shots suggest the uneasy and fragile balance between the values of civilization and those of the Frontier where the protagonists frequently are framed standing on the threshold perched between the confining safety of the inside and civilization of the ranch and the awe-inspiring but dangerous grandeur of the Western frontier opening up on the outside. Prominent German Westerns inspired by Karl May’s writings include Winnetou and the Treasure of the Silverlake (1962) and Winnetou/Apache Gold (1963), Old Shatterhand/Apache’s Last Battle (1964) as well as television films in the 1980s and 1990s, for example, Winnetou’s Return (1998). The Western image of John Wayne leaving town and riding off into the sunset toward a breathtaking landscape and the freedom elsewhere is one of the classical and most recognized images at the end of many Westerns. I have argued elsewhere that the German cinema itself intersects in various ways with the transnational cinema haunted by an overwhelming sense of displacement and alienation from home, where “Heimat” is only an idealization of home, fraught with propagandistic elements of an identity bound to geographical determinants rather than freely chosen. My own work on the subject theorizes a fluid sense of self rather than a split or fractured self. See “Exile Cinema as National Cinema: Re-Defining German National Cinema” (1996). Deniz Göktürk. “Sound Bridges: Transnational Mobility as Ironic Melodrama,” in Berghahn and Steinberg (2010).

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Works cited Berghahn, Daniela and Claudia Sternberg (eds). European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Burns, Rob. “On the Streets and on the Road: Identity in Transit in Turkish–German Travelogues on Screen.” New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 7, 1 (2009): 11–26. Higbee, Will. “Beyond the (trans)national: Toward a Cinema of Transvergence in Postcolonial and Diasporic Francophone Cinema(s).” Studies in French Cinema 7, 2 (2007): 79–91. Kratzer-Juilfs, Silvia. “Exile Cinema as National Cinema: Re-Defining German National Cinema.” PhD dissertation, University of California Los Angeles, 1996. —. “Return, Transference, and the Constructedness of Experience in German/ Turkish Documentary Film.” In Feminism and Documentary 1999, edited by Diane Wiedman, and Janet Walker. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 1999, 187–201. Novak, Marcos. “Speciation, transvergence, allogenesis: Notes on the Production of the Alien.” Architectural Design 72, 3 (2002): 64–71. Pratt Ewing, Katherine. “Diasporic Turkish Women and the (dis)pleasure of Hybridity.” Cultural Anthropology 21, 2 (2006): 265–94. Seeßlen, Georg. “Das Kino der doppelten Kulturen. Erster Streifzug durch ein unbekanntes Kino-Terrain.” epd Film 12 (2000): 22–9. Zuss, Mark. “Strategies of Representation: Autobiographical Métissage and Critical Pragmatism.” Educational Theory 47, 2 (1997): 163–80.

Part Three

Exilic Subjectivity and the Politics of Return

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Staying Home: Cuban Exile Film from Within Mariana Johnson

When considering, in the context of Cuban national culture, the vexed question of exile and emigration, one of the most powerful tropes to appear is that of abandonment. In the wake of the Revolution, the new government moved to characterize leaving the country as an unequivocal act of betrayal. A joint declaration issued in 1960 by Fidel Castro, the 26th of July Revolutionary Movement, and the Communist Party stated that those “who escape their duty, taking the road to the north, have lost the right to be worthy sons of the fatherland.”1 Along with this clear invocation of the nation as family and a discourse of paternalism (“duty . . . worthy sons . . . fatherland”), leaving the country also became linked to the abandonment of one’s nuclear family, taking on a moral significance that was echoed in a 1965 Che Guevara speech, in which he deemed the flight of artists and intellectuals a kind of “original sin”—they had never been authentic revolutionaries.2 This moral melding of the family and the nation is linked as well to laws that explicitly define leaving the country as an act not of travel but of renunciation. The official line taken was that if a Cuban leaving the country did not return within the 60-day limit stipulated by his or her reentry visa, that individual’s departure constituted “a definitive abandonment,” and the state had the right to confiscate all property without compensation.3 Leaving the country thus carried associations of disloyalty, betrayal, or at the very least, neglect. For those who left, the “definitive abandonment” policy came to embody a quintessential example of their illegitimate punishment, a forceful robbery of the past that went beyond the painful separation from the homeland. For generations of Cubans and Cuban Americans, the inextricable association of migration with not just the leaving but the forsaking of one’s home and family (in both figurative

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and material senses) entwined the political and the domestic in ways that have created permanent repercussions in Cuban national and exile communities. The fixation on this fraught dynamic has not been entirely sublimated—it has been explored in films and videos made inside Cuba and out, many of which emphasize betrayal and shame, presenting conflicts over the home as central to the exile-national relationship. This chapter examines exile cinema within the context of Cuba’s state-sponsored film industry, the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). Rather than focusing on work produced from an interstitial “first” world location, I consider the representation of exile from within a home country. How have Cuban filmmakers imagined migration through their own national cinema? To what extent do they engage with or critique the political rhetoric of abandonment? Specifically, it focuses on what has become a key text in the Cuban discourse on exile and emigration, Jesus Díaz’s Lejanía (1985), a kind of exilic film, but one made at home, and with a narrative that is ultimately about not-traveling. In other words, it is not the physical journey, or even existential nostalgia over separation, that gets foregrounded in Lejanía. Instead, like so many other Cuban films that followed, it expresses ideas about what it means to remain in place while others around you, including your friends and family, are leaving. By reversing an approach that emphasizes the experience of migration in terms of home to host, periphery to center, I seek to expand on studies of diasporic and exilic media that show a preoccupation with deterritorialization itself as a privileged site for aesthetic innovation, or that downplay the historic, economic, and political specificities of different kinds of transnational flows. Hamid Naficy’s An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking brought attention to the styles and interstitial modes of production characteristic of some exilic and diasporic film and media. While acknowledging that “there is nothing common about diaspora,” Naficy’s project was geared toward categorizing numerous shared features, or stylistic “accents” of deterritorialized film—the commonalities of which, he stressed, “in today’s climate of lethal ethnic difference need to be considered, even emphasized.”4 The characteristics of Naficy’s “accented style” are wide, but a major assumption undergirding his approach is that “all great authorship is predicated on distance—banishment and exile of sorts—from the larger society. The resulting tensions and ambivalences produce the complexity and the intensity that are so characteristic of great works of art and literature.”5 Among all the different modes of travel, the condition of exile has long carried

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romantic associations of artistic solitude and the kind of outsider status that lends itself to avant-gardism. Curiously, however, Cuban exile film is nowhere represented in Naficy’s “accented” cinema, or in the scholar Laura Marks’s “intercultural” cinema, which likewise links filmmakers’ experiences of exile and diaspora with formal experimentation.6 Its absence represents not a weakness of those theories so much as an opportunity to widen and further complicate them. Simply put, the Cuban case does not align with approaches that see an integral link between displacement and avant-gardism, or between exile and progressively hybrid expressions of culture. As the history of Cuban exile in the United States has shown, the experience of deterritorialization can just as easily fuel regressive politics, class-based national consolidation, and hegemonic culture. The Cuban case is also atypical in the large extent to which the subject of exile has been deeply explored within the island’s own national cinema. This has been especially true since the onset, in 1990, of what is known as “the Special Period,” an era of sustained economic decline brought about by the collapse of the island’s socialist trading partners. As Michael Chanan and others have noted, the destabilization of the economy, and of revolutionary society more generally, contributed to a new culture in which it was more acceptable and more common to explore the subject of exile and emigration.7 We could go farther and say that today, it is hard to find a Cuban narrative feature that does not address migration in some essential way. The topic has come to dominate screens as filmmakers create characters for whom questions of leaving, staying, and returning are part of their everyday realities, and who imagine alternative life possibilities through questions about travel. In other words, a more complete understanding of exilic cinema must begin to consider the perspectives of those who stay, those who might not enact the exilic or migrant experience but are nonetheless marked by it, or who may struggle with exile and territorial displacement as, to borrow the words of Arjun Appadurai, “an imagined life possibility.”8 Appadurai makes a transition from Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities” to posit “imagined worlds” as the new site for cultural analysis in an era of globalization. He expands on Anderson’s concept of nationalism as imagined camaraderie made possible through print capitalism to analyze how flows of visual media, finance, and ideas are shaping new worlds defined beyond the geography of the nation-state and by the “historically situated imaginations of persons and groups spread around the globe.”9 Appadurai emphasizes the imagination as a social practice with

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consequence—not mere fantasy, escapism, or removed contemplation. It is a force affecting how individuals think about life possibilities, define themselves, and engage with (or subvert) their own governments. Appadurai’s subtle framework relates well to the Cuban case, where seemingly antagonistic monologues between Castro’s state and the US government mask actual negotiation taking place through culture. Cuban film and television, despite being subsidized by the state, have offered an intermediate ground for nuanced political thought and personal expression. Rather than supporting a reading in which the increased deterritorialization of peoples around the globe is celebrated as a “post-national” moment, however, the Cuban case points to the national and transnational as an evolving, reciprocally constitutive relationship, one in which the power of the national should not be underestimated. For although it is true that an overemphasis on Cuba as an isolated or blockaded island reflects a narrowly North American perspective, one frequently fetishized and oversimplified in popular culture and political rhetoric, it would be a mistake for scholars to dismiss the power of the state to enforce geopolitical insularity. Movement of bodies, goods, media, and capital is rarely taken for granted as an option in Cuba. Travel is a governmentalized sphere of action in which considerations of leaving are, as we have seen, often measured against a perceived national investment in staying. This is not to suggest, of course, that emigration isn’t equally fraught in other societies, but in the Cuban case the issue of leaving carries peculiar consequences, having to do with the nature of its Communist revolution. To remain as a Cuban citizen equates at least on some levels to being a participant in that revolution; to leave often means enduring not simply physical separation but erasure from the nationalist narrative. This official stance was largely mirrored in early revolutionary cinema. In a famous scene from Memorias del subdesarrollo/ Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea 1968), the main character, Sergio, watches through a glass partition as his friend leaves the country for exile in Miami; in voice-over Sergio says, “I realize that Pablo is not Pablo, but my own life. Everything I don’t want to be. It’s good to see them leaving. Just as if I vomited them up.” This kind of excretory language was not uncommon in official revolutionary rhetoric that cast the exile process as a purging of undesirables. Such attitudes reached their apex during the 1980 Mariel exodus, when emigrants gathered at the Peruvian Embassy were labeled escoria (scum). Distinguishing the Marielitos from the legitimate Cuban people, Castro said, “let the imperialists not mistake our people for that scum we gladly allowed to leave the country.”10

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But if official discourse maintained a stance on the rapid and welcome expulsion of exiles, cinematic engagement with Cuba’s “others” has been a process of gradual and ambivalent reincorporation. Lejanía is generally considered the first feature-length Cuban film to confront the issue of exile explicitly or to dramatize the encounter between nationals and those exiles who come back to visit—in the film’s case, a mother returning to visit the son she left behind. Other films, not excluding Memorias, certainly grapple with the topic, but Lejanía constitutes a sustained effort to deal with it, and the film deserves greater attention, especially as it became an influential text in the Cuban emigration cinema of the slightly later Special Period. Not only did Lejanía deal with a subject long considered taboo, it did so in a manner both sympathetic and critical, moving away from the oppositional logics of revolutionary identity in favor of a more nuanced transnationalism.

(Trans)national allegory Lejanía occupies an unusual place in Cuban film history. For one, it was made during a decade that has been associated with aesthetic decline, when critics were beginning to wonder whether or not Cuban filmmakers could live up to the standards of the revolutionary, engagé, stylistically innovative, and often Brechtian “imperfect cinema,” as originally outlined by Julio García Espinosa in 1969.11 With its continuous narrative, use of melodrama, and naturalistic cinematography of Mario García Joya (cinematographer of Fresa y chocolate/ Strawberry and Chocolate [Tómas Gutiérrez Alea 1994]), Lejanía looks more televisual than “imperfect.” Second, made just 5 years after the Mariel boatlifts, the film dealt with a subject that was still considered taboo, at least officially, and few critics in Cuba actually reviewed it, despite the fact that it was one of the most well-attended films of the year. Were it to be released today, as opposed to in 1985, the film’s reception would be quite different. Not only is emigration one of the most discussed and transparent narratives in contemporary Cuban cinema, but there is now such an emphasis on migration in contemporary global cinema generally that to ignore a film like Lejanía would be untenable. Lejanía deserves to be reconsidered as occupying a vanguard not only because it anticipates some of the most powerful debates about Cuban film and culture in the twenty-first century, but because it is so relevant to current research in transnational film studies. Long before scholars were calling for a new alertness

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to the multiple directions and power dynamics of different kinds of media flows, Díaz’s film asserts a complex, multifocal perspective. In bringing together under one narrative umbrella a loyal Cuban national, a reactionary Miami Cuban, and a sympathetic exile from New York, Lejanía places the national and transnational into juxtaposition, exploring the uneven nature of the exile experience. Also, by focusing the narrative on the character who stays, Lejanía sheds light on how ideas about migration might be disseminated and internalized within a home nation; indeed, it resonates as a source text for a number of subsequent Cuban films that depict the changing dynamic of the national-exile relationship. Lejanía—the word means “distance” but the film was marketed in English as “Parting of the Ways”—explores the psychological, social, and ethical differences that divide an exile mother, Susana (Verónica Lynn), and her son, Rey (Jorge Trinchet), whom she abandoned when she left the country.12 The title describes the relationship between mother and son—and by extension, the exile community and the nation—but it is also apt in relation to Díaz’s stylistic treatment of his subject. There is a tentative coldness and ambivalence perceptible in the style and storyline of Lejanía. Despite the emotionally charged subject matter, Díaz does not encourage much character identification. The film gives the impression of a drama unfolding behind glass. The film functions simultaneously as a nationalistic text, one in which the exiled mother serves as an antagonistic counterpoint to revolutionary identity, and as an open-ended meditation on the inevitable losses and loneliness inflicted by exile on those it touches, at home and abroad. There is in the end a simultaneous longing for, and despair of achieving, transnational connection. The opening structure of Lejanía sets up a deceptively straightforward nationalistic reading. The two opening scenes make a critical comparison between the momentum of present-day revolutionary life and the regression of Cuban life lived in the past, embodied in the figure of the exile. Díaz begins with the camera positioned in the center of a party at the Havana apartment of Rey and his wife, Aleida. There is music, multilayered conversation, and handheld camerawork that shows the dynamism of a seemingly ordinary gathering in which viewers are made to feel a sense of participation. With the introduction of Susana, the exile Mother, first as an idea (Rey gets a phone call), the pace slows, becoming contemplative and stilted. The following scene, which takes place the next morning, shows the stiff-backed Susana in her son’s doorway accompanied by her niece Ana (Isabel Santos), Rey’s cousin who also lives in the United States, but in New York, not Miami. The staging and mobility of the previous scene

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are replaced with a stiff, claustrophobic formalism, involving static framing and sparse sound. Characters interact dispassionately, except for Susana, who presumes a kind of intimacy that she isn’t entitled to. Díaz portrays the arrival of the exile as a kind of death (Rey will later describe his time with his mother as having “spent the day with ghosts”), or at the very least, a temporary stalling of life. At first glance, then, Lejanía would appear to reiterate official rhetoric about Cuban exiles. The opening scene paints Rey and his diverse friends as active, happy, and cooperative. They represent a microcosm of revolutionary Cuba, an idea further suggested by the mise-en-scène, which is noticeably stark with the exception of a prominent poster showing a Cuban cultural heritage site. Susana, on the other hand, with her backward-looking gaze, nostalgia for the past, and materialistic sensibility, is represented as a debilitating force that impedes progress. This is depicted quite literally when Rey has to cancel an important volunteer-work trip to a mining town in order to host his mother on such short notice. In fact, it is Rey’s decision to return to work after only one day with his mother that marks the film’s narrative climax. This decisive Revolutionaffirming act by the heretofore enfeebled protagonist returns the film to life. In the concluding sequence, Rey begins his journey, walking the streets of Havana in the only shots taken outside the apartment complex. The film’s narrative also unfolds in just one day and takes place almost entirely in one apartment, a schema that, as both Michael Chanan and Marvin D’Lugo have observed, encourages an allegorical reading in which mise-en-scene is highly symbolic.13 Almost every prop has some kind of political significance, as objects become litmus tests for characters’ ideological and national positions. The camerawork throughout pays unusual attention to space, tracking Susana as she privately attempts to reengage with her past through old material possessions, which she handles with a sensuality and kind of horror. The many items that she has brought from Miami become loaded symbols, as she tries to convince her Cuban relatives of the superiority of life in the United States. In this context, a simple object like a coffee maker becomes a highly loaded symbol of contradictory national allegiances. In one scene, for example, Susana becomes insulted when Aleida refuses to use one of the three electric coffee makers that she has brought, preferring the old stovetop cafetera instead. Unlike the other relatives who are fawning over Susana’s gifts, Aleida wants nothing to do with the suitcases of consumer products—“they’re not needed,” she repeats. Once the coffee is made, Susana then questions why they are not being served

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in the porcelain coffee cups that were given to her as a wedding gift and that she left behind with Rey. Within seconds, Susana evinces both defensiveness about her life in the present and nostalgia for the prerevolutionary past. Meanwhile, Aleida affirms her allegiance to the Revolution—all through interactions with the material minutiae of an iconic Cuban cultural activity: drinking coffee. Susana’s materialistic, landlord mentality is one characteristic aligning her with prerevolutionary ideology. Another is her apparent racism. In one of the film’s rare eyeline matches, she winces when she sees that the neighbor across the patio is Afro-Cuban. Later she asks her son whether or not his wife is “onehundred percent” (i.e. white), taking issue with Aleida’s mixed race. “We’ve never had one in the family before.” Susana’s link to the racist ideology of the past is most interestingly made through an allusive use of a film within the film. After returning from the cemetery, where she has visited her parents’ graves (again linking the exile to death), Susana returns and finds the television on, playing what a Cuban viewer would recognize as Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s La última cena/ The Last Supper (1976), another allegorical film, in which an eighteenth-century Cuban count invites 12 slaves to Easter dinner. Susana lets out a disgusted gasp as she watches a scene of the count washing the black men’s feet. “What a horrible thing,” she says, in response to which Aleida knowingly instructs, “This is a Cuban film.” As with the individual reactions to the gifts brought from Miami, here, one’s interpretation of a film text becomes an ethical touchstone and an indicator of national cultural identity. The insertion of Alea’s film alludes to revolutionary cinema’s historical commitment to the politics of Third Cinema and to cultivating a critically and politically engaged audience. That Susana finds the images from the film “horrible” suggests her passivity within a bourgeois tradition of spectatorship, while Aleida’s “in-the-know” attitude is a reflection of, and a compliment to, Cuba’s sophisticated viewing public. Examples such as these, in which Susana and Aleida carry the representational burden of opposing national identities, support an allegorical reading of the film. As an exile, Susana clearly represents the positions of a class that is no longer considered part of the nation. An enthusiastic capitalist, she is obsessed with possessions—so much so that she can only make sense of life by referencing objects. Even her son is an object to be won back from her daughter-in-law, whom she accuses of having “stole[n]” him. At one point she asks Aleida, “What is the one thing you want more than anything else in the world?” When Aleida responds quite predictably, “happiness,” Susana, with an almost horrific glimmer in her eye, responds, “No what thing did you want? A pretty house . . . no, not

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that, because you have mine.” These aspects of Lejanía that show Susana and Aleida as emblems occupying two ends of the political spectrum encouraged one New York Times critic to write that the film reduces politics “to capitalist materialism versus Communist wholesomeness” and that Susana is “a caricature of a Miami matron, all consumer and part racist, a Wicked Witch of the North out to seduce a young worker.”14 But to dismiss the film as overly simplistic is to ignore the ways in which it is ambivalent about its subject. Lejanía can be read as a national allegory, but it is also a discerning and subtle work of transnationalism. It is in this respect that the film most deserves attention. In opposition to Susana and Aleida, who articulate the discourse of Cuban nationalism through their dialectical opposition, Rey and his cousin Ana are conflicted, multidimensional, and sensual. Through their relationship, Díaz inserts a nuanced and less ideological register by suggesting that there is some continuity between the placed and displaced, as both share a sense of unbelonging from the larger, disciplining forces of the state. Unlike those of his politically unambiguous wife, Rey’s allegiances vary. At times affectionate toward his mother, at other moments he exhibits disdain and despair. He is depressive, has a drinking problem, and refuses his mother’s gifts in public only to rummage through them later in private, trying on blue jeans and playing the portable radio. Ana, likewise, hardly represents the stereotypical Cuban exile. First, she is from New York, not Miami, which places her at some remove from the dominant politics of the exile community. She is also young, was “taken away” from Cuba by her parents, and expresses the pain of exilic liminality, of not feeling at home in either Cuba or New York. Ana is arguably the most emotionally self-aware character in the film. This is significant not only because it is a positive portrayal of an émigré, but because it is through Ana that we get access to the psyche of Rey, who is more expressive in his scenes with her than in any others. Ana is Rey’s exilic counterpart—which is to say that the cousins express the social and psychic pain of exile from similar emotional positions, but from opposite sides of the water. By suggesting some continuity and mutual imbrication between these two groups, and by placing the national and transnational into direct relation, Díaz not only complicated official discourse that casts the exile as persona non grata, he also initiated a shift that would, over the years, transform the figure of the anti-revolutionary historical exile into the more complex figure of the Cuban transnational. It is not solely through the dialogue and performances of Ana and Rey that Lejanía expresses this transnational sensibility. Despite being a work of national

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cinema produced by the state, several aspects of the film’s style are comparable to Naficy’s “accented” and Marks’s “intercultural” cinemas. Both Marks and Naficy emphasize the multimedia presentation of exilic films, the importance of textures, haptics, and spatial gaps in sensing memory and mediating distance. Lejanía, despite the overall cool mood and totemic use of mise-en-scène, does contain moments of texture and sensuality that viewers experience through Díaz’s representations of technology. In addition to the use of The Last Supper as a film-within-a-film, there are scenes in which characters watch 8mm home movies projected onto the wall, listen to audio letters on cassette tapes, take and look at Polaroid snapshots, or watch television. Technology is not incidental to these scenes; in each case, the technological object becomes the centerpiece, both visually and in terms of emotional significance. The emphasis on the grains, textures, and imperfections of these media representations, and the way in which they are handled, caressed, played, and replayed, is suggestive of Marks’s ideas about “haptic visuality,” which outlines the ways in which sensory experiences of place engage viewers in a direct and embodied way.15 For Marks, haptic images are potentially erotic because of the sensorial absorption they afford. Scenes in which the technology overwhelms the frame, or in which Rey or Ana are shown to have a tactile, emotional relationship with media that stimulate memories, stick out as rare moments of intense feeling. Of course, in the context of this narrative film, these instances are more conventional than those in the experimental and ethnographic works described by Marks. Nonetheless, when Rey is shown shirtless in a darkened room, touching a boom box that holds an audio message from his father, and the room is progressively darkened, making the image indecipherable, just as we hear his father say, “I need to see you, Rey,” it is hard not to compare the film to some of the haptic and sensorial imagery described by Marks. Although Marks locates “intercultural cinema” among “people who share the political issues of displacement and hybridity,” her focus on the experiences of living between two dominant cultures is relevant to Díaz’s exploration of exile as a mutually impacting process.16 Only rather than emphasizing the migrant as the primary voice of nuance and experimentation, Lejanía reverses the dynamic to focus on the emotional, psychological distance felt by and through the one who stays. Although Naficy briefly examines what he calls the “tactile optics” of accented cinema, he mainly analyzes exilic film’s use of embedded media in relation to its epistolarity. Audio or video letters, telephone conversations, home movies, and the

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breakdowns in technology that signify the precariousness of communications— all of these, Naficy argues, are recurring motifs of exile cinema. “Exile and epistolarity are constitutively linked because both are driven by distance, separation, absence, and loss and by the desire to bridge the multiple gaps.”17 In addition to that mentioned above, Lejanía includes several scenes in which Rey watches or listens to video and cassette tapes that are meant to mediate distance. But these media, rather than fulfilling the exile’s desire to reconnect with the homeland, function instead as messages from a kind of parallel reality. In one memorable sequence, when Susana plays her home movies and video letters from abroad, Díaz presents a dizzying inversion of nation and place, in which “exile” figures not as an interstitial zone, but more as a kind of performed territorialization, perhaps even a repatriation. First, Aledia takes down the prominently displayed “CUBA” poster in order to project the Miami film on the wall. We watch projections of Susana, performing her identity in relation to her home: she poses by her mailbox, her front door, by the car in her driveway. The image then cuts to a birthday party inside the house, which shows a multitude of extended family. As Susana talks over the silent images, she refers to Havana as being “abroad” and refers to Miami as “home.” She then laughs when Rey asks if his sister’s husband is American, bizarrely responding “of course not.” Far from signifying a space of alienation or homesickness, exile for Susana appears as a kind of Cuban re-homemaking. This, of course, leaves Rey, the national, the one who stayed, in the interstitial crack—he can’t imagine feeling at home over there, but he can’t escape alienation at home, precisely because so many have left. In Susana’s projections, his home barely exists as a present-day place. There are many other ways in which Lejanía shows the exilic “accents” described by Naficy. These include the house as signifying trope, domestic claustrophobia, fetishization of home objects, a narrative driven by words and emotions, multivocality, slippage between identity and performance of identity, and structured absences. By identifying these characteristics in a film typically understood as national allegory, I do not seek to upend the stylistic commonalities that Naficy detects in the transnational and diasporic cinema with which he is engaged. On the contrary, the breadth and impact of Naficy and Marks’s studies have encouraged a heightened awareness about the intercultural and transnational aspects of cinema in general, showing the value of their comprehensive approach. The danger, however, of focusing on the experiences of the displaced is that meaningful cultural and theoretical production becomes equated with one’s location in the First World. It neglects half of the story, of how

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exile, migration—and all manner of travel that increasingly dominate discussions of global cinema—impact those who aren’t moving, but whose lives are every bit as affected by the determining life-choices involved in exile scenarios, and who, moreover, often imagine migration through visual media.

Influences and intertextuality Lejanía, with its multidimensional investigation of the exile experience, illustrates ideas and emphasizes process in a manner consistent with Espinosa’s theories about “imperfect cinema.” To understand how this can be so, when the film’s visual style is rather conventional, one must consider the specific context of Cuban film culture, in which movies are understood to be part of an ongoing political discourse. Espinosa argued that revolutionary Cuban films “must above all else show the process which generates the problems . . . to submit it to judgment without pronouncing the verdict.”18 The same ambiguity that caused the state-controlled media to remain quiet about the film—namely, its consideration of the multiple angles of exile experience, without coming down definitively on one or the other side—is, ironically, what makes the film consistent with Espinosa’s ideas. Imperfect films are meant to interrogate, not simply reinforce, revolutionary national identity. So even though Lejanía, like other Cuban films from the 1980s, may not appear as aesthetically innovative as earlier revolutionary films, it marked a preliminary foray into a national and cultural problem, posing questions and initiating a conversation that has since been revisited countless times in contemporary Cuban cinema. There has been a tendency in scholarship to cite Díaz’s film as an exception, as an outlier that was unique in its willingness to deal with a taboo subject. I would argue that, instead, it should be seen as something of a touchstone. Díaz dramatizes many of the situations and introduces many themes that would later recur in Cuban films about emigration. These include, among others: stagings of departures and reunions; emphasis on the pain of familial separation and orphanhood; encounters over property ownership, with the symbolic and political-economic power of the house as unit of exchange; the foregrounding of epistolary media such as, in this context, home movies and video cassettes, as well as traditional letters; misunderstandings and the “misinterpretations” of cultural texts; gendered notions of nationhood in which women shoulder the burden; and the exile as memento mori. Various films, intentionally or not,

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develop and modify aspects of the above, creating a meaningful intertextuality that expands and sheds light on the ways in which the discourse of emigration and reconciliation has played out over time. This intertextuality is also manifest in how the actors carried traces of their roles into other films and subsequent performances. In more recent films about emigration, both Verónica Lynn and Isabel Santos have completely inverted their roles from Díaz’s film. In Lejanía, Isabel Santos plays a Cuban American who has an intimate relationship with her cousin, who is a Cuban national. In Humberto Solás’s Miel para Oshún/Honey for Oshún (2001), Santos plays a Cuban national who is visited by her Cuban American cousin, and they, too, have an intense sensual connection. In Lejanía, Verónica Lynn plays the materialistic Miami exile who left her son when she fled for the States, but in Humberto Padrón’s Video de Familia (2001), she plays the sympathetic, empowered Cuban matron whose son has left her and the rest of the family to start a new life in Miami. The extent of these inter-textual overlappings and inversions indicates that exile is an enormous preoccupation in the Cuban cinematic imagination and how often and dramatically the cultural zeitgeist changes in regard to this issue; it is a subject constantly under revision that continues to stimulate much expressive culture on the island.

Imagining emigration Although (as this reading of Lejanía should make clear) the profusion of Cuban films dealing with emigration does possess deeper and more complicated roots in Cuban cinema, it remains undeniable that in the decades since 1990, the theme has all but dominated films made on the island. What has been much less remarked upon is the surprising number of these films, all on some level ostensibly about issues of travel and return, that in the end have to do with staying put. Juan Carlos Cremata’s Viva Cuba (2005), to cite a notable example, is about a boy and girl who run away from home because the girl’s mother plans to move them to the United States. Viva Cuba was a follow-up to Cremata’s successful Nada/Nothing More (2001), which is again about a young woman whose parents in Miami are trying to get her to emigrate, but she refuses. More recent films to deal with the subject include Larga Distancia/Long Distance (Esteban Insausti 2010), about a Cuban woman who, realizing that everyone she has ever cared about has left the country, spends her birthday dinner reminiscing with them

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Figure 7.1  Juan stays put as the others leave. Juan of the Dead, 2011.

via her imagination, and Casa Vieja/Old House (Lester Hamlet 2010), in which an exiled son returns to Cuba to take care of his ailing father. Objetos personales/ Personal Belongings (Alejandro Brugués 2006) concerns a young man who wants to leave the country on a raft but then falls in love with a woman who insists on staying “to prove that you can,” a line one might compare to Sergio’s in Memorias del Subdesarrollo, when he says that he won’t leave because he “wants to see what happens.” Even Cuba’s most recent international success, the zombie comedy Juan of the Dead (Alejandro Brugués 2011), ends with the hero pushing his daughter and friends off in a raft headed to Miami while he stays on to “fight the good fight.” A director who deserves special mention in this regard is Fernando Pérez. Questions of staying-versus-leaving have been explored in almost every film Pérez has made. Hello Hemingway (1990), La vida es silbar/Life is to Whistle (1998), and Suite Habana/Havana Suite (2003) all, in one way or another, depict characters who imagine change and travel, and who deal with what it means to remain in place while others around them are on the move. In Madagascar (1995) and La Vida es Silbar, Pérez brings characters to the brink of departure and then leaves the question of their actual flight somewhat ambiguous, while in Suite Habana, emigration is presented overtly as a part of everyday life in contemporary Havana. The film contains a sequence in which one of the many archetypal characters watches teary-eyed as his brother boards a plane for Miami. Unlike Jesus Díaz, who did eventually go into exile in 1991, Fernando Pérez has been vocal in his affirmation of the revolution and his decision to remain on the island.19 Although Pérez’s films often show an imaginative exploration of exile as a life possibility, they are ultimately about the struggles—both existential and practical—of being Cuban, and being in place, during an era of mass migration.

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In this context, the putative non-act of remaining in one’s native country comes to occupy a category of positive action, even if it is impossible to leave, perhaps especially when it is impossible to leave. Indeed, even those who have no desire to leave the country exist in a sphere where the idea of leaving is so often encountered and contemplated—and has, by a paradox, become so much a part of being Cuban—that one’s status as a person who stays figures into the oppositional self-definition that has been part of Cuban Revolutionary ideology from the start. Again and again, in interviews with Cuban directors, there is a conspicuous tendency on the subjects’ part to undertake the question of having stayed, even when this question is never asked directly. There is a burden, transparent if often unarticulated, not only to account for one’s decision to stay but more subtly to define Cuban cultural production as a thing that can happen only on the island, and that can be made only by those who have remained to confront the complexities and hardships of the revolutionary process. Studies of exilic film and media have productively conceptualized the interstitial and avant-gardist tendencies of work produced by artists who are displaced. But as Lejanía and many other Cuban works show, the experience of exile refracts both inside the geographic confines of the nation and out. These exilic films come not from a marginalized space, moreover, but from the institutional center of filmmaking on the island, the state-sponsored ICAIC. Faced with the ubiquity of emigration, filmmakers are positing exile as a fundamental aspect of national identity, and as an imagined life possibility that forces characters to probe the question of what it means to stay, and to be in place, on the island. What Lejanía does show (and what a broader consideration of the treatment of exile themes in Cuban film bears out) is that the seemingly oppositional narratives in so many of these Cuban films—stories of those who stay, of those who leave, of those who regret having done one or the other, who agonize over doing one or the other—can be seen as part of a larger configuration, in which the national and transnational are mutually implicated and imagined. These relatively neglected films avoid depicting the Cuban-North American divide as one in which a person unambivalently picks sides. Instead filmmakers are interrogating Cuban national identity while recognizing and even exploring the extent to which they are entangled with the North, personally and historically. We find, in these films, not an existential “inner exile,” whereby staying equates to waiting and drift, nor a nostalgic loyalty to the Revolution, but a culture where the decision to stay or leave has so pervasively marked every life that it

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constitutes a fundamental shared zone of experience, part of what it means to be Cuban. It is in this somewhat paradoxical sense that Cuban cinema seems, in the last two decades, to have been most expressive when it created characters who thought about and dealt with emigration. In The Skin of the Film, Laura Marks delineates the kinds of texts that make up intercultural cinema, expressing a “hope that the category of intercultural cinema will cease to be conceptually useful, as the intercultural and transnational status of all cinema becomes harder to ignore.”20 An aspect of this post-intercultural “status” that the Cuban case throws into relief is the decreasing usefulness of discussing the national and the transnational as necessarily opposed. Instead, we find a scenario in which these forces operate side by side, influencing and diverging from each other. Specifically, in considering the numerous “exilic” traits expressed in Cuban films, we see the transnational dimensions of even a state-controlled national cinema, further proof that as filmmakers everywhere continue to depict the shifting globalized landscape of the twenty-first century, binaries become increasingly unproductive. A perspective that dwells exclusively on the production and consumption of media by exiles risks replicating politically regressive paradigms and negating the home country as a potentially meaningful site of nuanced cultural production. In this instance, such an overemphasis has led to the neglect of earlier texts, like Lejanía, that anticipate some of the more compelling issues in transnational media studies and global filmmaking today.

Notes 1 R. Hart Phillips, “Cuba Acts to End Loss of Experts.” New York Times, November 12, 1960, 8. 2 “Socialism and Man in Cuba.” Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution: Writings and Speeches of Ernesto Che Guevara (Atlanta, GA: Pathfinder Press, 1987), 257. 3 Law no. 989, Gaceta Oficial de la Republica de Cuba, December 1, 1962, 23705; also quoted in María de los Angeles Torres, In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States (Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2001), 52. 4 Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 3. 5 Ibid., 12. 6 Laura Marks, The Skin of the Film (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000).

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7 Michael Chanan, Cuban Cinema (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2004). 8 Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 55. 9 Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” Theory Culture Society 70 (1990): 296–7. 10 Fidel Castro, Speech at the Congress for the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, 1981, available online through the Castro Speech Database at the Latin American Network Information Center, a program of the University of Texas at Austin, http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/castro.html. 11 Julio Garcia Espinosa, “For an Imperfect Cinema.” Jump Cut 20 (1979): 24–6. For a debate on the aesthetic and political value of Cuban filmmaking in the eighties, see Oscar Quiros, “Critical mass of Cuban cinema: art as the vanguard of society.” Screen 37, 3 (1996): 279–93; Catherine Davies, “Modernity, masculinity and imperfect cinema in Cuba.” Screen 38, 4 (1997): 345–59; John Hess, “No más Habermas, . . . or rethinking Cuban cinema in the 1990s.” Screen 40, 2 (1999): 203–7; Catherine Davies, “Reply to John Hess.” Screen 40, 2 (1999): 208–11. For aesthetic decline, see also Juan Antonio García Borrero , La edad de la herejía: ensayos sobre el cine Cubano su crítica u se público (Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 2002). 12 Lejanía was distributed in the US by the Cinema Guild. 13 Chanan, Cuban Cinema, p. 420; Marvin D’Lugo, “Transparent Women: Gender and Nation in Cuban Cinema.” In Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas, edited by John King, Ana M. López, and Manuel Alvarado (London: British Film Institute, 1993), 285. 14 Walter Goodman, “‘Parting,’ From Cuba.” New York Times, September 23, 1987, C22. 15 Marks, 183. 16 Ibid., 2. 17 Naficy, 101. 18 Espinosa, 26. 19 John M. Kirk and Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Culture and the Cuban Revolution: Conversations in Havana (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2001), 161. 20 Marks, 3.

Works cited Appadurai, Arjun. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” Theory Culture Society 7, 2–3 (1990): 295–310. —. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

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Castro, Fidel. “Speech at the Second Congress for the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.” Castro Speech Database, University of Texas at Austin, 1981. http:// lanic.utexas.edu/project/castro/db/1981/19811025.html Chanan, Michael. Cuban Cinema. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. D’Lugo, Marvin. “Transparent Women: Gender and Nation in Cuban Cinema.” In Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas, edited by John King, Ana M. López, and Manuel Alvarado. London: British Film Institute, 1993, 279–90. Gaceta Oficial de la Republica de Cuba, Law no. 989. December 1, 1962, 23705. Garcia Espinosa, Julio. “For an Imperfect Cinema.” Jump Cut 20 (1979): 24–6. Goodman, Walter. “Parting, From Cuba.” New York Times. September 23, 1987. Guevara, Che. “Socialism and Man in Cuba.” In Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution: Writings and Speeches of Ernesto Che Guevara, edited by David Deutschmann. Atlanta, GA: Pathfinder Press, 1987, 246–61.Kirk, John M. and Leonardo Padura Fuentes. Culture and the Cuban Revolution: Conversations in Havana. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2001. Marks, Laura. The Skin of the Film. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. Phillips, R. Hart. “Cuba Acts to End Loss of Experts.” New York Times. November 12, 1960.

8

Chilean Exile Cinema and its Homecoming Documentaries José Miguel Palacios

The experience of brutal coups d’état followed by long military dictatorships that banished hundreds of thousands from their homelands was common to multiple nations in Latin America’s Southern Cone during the 1970s. For numerous Latin American filmmakers, many of whom were to some degree involved in practices of militant cinema, these political upheavals meant forced displacement and exile. Yet despite much stronger industrial and underground filmmaking traditions, Brazil and Argentina did not produce a cinema of exile to rival that of Chile, both in quantitative and cultural/political terms. The enormous body of work— more than 200 films and videos—produced throughout the world by Chilean filmmakers after the coup that overthrew Allende in 1973, is unprecedented.1 In this chapter, I look at the historical and political context that produced this filmic corpus, and I argue for a conception of Chilean exile cinema understood as a form of transnational cinema born out of global networks of political solidarity. In this sense, Chilean exile cinema is not merely the films produced in exile by Chilean filmmakers, but also the multifarious networks across diverse geographic territories that allows for the emergence of this cinema. These networks stem from the interconnection of different realms: industrial (relations between TV stations, film institutes, film production and distribution companies), cultural (the joint work of embassies, consulates, cultural institutes, academic institutions), artistic (the dialogue between exile filmmakers in retrospectives during film festivals, the circulation of shared archival images), and political (parties, “friends of Chile” groups, the UN, etc.). I also argue for a notion of exile as an ongoing process that includes return. The act of homecoming, whether successful, failed, or unfinished, is what gives meaning to the lived experience of exile in its striving for closure.

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Homecoming renders visible a consciousness of the self or “exilic subjectivity” produced by the tensions between the exiles themselves and their nation-state. Finally, I look at how this exilic subjectivity is represented and performed in two Chilean homecoming documentaries made in 1983: El retorno de un amateur de bibliotecas/The Return of a Library Lover (Raúl Ruiz) and Fragmentos de un diario inacabado/Fragments from an Unfinished Diary (Angelina Vázquez).

Before exile From the 1960s until September 11, 1973, the day of the coup against the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, Chilean cinema was seen as a political activity. Chile was part of the same continental impulse that led to the emergence of the New Latin American Cinema and to a series of critical writings that supported the development of a cinema devoted to a revolutionary project.2 Although the New Chilean Cinema was seen as marginal within the Latin American context—if compared to the aesthetic and political significance of works from Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba—its richness stems mostly from its heterogeneity. Hardly a “movement,” the cinema produced in Chile in the years preceding Allende’s election combined experimental cinema, social documentary, neorealism, radical, and militant filmmaking practices, as well as auteurist traditions. Both the direct political inclination of these works and their aesthetic diversity were pushed even further with Allende’s election in 1970. Filmmakers wrote a manifesto in which they expressed their understanding of film as a revolutionary art and called for a cinema committed to the task of its time: “the construction of socialism.”3 While the actual significance of this document is disputed, the manifesto opens up a way to understand the political complexity of the Allende years. Elsewhere I have argued that this document mirrors the contradictions of the Popular Unity coalition government, resulting in films that adopted a myriad of political stances with and against the government, in an echo of the struggles within the different parties of the Left.4 Regardless of the different stances adopted by filmmakers on the question of what constituted a political cinema, cinema during the Popular Unity years was a political practice, and therefore, one considered subversive and part of the “Marxist cancer” that had to be wiped out by the military authorities that toppled Allende.5 It is no surprise then that filmmakers, writers, actors, and employees of

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the different institutions that produced and promoted cinema were endangered in the days that followed the coup. Many spent time in prison and almost all of them left the country and went into exile, forming part of the large Chilean diaspora spread throughout every continent in the world.6

In exile, or, networks of solidarity Chilean exile cinema did not constitute a movement with unified goals. As Zuzana Pick notes, there was not a structured or cohesive organization because of “the dispersion of filmmakers, the conditions of production in the different countries and the limited distribution of some of their films.”7 Indeed, nearly 40 Chilean directors were exiles in countries including Belgium, Canada, Cuba, East Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Spain, Sweden, and Venezuela. The different industrial traditions and the variety of modes of production encountered in these countries led to very distinct films and career trajectories.8 Geographically dispersed, and working for the most part in isolation from their fellow exiles,9 Chilean filmmakers directed more than 200 films in 17 years, including short, medium, and feature length fiction, nonfiction, and animation, shot on 16mm, 35mm, and video. These films constitute the corpus of Chilean exile cinema. I understand Chilean exile cinema, however, as a larger discursive system that goes beyond the filmic corpus produced in exile during the years of the military dictatorship. Chilean exile cinema is the sum of all the various networks of production, distribution, and exhibition, as well as the cooperative ties among national and international organizations, state offices, and exile communities that enabled the production of this oeuvre. In this sense, Chilean exile cinema is a particular form of transnational cinema, born out of global networks of solidarity.10 Practices of solidarity with Chilean filmmakers had begun during the Popular Unity years—for instance, the distribution agreements with socialist regimes in Eastern European countries. Because of the worldwide impact of the coup and the arrival of thousands of Chilean refugees overseas, these efforts increased immediately after September 11. For Chilean exile cinema, solidarity adopts several forms. We can see it in the Third World alliance between Latin American and African filmmakers, which allowed Chilean filmmaker Rodrigo Gonçalves to finish his Rebelión ahora (1983) at the Mozambique Film Institute, where he produced several works about

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Mozambique. It is also evident in the support of film unions, such as the workers of the National Film Board of Canada, who wanted the public agency to produce Il n’y a pas d’oubli/There is no Forgetting (Jorge Fajardo, Rodrigo González, and Marilú Mallet 1975). This political and cultural solidarity is likewise evident in the move to catalogue and archive the film production of Chilean exiles, which led to the creation of Les amis de la Cinémathèque Chilienne, with its catalogue in Paris organized by Gastón Ancelovici and its film archive in Cuba directed by Pedro Chaskel. An exclusive focus on textual analysis would lead to the perception that Chilean exile cinema lacks the cohesiveness of a proper movement because of the enormous diversity of its aesthetic proposals (“cinema of resistance,” documentary depictions of the lives of exiles, and authorial expressions that bypass Chilean politics). A more historical approach, paying attention to the cultural, industrial, and artistic particularities of the different contexts of production encountered by directors, could conclude that this cinema is ultimately the sum of individual enterprises by filmmakers attempting to rebuild (or begin) their careers in exile, each with their own goals in mind. A focus on systems of networks, instead, tells us that Chilean exile cinema is the process of forging multiple and complex relations of aesthetic and commercial production that operate on a transnational and translocal scale, simultaneously global and regional. Therefore, Chilean exile cinema can be understood as a particular modality of transnational cinema. The concept of transnational has gained prominence in cinema and media studies recently. On the one hand, the “transnational” as a category for cinematic production emerges from new conditions of reception, distribution, and financing that reflect “the dissolution of any stable connection between a film’s place of production and/or setting and the nationality of its makers and performers.”11 On the other hand, as Ďurovičová has argued, the term itself “acknowledges the persistent agency of the state, in a varying but fundamentally legitimizing relationship to the scale of the nation.”12 This latter view of transnational cinema—that also recognizes the “powerful” and “symbolic” force of the nation—is pertinent for my conceptualization of Chilean exile cinema, in that it does not bypass the state.13 The state has agency and is still relevant, as seen in the work of public TV stations that produce films by Chilean exiles in their foster nations, as well as in the involvement of consulates and embassies, national film institutes and national film archives, all of which act on a national scale but in international coordination with fellow institutions from other states. Therefore, the state relies on the regional as an intermediary

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category, insofar as it does not leap from the national to the global. This reliance can be seen in cinema distribution; for instance, in the circulation of Sebastián Alarcón’s work, whose films made in the Soviet Union were distributed for theaters and TV in countries of the socialist bloc. A network of media, industrial, cultural, artistic, and political webs produces Chilean exile cinema. The nature and impact of this network is transnational, but it still operates on national and regional geopolitical spaces.

Chilean exile cinema and the question of return My understanding of Chilean exile cinema as a network operating transnationally on multiple levels across global and regional spaces challenges the notion that there is a Chilean cinema in exile, or that exile is defined merely by place. Zuzana Pick refers to this corpus consistently as “Chilean cinema in exile,” which assumes that “Chilean cinema is composed of two streams: the films produced by its exiled filmmakers and those produced inside the country.”14 While in general terms this categorization is not inaccurate, it does pose several problems, which is why I prefer to speak of Chilean exile cinema for the following reasons. In the first place, the very few films produced in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s are also exilic films, in that they were often made clandestinely, using marginal and alternative modes of production, and they are divorced from a national audience because they could not be exhibited in theaters.15 Second, in many cases there is no clear-cut separation between films produced inside and outside of Chile. By September 11, 1973, some films had begun production but were interrupted by the coup, and therefore had to be completed in exile, a process that often took many years. The most famous example here is Guzmán’s The Battle of Chile (1975–6–9), but others include Queridos compañeros/Dear Comrades (Pablo de la Barra 1976) and Los puños frente al cañón/With Fists Against Cannons (Orlando Lübbert and Gastón Ancelovici 1975). Another reason is the complex circulation of images from within the country, shot clandestinely and often by collectives, which are smuggled out to exile where they are edited. Recado de Chile/Message from Chile (Carlos Flores del Pino and José Román 1979) and Chile, no invoco tu nombre en vano/Chile, I Don’t Call your Name in Vain (Colectivo cine ojo 1983) are the most relevant examples. Third, even though it is deeply connected to a question of location, exile is not exhausted by place. The label “cinema in exile” makes us think of films produced

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in particular locations. Nevertheless, this denomination hides an incertitude, for, as we know from Hamid Naficy, exile films are situated in an interstitial space.16 An effective localization is therefore impossible, since exile is by definition a transitional space, irreducible to fixed geographic boundaries.17 Finally, and most importantly for the purposes of this chapter, the assumption that cinema is produced in exile, a location that would include all territories beyond the limits of Chilean national borders, does not account for the films of return. These are the works that, while shot (partially or completely) on Chilean soil, remain fundamentally films of exile because they deal explicitly with the most pressing questions of the lives of an exile. Furthermore, these films faced particular conditions of production: their images circulate from within the homeland to the exterior, where they are assembled and given meaning; their directors enter the national territory only to shoot and then they leave, sometimes expelled by official authorities. In earlier studies of Chilean exile cinema, the significance of return was not understood. Chilean film historian Jacqueline Mouesca argues that “by 1983 the cycle of Chilean exile cinema was reaching an end” because of the fatigue caused by the theme of exile (in viewers and filmmakers); the emergence of massive street demonstrations that year in Chile, which would displace the center of attention to those images produced within the country; and finally, the policy adopted by military authorities, which began to allow, gradually, the return of exiles.18 To follow Mouesca implies that we can no longer properly speak about a Chilean “exile” cinema after 1983. I disagree with this periodization in that I do not see Chilean exile cinema as a category of production—in this I follow Hamid Naficy, for whom exile functions as a “critical” category. When Mouesca argues for that temporal delimitation, she is defining exile by specific aspects of the production of these films, namely, when and where they were made. In doing so, she reduces exile cinema to a logic that equates location with historical events, as if the mere legal possibility of returning to the homeland would result by default in a massive return, and thus putting a halt to ongoing film projects abroad. As a process, exile is a perpetual movement in space and in time, not limited to the act of banishment from the homeland. Exile, as seen in Chilean exile cinema, is in fact a movement that includes a return to that homeland, even if it is an imaginary return. In the films of Chilean exiles—including ones that do not deal directly with homecoming—we find an obsession with returns: to houses, streets, bars, libraries. The specificity of the place is often not important; what is

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relevant is the act of return itself, through which exiles express the desire to close the gap between who they are now and who they once were. It is possible for the exile to return, as Naficy warns us, “yet still not fully arrive.”19 The original break of exile, the rift between the subject and its home, is, in the words of Edward Said, “unhealable”—that which was lost remains forever lost.20 While this is to some extent true—the exilic subject may come back, but he or she will never retrieve the home he left behind or the self that was expelled from that home—such an emphasis on rupture forgets the fact that there is a counterpart to displacement. Exile is not only the fissure, but also the suture that seeks to unite what was once separated. Even if it is doomed to fail in its quest, exile looks for completion in its striving for homecoming. The process of homecoming is the clearest manifestation of the particular historical, political, and cultural tensions that produce exile, which, in turn, engenders “exilic subjectivity”—the embodiment of dialectical tensions between exiles and their nation-state, time, and history.21 Exilic subjectivity is that consciousness of the self that is specific to the exile experience. Exiles are usually against the state that has expelled them from home, but attached to the symbolic realm that constitutes their nation; at the same time, their political allegiance to the state that has welcome them is undermined by the cultural shock of their new national environment, which they continuously contrast with the home they have left behind and that they now imagine from afar. As for time, their experience of the present is defined by the irretrievable past and the utopian future of return; their present is therefore always a present-past and a presentfuture. This temporality also impacts their relation to history. In the Chilean case, the singular event of the coup disrupts the lives of the exiles and haunts them permanently. Their biographies remain forever attached to a historical event that signals both a rupture (a before and an after) and continuity (the socialist past, unfinished because of the coup, is not really over; it persists in a present and yet that present corresponds to a different historical period). These are the tensions that constitute the exilic subjectivity, a subjectivity that is rendered visible in narratives of homecoming. Fragmentos de un Diario Inacabado/Fragments from an Unfinished Diary (Angelina Vásquez 1983) and El retorno de un amateur de bibliotecas/The Return of a Library Lover (Raúl Ruiz 1983)—in addition to Acta General de Chile/General Statement on Chile (Miguel Littín 1986), which functions here primarily as a counter-example, and Eran unos que venían de Chile/They Were the Ones who Came from Chile (Claudio Sapiaín 1987)—are “homecoming documentaries”

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where return is treated as yet another moment in the process of exile, not as its closure.22 In the final sections of this chapter, I provide relevant information about the different contexts of production of Ruiz’s and Vázquez’s films, followed by an analysis of their main discursive strategies. I pay special attention to the ways in which the exilic subjectivity is negotiated through language, epistolarity, and authorship, in a process that mediates the experience of return.

The Return of a Library Lover By 1983, Raúl Ruiz, Chilean cinema’s enfant terrible, was no longer the exile director working in the margins of the French film industry. He had avoided the explicit thematic of exile pursued in his first “French” film, Dialogues of Exiles (1974), whose caustic humor was not appreciated by the Chilean exile community, and had slowly moved toward becoming a renowned auteur revered by the writers of Cahiers du Cinéma, who had just edited a special issue devoted entirely to his work.23 Recalling why he had moved away from exile as a topic, Ruiz explained in an interview in 1987: I decided to radically do away with all Chilean references when I started working in France. I did it for many reasons, but mostly, because it bothered me to continue to work in the ghetto, that is, exploiting the corpses that had been left behind, or insisting on a certain way of moral miserableness. And then for practical reasons: after the response to Dialogues of Exiles there was a rupture with all organizations. In fact, I didn’t seek it; I was literally excised from all Chilean and Latin American organizations. I had no other choice thus than to be French.24

This assertion should be complicated further, since Ruiz himself has said that all his films speak in a way about exile, and therefore always involve some level of allegory regarding his experience as a Chilean exile. What matters here is that the conditions of production he encountered gave him the opportunity to evolve from a ghettoized exile filmmaker confined to Chilean politics to a cosmopolitan, experimental, and revered author. The special issue of Cahiers du Cinéma was a sign of how unique, rapid, and successful that transition was. In the early 1980s, Ruiz returned to Chile. On a short visit between 1982 and 1983, after 10 years of exile, he shot some 8mm images of his childhood home, the streets of Santiago, Valparaíso, and Quilpué, and conversations with friends.

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Then, he returned to France and completed the film by adding sequences shot on 16mm and some folk songs. The 13 minutes of The Return of a Library Lover were broadcast by the French network Antenne 2, as part of their series Cinéma Cinémas: Lettre d’un Cinéaste, which included other “letters” from filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Alain Cavalier.25 The story is driven by absurd humor, ghostly characters, and a poetic enigma. An invisible narrator, heard only through his voice-over, returns home and realizes that “something was missing.” He is convinced that in that something he will find the key to the events of the night prior to the coup. Soon he concludes that what is missing is a book from his library, and more precisely, the color pink in that book. The narrator begins then a journey searching for the book through streets, friends, booksellers, and “the route of the taverns.” Finally, he finds it in the chair on which an old friend is sitting (or rather, the specter of his friend since we learn he has been dead). The film ends with a shot of a page of Cantos a lo divino y a lo humano en Aculeo/Songs for the Divine and the Human in Aculeo, a collection of religious folk songs edited by Juan Uribe Echevarría in 1962, over which we hear a voice reciting some verses which do not correspond to the ones seen on screen. In The Return of a Library Lover we encounter almost all of the characteristics Hamid Naficy describes as intrinsic to the exilic film. The film emphasizes territoriality, rootedness, and geography, and features long traveling shots taken from a moving car moving around the streets of Santiago. It begins with images of a house: a couch in a room, trees in a backyard. These are generic images, which could be taken from any house. We hear the voice of the narrator. First, Ruiz’s own voice, followed by a French voice that has been dubbed over Ruiz’s. For almost a minute, we hear both simultaneously. Sometimes they say almost the exact same things; at times their meanings are opposed. But to hear both voices requires viewers to make an effort in concentration—not to mention the fact that they must know both French and Spanish. Soon after the French narrator starts speaking, his voice dominates the soundtrack and Ruiz’s narration becomes almost unintelligible, heard only in the silent pauses of the “official” voice-over of the film. This voice tells us the following: When I stood in the house where I grew up in Santiago, Chile; when at last I could rediscover the past through the eyes of another world, what had gone seemed more lucid than what had remained. And yet, not much was missing. In fact there was only one thing missing. But that one thing was indispensable if I was to shed light on the night of the 10th-11th of September 1973. I had lost my memories of that night, yet I was still attached to them.

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The main dichotomies of exile are at play in this opening sequence. We have the reference to the place one belongs to—home—and the collision between what had been left behind and what was found upon returning. We also find the attempt to make sense of a fateful night and its subsequent day, the day of the Coup, as well as the acknowledgment of a struggle between memory and oblivion. Haunting, repetitive images of streets, houses, and trees appear and reappear. But Ruiz’s is not a film of nostalgia. We soon realize that Ruiz is little interested in trying to “shed light” on what happened the night before the coup. Instead, he writes an ironic letter with obscure references as a way to engage with the home that was lost. When it turns out that the key to the mystery is the missing book from a library or, more so, that the color pink has disappeared from the book and therefore from the world, it becomes clear Ruiz has been teasing his viewers, or at least using absurdity to deal, first, with the pain of a brief homecoming, and second, with his own identity as an exile. The night before the coup, the moment where the not yet is still filled with historical alternatives, is not so sacred after all. It is worth comparing these references to September 11, the date, with the ones in Miguel Littín’s General Statement on Chile. In order for Littín to film this documentary clandestinely—directing four different crews that didn’t know of each other’s existence—he had to disguise himself as a Uruguayan advertising executive, performing an identity that was not his own. The voice-over that dominates the soundtrack, however, is clearly his. Santiago, September 11, 1973. You barely remember how the city was that morning. Barely, the succession of grey streets, covered by fog. The city that morning, I’m telling you, was an uncertain space, unknown. And suddenly, everything is military. The trees, the park, life, and above all, death. How to narrate everything, if images crowd into your head, and they ache? Because you’ll know, on that day, time was broken for us, and memory was forever destroyed.

Formally, we have here the same elements as in Ruiz’s film: a poetic voiceover independent of the visual track, and images of the streets of Santiago captured from a moving car. Nonetheless, the tone and the effect produced are quite different. I would argue that the key difference concerns the ways in which the date of the coup is used in the two films. In General Statement on Chile, September 11 is the rupture that disturbs everything, that “breaks time” and impedes the future work of memory. This means that the coup breaks the temporality of the revolution, and turns the Allende years into a too distant past,

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not even recoverable by memory because the subject who remembers is now a completely different person. In the case of Littín, he has to perform a different identity to be able to have the chance to confront his memories with the lived experience of return. In Ruiz’s film, however, the logic of absurdity undoes the reflexive nostalgia of the voice in the film’s opening sequence. The “not yet” of the night before the coup is a temporality of anticipation; it resists the future and its outcomes, but playfully. Nothing, not even the aftermaths of the coup, escape humor. Ruiz even allows himself to reverse the relation between censors and censored, by having a bookseller announce that the only thing you cannot say in Chile is “Long Live Pinochet!” The narrator comments: “I deduced that my friend couldn’t speak Spanish anymore, and had to constantly check his own subtitles, translating them laboriously back”. The role of language and discourse is emphasized in the film, especially in the beginning where we simultaneously hear two competing voices—Ruiz’s firstperson narration along with the third-person narration in French. Ruiz’s warm, quiet, and fragile voice, similar to the one the author would use in a friendly conversation, humanizes the voice of the exilic subject. What is relevant is how both voices represent distinct levels of authority. The French narrator speaks with a dry, neutral voice. He describes things as objectively as possible. It is a voice in control, exerting power over the image. However, both voices in the film are disembodied. Although we attribute the one in Spanish to Ruiz, both voices lack a physical and bodily referent. They are dislocated voices; the subjects who utter them are to be found in the interstices between the voice-over and the images. Ultimately, what we have is one speaker fragmented into a “doublevoiced discourse,” to follow Bakhtin. What we witness is a series of utterances “aimed at another’s discourse, at someone else’s speech”.26 Here we find a fundamental characteristic of exile: the splitting of the subjectivity of the exiled self into multiple subjectivities. The self is no longer one; identity is never an essence; and everything that constitutes the I that utters its existence, is fragmented. It is defined in the interstices between the subjective and the collective; between a voice that is clearly our own and one that is foreign, alien.

Fragments from an Unfinished Diary The trajectory that led Angelina Vázquez to the production of Fragments from an Unfinished Diary differs drastically from Ruiz’s. She had completed one film

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in Chile before the coup—Crónica del salitre/Chronicle of Saltpeter (1971)—and was a member of the team that shot The Battle of Chile. In 1973, while working on Guzmán’s film, she was hired by the Finnish independent production company EPIDEM as an assistant and translator for three documentaries about the Chilean political moment. This experience would be crucial for her when, in 1975, she was forced to end her clandestine militancy and seek asylum abroad.27 Vázquez travelled to Finland, where she directed several films, produced by EPIDEM and aired by YLESradio, the Finnish public TV network, while never eschewing the condition of the exile or an involvement with radical politics. A comparison between Vázquez’s and Ruiz’s trajectories illuminates a significant aspect of Chilean exile cinema. Their careers are the product of specific material conditions of production and circulation. Ruiz became a cosmopolitan auteur because he was able to benefit from the experimental nature of his work—such as in Mammame (1986), produced with the support of La maison de la culture in Le Havre, from the circle of friends at the Cahiers du Cinéma, from the relations established between the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA) and French TV stations, from multiple commissions, bigger budget offers and French stars, and so on. Vázquez, on the other hand, worked in a more isolated country, both in terms of language and the position Finland occupies within the European film and TV landscape. Although she was also able to benefit from well-established networks of independent and state-funded production entities, she remained marginalized by the limited mediascape associated with her exilic identity. In 1983, when Vázquez and her two sons decided to make their first, semiclandestine attempt to return to Chile, the director’s analysis was that there was an official, political Chile—the country of brutal repression—as well as an official resistance. But the latter did not account for the “soul” of the Chilean people’s resistance—a cultural resistance. Therefore, she set out to make a film with characters that proved how, in spite of all the suffering and harsh living conditions, the Chilean people were still able to devise strategies of cultural struggle. Since she was expelled and hence not able to shoot—much less complete—the film herself, Vázquez titled it Fragments from an Unfinished Diary. She left a local team in charge led by Pablo Perelman, who finished the shoot following Vázquez’s directions from Finland, where she edited the film. As the title indicates, the documentary is fragmentary, a collection of short sequences that give us elliptical, unfinished, and partial impressions of Chile.

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Remaining faithful to her initial idea, the director emphasizes popular strategies of cultural resistance, documenting several forms of civic, artistic, and political organization. First, we witness the organization of a community: women who defy hunger and the high cost of food by cooking together for large groups of people, in what is called an “olla popular.” In the 1980s, in the wake of an economic depression, women take on a prominent political role. While their husbands deal with unemployment or short-term, low-paid jobs, women organize in their neighborhoods. The realm in which they work is still domestic but their impact is social and economic. By cooking together for the community and by taking care of the children of those who have to work, these women act politically: they resist the neoliberal policies that have left their kids without bread and their husbands without jobs. The film also focuses on art as a form of cultural resistance by documenting groups who attempt to produce popular art. Whether music or theater, this art has a didactic function. Made together with the people, it tries to critically reflect on notions of national and cultural identity. We are introduced to Héctor Noguera, a renowned actor who teaches a theater workshop to young men and women, and to Isabel Aldunate, a woman folk singer who, in a long interview that resembles a confession, discusses her own life path: the transition from the model citizen-consumer of the early eighties, to the model militant artist who asks herself how to change her life to produce, in collaboration with others, a change in the political situation.28 Political resistance in the traditional sense is presented through interviews with political leaders, such as Gabriel Valdés, the spokesman of the parties opposing the regime, who had recently being imprisoned, and General Leigh, former member of the military junta who ruled next to Pinochet. But documenting different forms of resistance is not the sole measure of the accomplishment of Fragments from an Unfinished Diary. The film also performs a reflection on the nature of exilic subjectivity. In this respect, the beginning and ending are very eloquent. In the opening sequence, we see archival footage of marches in support of Allende, prior to his election, over which we hear the popular folk music ensemble Inti Illimani’s Vuelvo/I Return: I return / with ashes, with wounds / with this haughty impatience / with an honest conscience / with anger, with suspicion / with an active certainty / I set foot in my country // I set foot in my country / and instead of lamenting / dispersing my sorrow to the wind / I open my eye and gaze / and restrain my discontent.

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Short intervals of black screen recur as if the film were taking a break, or subtly turning the pages of a book. On a table, the image shows us a newspaper; over the newspaper, a notebook with a letter and an envelope inside. The title of the film appears in Finnish, followed by a close up of some paragraphs written in Spanish in the notebook. We hear a first-person narration in Finnish, although what is said does not correspond to the words from the notebook. These are Angelina’s words, taken from the diary she kept while in Chile, but the voice corresponds to her collaborator Anita Mikkonnen. Afterward, the coup appears in the form of the close up of a street sign: September 11 Avenue. Out of focus, cars pass by the street and, at times, obstruct the view of the sign. We hear the last verses of the song: I return finally without humiliating myself / Without asking forgiveness or oblivion / Man is never conquered / His defeat is always brief / An enticement that inflames / The vocation of war / And the nation that exiles / And the nation that welcomes / Will tell him that he lives / Sorrows of any land

The camera zooms out and then slowly pans to the right to give us a brief view of the avenue. It is 1983, winter, and Santiago looks gray and cold. The image of the sign is the filmmaker’s first shock: the urban presence of the date. In this opening, we find at work the main strategies of the film: a reflection on the events of the past and its meanings (archival footage), a direct invocation of the media and genres through which the reflection is produced (the journal, the letter, the diary, the newspaper), and a critical interrogation of the traces of the past for a politics of the present (the street sign). The final sequence mirrors the beginning. A group of musicians, actors, filmmakers, and other artists, organize an action of cultural intervention in the marketplace of an impoverished neighborhood. They perform popular plays, recite poems, share pamphlets announcing the next national protest day; and, finally, sing a famous Chilean folk song: Violeta Parra’s Volver a los diecisiete/To be seventeen again. Then, as the song continues to play, the image fades to a shot of an open notebook, with words written on its pages. The notebook lies on a table covered with newspapers. Next to the notebook, an envelope. The following words, which belong to Ortega y Gasset, appear on the screen over the image: “Folklore is a rumor / that goes from home to home / from man to man / from silence to silence.” Then the words disappear and the image fades to a very similar shot. Instead of the notebook, we see only a blank sheet of paper, next to the envelope. Over the credits, Angelina’s voice offers a final reflection in a poetic language.

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Figure 8.1  Fragmentos de un diario inacabado/Fragments from an Unfinished Diary, 1983.

The rich textual materiality of the final image of the film synthesizes a convergence of media and literary genres: the newspaper, the letter, the song, the philosophical essay, the poem Everything is there, in an image that absorbs at the same time as it stratifies the meanings embedded in it. Newspapers in Spanish refer to the news from home, the signs of a political present that distance renders inaccessible. Over the dry, objective language of news, the subjectivity of the I expresses itself through the letter. The language of the essay, typed over these images, summarizes two of the topics of the film: popular art (folklore) and exile (the transit from home to home). The Finnish subtitles, also typed over the images, highlight the multilingual nature of any exile film. Finally, the voice-over, the same I that writes the letter, emerges in the soundtrack in the form of Mikkonnen’s voice. However, languages are now reversed. This I speaks in Finnish, with corresponding Spanish subtitles: “I want to give you a poem, Santiago . . . / a soft song, an insolent whispering . . . / when I have yet to be assaulted / by the unsolved mysteries of your indicative present.” The poem is heard as the final credits appear on screen, and while we can still hear Parra’s song about returning to a lost adolescence. The sum of voice, song, and image emphasize here the unfinished nature of exile and return—always unsolved, always to be reckoned with, always present and yet distant in space and in time. Furthermore, the final sequence, like the film as a whole, plays on the permanent transition from the diary to the letter, a transition that also mirrors

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the displacement from the private to the public—and what remains in between them—that these genres represent. This transition plays a vital role in the experience of exile, especially for the subject who returns home, because, as Naficy has said, exile and epistolarity “necessitate one another, for distance and absence drive them both. However, by addressing someone in an epistle, an illusion of presence is created that hovers in the text’s interstices.”29 Epistolarity is present in these homecoming documentaries in a literal way, when we see letters being written and sent to the homeland, but also as a literary genre that structures the narrative of the film. The first person, the author who is at the same time subject and object of its work, is foregrounded in the film through the act of writing a letter and addressing someone in particular. The voice-over implies an addressee. Similar to Littín, who frequently adds interjections like “I am telling you” to his narration, Vázquez utters “You surprise me, Santiago, and the vigor with which you transmit the recognizable presences without accenting the irremediable absences.” Besides the emphasis of what was once there and is not found upon returning, “You surprise me” bears the markers of the collective consciousness of the city, addressed in a familiar form of “you.” “Me” indicates the exilic subjectivity that switches from one language to the other, from past to present, and from one national territory to another, in order to rebuild its fragmented self in the act of homecoming.

Conclusion In 1983, in the middle of the military dictatorship and at the beginning of the first massive protests against the regime, two Chilean exile filmmakers returned to their country for a brief period. Their cameras wandered through the cities and captured the streets that seemed so different to them now. Both Ruiz’s The Return and Vázquez’s Fragments demonstrate a fascination with a moving camera capable of producing a portrait of the contemporary urban landscape. Both films reveal an obsession with language: on the one hand, with the linguistic confrontation between French and Spanish, and between Finnish and Spanish; on the other, with the fundamental instability of the linguistic sign. Words become shapeable, malleable, reappropriated. Their meanings become fragile through the contrast with those of the images that accompany them.

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The subjectivity of the exile is exposed in this fragility. Split into multiple allegiances, living in between different times and spaces, exiles must confront who they once were with who they are now. They have gained the “privilege” of the outsider, the ability to look at one’s own culture with foreign eyes. But they cannot do away entirely with the ties that connect them to their nation, and to the more concrete representations of the symbolic realm of the homeland—a neighborhood, a home, a familiar bar. Against the state that has expelled them from home, against the nostalgia that idealizes and fetishizes the images of the nation, and against traditional documentary aesthetics, they use their own voice to perform the pains and joys of the exilic self. They are inscribed as authors in the film, but their voice is always questioned—overshadowed, denied by the French narrator in The Return or performed by someone else in Fragments, blurred and softened by the epistolary qualities of other literary genres in Vázquez’s film. Exile films have returned to national film archives through repatriation, and to national audiences through retrospectives and public screenings; nevertheless, Chilean exile cinema continues to be produced. It did not end with the fall of Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1988. Many directors—such as Marilú Mallet, Patricio Guzmán, Raúl Ruiz, and Carmen Castillo—never returned and continued their careers in exile. Even today, fictions and documentary films about exile and its aftermath, as well as narratives of return, are being produced as ways to critically reflect on Chile in the context of the postdictatorship.30 Chilean exile cinema is thus an exemplary model for discussing the nature of exilic cinema, since exile and return as cultural processes remain unfinished, and their film and media afterlives continue to reverberate in the present.

Notes 1 The catalogue published by Zuzana Pick in 1984 totals 176 films. This list continues to be the most authoritative on the topic. However, since it ends in 1983, it does not account for the large number of exile films that have been made from that date until the present, two decades after the return to democracy in 1990. While an exact figure is difficult to establish, I estimate over 200 Chilean exile films. For an official catalogue, see Zuzana Pick, “Cronología del Cine Chileno en el Exilio 1973/1983.” Literatura Chilena, Creación y Crítica 27 (1984): 15–21.

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2 Collections of these writings are found in Michael T. Martin (ed.), New Latin American Cinema vol. 1 and 2 (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1997) and in Michael Chanan (ed.), Twenty Five Years of the New Latin American Cinema (London: BFI, 1983). 3 Miguel Littín, “Chilean Film Makers and the Popular Government Political Manifesto,” translated by Sylvia Harvey. In Chilean Cinema, edited by Michal Chanan (London: BFI, 1976), 83. 4 José Miguel Palacios, “Contradicciones del manifiesto de los cineastas chilenos de la Unidad Popular.” In Enfoques al cine chileno en dos siglos, edited by Mónica Villarroel (Santiago: LOM, 2013). 5 For recent and critical views on this topic, see Verónica Cortínez and Manfred Engelbert, La tristeza de los tigres y los misterios de Raúl Ruiz (Santiago: Cuarto Propio, 2011) and Bruno Cuneo (ed.), Ruiz: Entrevistas escogidas – filmografía comentada (Santiago: UDP, 2013). 6 The exact number of Chilean exiles is uncertain; however, an estimate of 200,000 is officially accepted now. The destinies of these exiles were extremely varied and led to 110 countries. The largest communities of Chilean exiles were formed in France, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. At least the first four countries in this list coincide with some of the preferred destinations of Chilean filmmakers. For numbers and statistics of Chilean exiles see Anne Marie Gaillard, Exils et retours: itinéraires chiliens (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997), José Del Pozo Artigas (ed.), Exiliados, emigrados y retornados: Chilenos en América y Europa, 1973-2004 (Santiago: RIL, 2006), and Estela Aguirre and Sonia Chamorro, “L”, Memoria gráfica del exilio chileno: 1973-1989 (Santiago: Ocho Libros Editores, 2009). 7 Zuzana M. Pick, “Chilean Cinema: Ten Years of Exile (1973-83).” Jump Cut 32 (1987): n.p., http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC32folder/ ChileanFilmExile.html (August 24, 2013). 8 For instance, I distinguish between: (1) filmmakers working under state-funded TV networks, often in welfare states (Canada, Sweden, Finland), (2) those working in socialist regimes (Cuba, The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe), (3) Latin American countries (Nicaragua, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia), and (4) authorial and/or independent cinemas (France). 9 There are a few relevant exceptions to this isolation. For example, the round panel held in the 1979 Moscow International Film Festivals, where exile directors Miguel Littín, Jaime Barrios, Sebastián Alarcón, Cristián Valdés, Orlando Lübbet, together with writers José Donoso and José Miguel Varas, discussed the nature of Chilean exile cinema and the path it should pursue. The joint project of Valeria Sarmiento (exiled in France) and Marilú Mallet (in Canada) deserves to

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be mentioned as well. These filmmakers planned to “film” letters to each other. One would send a film, the other would respond with a second film, and so on. The project was aborted due to lack of funding (though Sarmiento shot the first “letter”, now lost), but Marilú Mallet reformulated it and turned it into Journal Inachevé (1982). Here I follow David Featherstone, for whom solidarity, seeking to challenge forms of oppression and rejecting the limits of the nation-state, is a transformative practice “constructed through uneven power relations and geographies.” David Featherstone, Solidarity: Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism (London: Zed Books, 2012), 6. Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden (eds), Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader (New York: Routledge, 2006), 1. Natasa Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman (eds), World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2009), x. Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader, 2. Pick, “Chilean Cinema: Ten Years of Exile (1973-83),” n.p. In this regard, the notion of “internal exiles” could be useful. See Coco Fusco, Internal Exiles: New Films and Videos from Chile (New York: Third World Newsreel, 1990). Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 4. The ambivalence and incertitude of the location of exile is highlighted in the opening scene of Ruiz’s Dialogues of exiles (1974), where an African man asks a Chilean where he comes from. He tries to guess the name of the country, insistently, but only gets as a response from the exile: “no, further away. Further away”. Jacqueline Mouesca, Plano secuencia de la memoria de Chile: Veinticinco años de cine chileno 1960-1985, 155. Hamid Naficy, “Framing Exile. From Homeland to Homepage.” In Home, Exile, Homeland. Film, Media, and the Politics of Place, edited by Hamid Naficy (New York: Routledge, 1999), 3. Edward Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 173. Sophia McLennen argues a similar point when saying that “the literature of exile contains a series of dialectic tensions revolving around central components of the exile’s cultural identity: nation, time, language, and space.” Sophia McLennen, The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2004), 2. See also Zuzana Pick, “Chilean Cinema in Exile (1973-1986). The Notion of Exile; A Field of Investigation and its Conceptual Framework.” Framework 34 (1988): 44.

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22 To highlight the unfinished nature of exile, Elizabeth Ramírez draws on Mario Benedetti’s notion of desexilio, which she uses to revisit these cinematic homecomings of the 1980s. Elizabeth Ramírez, “Journeys of Desexilio: The Bridge Between the Past and the Present.” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 18, 3 (2014, forthcoming). 23 Cahiers du Cinéma, No. 345 (March 1983). 24 Quoted in Bruno Cuneo, “Mi pequeña historia de O.” In Ruiz: Entrevistas escogidas – filmografía comentada, edited by Bruno Cuneo (Santiago: UDP, 2013), 195–6 [my translation]. 25 This is why the short film is often known as Letter from a Filmmaker, Or, The Return of a Library Lover. 26 Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, edited and translated by Caryl Emerson (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 185. 27 Laura Senio-Blair, “El lente circular del exilio: (re) fundar la identidad chilena por el medio fílmico.” Aisthesis 54 (2013): 227. 28 For a reading of the confessional nature of Aldunate’s testimony, see Ivan Pinto, “Lo Incompleto. Desajuste y Fractura en Dos Diarios Fílmicos del Exilio Chileno.” In Prismas del Cine Latinoamericano, edited by Wolfgang Bongers (Santiago: Cuarto Propio, 2012), 215–35. 29 Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema. Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, 5. 30 A few examples are: El edificio de los chilenos (Macarena Aguiló and Susana Foxley, 2010), El eco de las canciones (Antonia Rossi, 2010), and Vuelta y vuelta: memorias del exilio chileno (Daniela Bichl and Markus Toth, 2013).

Works cited Aguirre, Estela and Sonia Chamorro. “L”, Memoria gráfica del exilio chileno: 1973-1989. Santiago: Ocho Libros Editores, 2009. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, edited and translated by Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. Cahiers du Cinéma. Numéro Spécial No. 345, March 1983. Chanan, Michael (ed.). Twenty Five Years of the New Latin American Cinema. London: BFI, 1983. Cortínez, Verónica and Manfred Engelbert. La tristeza de los tigres y los misterios de Raúl Ruiz. Santiago: Cuarto Propio, 2011. Cuneo, Bruno. “Mi pequeña historia de O.” In Ruiz: Entrevistas escogidas – filmografía comentada, edited by Bruno Cuneo. Santiago: UDP, 2013, 195–208. Del Pozo Artigas, José (ed.). Exiliados, emigrados y retornados: Chilenos en América y Europa, 1973-2004. Santiago: RIL, 2006.

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Ďurovičová, Natasa. “Preface.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Natasa Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman. New York: Routledge, 2009, x–xv. Ezra, Elizabeth and Terry Rowden. “General Introduction: What is Transnational Cinema?” In Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader, edited by Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden. New York: Routledge, 2006, 1–12. Featherstone, David. Solidarity: Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism. London: Zed Books, 2012. Fusco, Coco. Internal Exiles: New Films and Videos from Chile. New York: Third World Newsreel, 1990. Gaillard, Anne Marie. Exils et retours: itinéraires chiliens. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997. Littín, Miguel. “Chilean Film Makers and the Popular Government Political Manifesto,”translated by Sylvia Harvey. In Chilean Cinema, edited by Michal Chanan. London: BFI, 1976, 83–4. Martin, Michael T. (ed.). New Latin American Cinema vol. 1 and 2. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1997. McLennen, Sophia. The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2004. Mouesca, Jacqueline. Plano secuencia de la memoria de Chile: Veinticinco años de cine chileno 1960-1985. Madrid: Ediciones del Litoral, 1988. Naficy, Hamid. “Framing Exile. From Homeland to Homepage.” In Home, Exile, Homeland. Film, Media, and the Politics of Place, edited by Hamid Naficy. New York: Routledge, 1999, 1–13. —. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. “Orientación y perspectivas del cine chileno. Mesa redonda realizada en el Festival Internacional de Cine de Moscú 1979. Participantes: Sebastián Alarcón, Jaime Barrios, José Donoso, Eduardo Labarca, Miguel Littin, Orlando Lübbert, Cristián Valdés y José Miguel Varas (moderador)”. Araucaria de Chile 11 (1980): 119–36. Palacios, José Miguel. “Contradicciones del manifiesto de los cineastas chilenos de la Unidad Popular.” In Enfoques al cine chileno en dos siglos, edited by Mónica Villarroel. Santiago: LOM, 2013, 127–35. Pick, Zuzana. “Cronología del Cine Chileno en el Exilio 1973/1983.” Literatura Chilena, Creación y Crítica 27 (1984): 15–21. —. “Chilean Cinema: Ten Years of Exile (1973-83).” Jump Cut 32 (1987), http://www. ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC32folder/ChileanFilmExile.html (accessed August 24, 2013). —. “Chilean Cinema in Exile (1973-1986). The Notion of Exile: A Field of Investigation and its Conceptual Framework.” Framework 34 (1988): 39–57. Pinto, Ivan. “Lo Incompleto. Desajuste y Fractura en Dos Diarios Fílmicos del Exilio Chileno.” In Prismas del Cine Latinoamericano, edited by Wolfgang Bongers. Santiago: Cuarto Propio, 2012, 215–35.

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Ramírez, Elizabeth. “Journeys of Desexilio: The Bridge Between the Past and the Present.” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 18, 3 (2014, forthcoming). Said, Edward. Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000. Senio-Blair, Laura. “El lente circular del exilio: (re) fundar la identidad chilena por el medio fílmico.” Aisthesis 54 (2013): 223–36.

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Burning Straw Men: The 1979 Revolution and Bahman Farmanara’s Stubborn Cosmopolitanism Matthew Holtmeier

As a director who began his career in the early 1970s, Bahman Farmanara provides a unique case study of a “cinematic homecoming” in relation to the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Farmanara established his career in Iran with feature films such as The House of Ghamar Khanum (1972) and Prince Ehtejab (1974), and was making Tall Shadows of the Wind (1978–9) as the Revolution took place. Almost two decades later, he returned to filmmaking with Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine (2000). While Farmanara left Iran due to the Revolution, he returned in 1985 to assist with the family business. The relationship between Farmanara’s homecoming and the filmmaking environment in Iran as it weathered the Revolution of 1979 makes this director’s case a particularly poignant site of study for examining the history of Iranian cinema, as Farmanara and Parviz Kimiavi were the first two directors to return to Iran to make films after the Revolution, which prefigured, as Hamid Naficy points out, a subsequent generation of transnational Iranian filmmakers born abroad that traveled to Iran to make films.1 While this chapter focuses on Farmanara’s career, the travels of these two directors reflect a cosmopolitanism that clashes with the insularity of the postrevolutionary state and adds an important facet to the study of contemporary Iranian cinema. The 15-year gap between Farmanara’s return to Iran and Smell of Camphor’s release reflects the director’s struggles not only with government institutions of censorship, but with his own sense of national identity in postrevolutionary Iran. In this chapter, I examine the transition from Farmanara’s last prerevolution film to his first postrevolution film as a way to analyze the effects of the Revolution

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on Iranian cinematic and cultural production. To approach this topic, I focus on two important historical formations that inform Farmanara’s experience: cinematic censorship in Iran and the transition from the Iranian New Wave to the New Iranian Cinema as trends in filmmaking and artistic production. While censorship had long been a part of the nation’s cinematic history, the postrevolutionary regime investigated potential anti-religious sentiment with fervor and introduced new agencies such as the Committee for the Prevention of Sin and Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance dedicated to the monitoring of cultural and artistic production. And, as Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad argues, the negotiation of censorship in Iran constitutes a “social practice” and an important site of struggle where filmmakers and censors, especially relevant in Farmanara’s case due to his departure and return, articulate the “Iranian subject.”2 My focus on “waves” of filmmaking in Iran follows from Farmanara’s participation in both the Iranian New Wave and the Iranian New Cinema, pre- and postrevolution, respectively. I argue that these movements played an important role in determining whether Farmanara was able to make films due to their respective associations with a secular, critical intellectualism and a growing international festival presence. Finally, I provide close readings of Tall Shadows of the Wind and Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, which reveal Farmanara’s stubborn cosmopolitanism despite attempts of the Iranian state to construct a religious framework for Iranian society and its subjects. My argument in this chapter engages directly with the ideas put forth by Samuel Huntington in his controversial 1993 essay, “The Clash of Civilizations.” Huntington has called the societal shift prompted by the 1979 Revolution a “clash of civilizations,” as the previously West-friendly regime was replaced by an Islamic Republic.3 In a manuscript-length rendition of his famous 1993 essay, “Clash of Civilizations?,” originally published in Foreign Affairs, he refers to the events of 1979 in Iran as “an intercivilizational quasi war . . . between Islam and the West.”4 Huntington lays out his claim in Foreign Affairs: It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. . . . The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battles lines of the future.5 In other words, in the post-Cold War era and amidst the rise of religious or culturally motivated nation states, identified in groups such as “Arab or Chinese communities,” broader cultural identifiers will effect the consolidation of individuals into “us” and “them.”6

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While Huntington’s premise offers an unnecessarily antagonistic view of international affairs, such an oppositional framework has often been used to examine the effects of 1979 on Iranian culture as religious sentiment became legislature. Although official responses to Farmanara’s return to the Iranian film industry seem to support this “clash of civilizations,” I argue that Farmanara’s oeuvre, in fact, provides a nuanced critique of Huntington’s thesis. Huntington concludes his polemic with the warning that: “For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with others.”7 As Farmanara’s experience shows, however, the fluidity of cultural flows complicates such a simplistic understanding of culture, and while the Revolution itself seems to validate claims of increasing cultural conflict, Farmanara’s actual films are indicative of a more molecular movement, composed of heterogeneous elements, that gestures toward intimate global bonds rather than divisions.

Always political: Censorship and “New Waves” in Iranian cinema Historians of Iranian cinema, such as Naficy and Hamid Reza Sadr, are quick to point out that censorship has played a role in Iranian film culture since the time the film was introduced to Iran in 1900 directly into the royal court. Since their introduction, cinematic technologies have simultaneously held a prominent and an antagonistic role, prompting the exercise of executive power by the state as early as 1904, when public screenings were banned. The 1904 ban resulted from the concerns of clergy, but the regulation of cinema in Iran has also been motivated by secular demands and has often played a role in negotiating an image of Iran as distinct from or similar to other global powers, depending on the desires of the regime. The Pahlavi Dynasty, the ruling monarchy until 1979, was committed to Westernizing Iran, an effort that often entailed censorship of cinematic products that questioned the efficacy of Iran’s modernization. Sadr offers the American documentary Grass (dirs. Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack 1925) as a key example. Grass depicts the annual migration of a nomadic tribe that, in resisting the modernizing efforts of Reza Shah, remained on the periphery of the Pahlavis’ vision for Iran. Because the subjects of the film were portrayed as almost-outlaws that the Shah could not reign in, the film was banned, a

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move that Sadr argues “set a precedent for the future. Every film related to Iran would henceforth be judged politically.”8 Furthermore, as Sadr puts it, “Censorship was not a security matter, but was tied in with the desire to remove all obstacles impeding modernisation.”9 At several points during the Pahlavis’ rule, extensive guidelines for the censoring of films were established by the state.10 Each iteration—in 1938, 1950, and 1965—illustrated the way that the cinematic medium was used as a tool to construct a state-approved “Iranian subject.” Although created by the Shah’s officials and enforced by the “police authorities” and entities such as the Customs and Excise Department, these guidelines often included particular clauses governing the depiction of religion as well, reflecting the close relationship that secular and religious institutions have held throughout the prerevolutionary history of Iran. As a popular rejection of Westernization, however, the Islamic Revolution revised this cinematic censorship, while maintaining the same general goal of the production of Iranian citizens in line with the state—albeit now an Islamic Republic. While earlier regulations included rules pertaining to the depiction of religion, the Revolution created the opportunity for religious committees, such as the Ministry for the Prevention of Sin, to take complete control of censorship, which immediately compromised Farmanara’s Tall Shadows of the Wind, an emblematic example of the societal shift taking place in the late 1970s. The Islamic Republic’s reaction to Tall Shadows of the Wind was also colored by Farmanara’s earlier work as part of the Iranian New Wave, a movement that included directors such as Ebrahim Golestan, Dariush Mehrjui, and Masud Kimiai. Reflecting the influence of Italian neo-realism and the French New Wave, the Iranian New Wave represented a concerted effort on the part of filmmakers interested in film as art and intellectual practice to elevate Iranian cinema beyond popular entertainment.11 After studying abroad in the United Kingdom and the United States, Farmanara returned to Iran where modernist writers and filmmakers were actively engaging with the New Wave’s critical and intellectual traditions in advancing their artistic practice. As Reza J. Poudeh and M. Reza Shirvani explain, “In the 1970s many Iranian filmmakers educated abroad returned home to enhance the identity of Iranian national cinema.”12 And though the Pahlavi Dynasty may have been “styled” after the West, this was a vital period for resolutely Iranian art with its poetic traditions. A popular poet herself, Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black (1963) provides an early example of the Iranian New Wave as it combines formal playfulness with political sentiment in

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a philosophical treatise on the experience of lepers in a colony. While reporting the daily lives of those living in the colony in documentary fashion, the film also suggests the subjective, lived experience of the colony’s inhabitants through techniques such as voice-over narration composed of the director’s poetry and repetitive shots of seemingly insignificant actions like a man running his hands up and down a plaster wall. In contrast to the more entertainment-focused “Film Farsi”—prerevolution Iranian films inspired by Hollywood and Indian cinema—New Wave films were often political in both form and content. As Naficy explains in his taxonomy of Iranian cinema, which includes categories that reflect the role religion plays in the financing and censorship of films, “ ‘Art-house cinema,’ . . . like the Pahlavi period’s new-wave cinema, engages with dominant values and tends to critique, implicitly and explicitly, social conditions and ruling Islamicate values.”13 Not lost on the censors who stepped in during the Revolution, Farmanara’s earlier film, Prince Ehtejab, not only follows these tenets of the New Wave in terms of its formal invention, but also its political sentiment. Prince Ehtejab, Farmanara’s first film as a “writer-director,” subtly critiques the monarchy while revealing the human, if wicked, side of Prince Ehtejab through a series of flashbacks and historical accounts. The plot becomes even more complicated as the Prince tries to transform a servant into his wife, in the style of Vertigo (1958), after his wife dies. The film’s narrative follows the Prince’s descent into madness and death as it leaps backward and forward in time, an attempt to capture the modernism of its source-text: Houshang Golshiri’s novel Prince Ehtejab. Through a quasi-Freudian reading of the Prince’s upbringing, these flashbacks detail the events that probably led to his insanity toward the end of his life. Most notably, these events include one scene where a woman, intent on securing royal progeny of her own, forcibly seduces the young Prince, telling him “Don’t you want to ride a naked horse?” The Prince, young and uninterested, flees into a room full of praying individuals to find his grandmother. The juxtaposition of the attempt at forced intercourse, which includes female nudity, and the religious service did not sit well with the clergy who stepped in to censor films after the Revolution. Other scenes unmistakably critique the ruling monarchy, such as when the Prince pours an entire bottle of wine into a cup until it brims over the sides, at which point the film cuts to a montage of photos of the royal family accompanied by the sound of gunshots, which could be read as an argument that the dynasty’s extravagance led to its own downfall. The film ends with the Prince’s servant paradoxically informing the Prince of his

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own death, and proceeding to smash pictures of the royal family with his cane, signaling the end of the dynasty. Prince Ehtejab helps to explain Farmanara’s emergence within the context of the Iranian New Wave and elucidates the difficulty he faced after the Revolution as someone with ties to prerevolution intellectualism and a reputation as a dissenter. Despite this position, Farmanara eventually returned to Iran to make Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, a film that relishes its interstitial position: between literary traditions, global locations, and even potential realities. Before turning to this film, and how it complicates Huntington’s vision, I will first offer an analysis of the film that prompted Farmanara’s self-imposed exile from Iran, Tall Shadows of the Wind, a film that helps to explain the circumstances of his departure and the difficulty of his cinematic homecoming.

Tall Shadows of the Wind and the negotiation of censorship Farmanara once joked that Tall Shadows of the Wind has “the dubious distinction . . . of having been banned by both the Shah and Khomeini’s regime,” which illustrates the director’s particular quality of being an active filmmaker both before and after the Revolution.14 Made in 1978, Tall Shadows of the Wind provides a unique case study, as its production and distribution actually spanned the Revolution itself. The difficulties Farmanara faced as a result lead to his initial self-imposed exile from Iran. Neither particularly Western, nor rigidly Islamic, the film provides a useful example that complicates Huntington’s claims regarding a clash between Islam and the West. Furthermore, it reveals the complicated issue of censorship during a tumultuous period where regulations were not clearly codified and articulated to filmmakers, but were instead handled by an ad-hoc “Committee for the Prevention of Sin” that predated the Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance, established in 1984. While stylistically distinct from Prince Ehtejab, Tall Shadows of the Wind still fits well with the category of films referred to as the Iranian New Wave. Both in form and content, the film resembles Mehrjui’s iconic film The Cow (1969) with its slow and steady focus on the daily lives of rural villagers, borrowing from a neo-realist impulse, and the extraordinary transformation of a village with seemingly metaphysical consequences in both films. Similar to other Iranian New Wave films, it asks strikingly philosophical questions regarding the power of belief within the

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group dynamic of the village. Not without the New Wave’s poetic qualities, the film ends with a lengthy shot of the protagonist’s friend staring out a window, as a gust of wind rustles a stack of papers, revealed as poetry when the camera zooms into the words, “The sea is jealous of the depth of the well from which you have drunk.” The film follows the unexpected consequences that arise when Abdullah, a bus-driver for a small village, decides to draw a face in his own likeness on a scarecrow in one of the village’s fields. While other villagers describe this as a “childish” act and suggest that Abdullah needs to get married so that he will mature, the scarecrow nonetheless begins to take on increasing significance for the village. At times, the film assumes the generic conventions of a horror film, with a suspenseful and discordant score accompanied by sound effects that suggest something stalking the night and lighting that shrouds the film in darkness or lets shadows play across the screen. These formal features justify several narrative points where characters become terrified of the scarecrow or fall ill—one scene even links an abortion to the presence of the scarecrow. At other times, the film moves away from the horror genre and focuses on the strange, almost reverential relationship that has developed between the scarecrow and various villagers. Later in the film, a woman from the village causes concern when she pours water over the head of the scarecrow and then her own, suggesting she is including the scarecrow in the preparation for prayer. The film ends with the burning of the scarecrows and Abdullah’s contraction of gangrene, an ailment that requires him to cut off one of his legs. Faced with the proposition of resembling the scarecrow and its single-post that runs into the ground, Abdullah chooses to die instead. The villagers’ response to the scarecrow, whether one of fear or reverence, might be construed as a metaphor for the Iranian people’s reaction to either the regime of the Shah or the religion of the Revolutionary regime. Despite this potential for social critique, the actual reason given by the Committee for the Prevention of Sin after the Revolution for the film’s censorship was the inaccurately estimated number of scarecrows burnt in the film. The censors claimed that 14 scarecrows were burnt, suggesting a correlation with the burning of 14 saints, or the “14 infallibles” of Shi’i Islam. The seemingly fabricated grounds on which Tall Shadows of the Wind was banned indicate the nascent state of cinematic regulation at the time. Surprisingly, the eventual reason given for the banning of the film ignores the obvious examples of intimacy, drinking alcohol, and female nudity that were strictly censored once the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance was

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established in 1984. Zeydabadi-Nejad argues that the reason films are censored or banned in Iran is likely more complicated than including content “critical of the regime.” This is particularly true of later Iranian films, since features that would necessitate banning a film, such as unveiled women or overt sexuality, are avoided by the directors. He instead focuses on the “negotiations that take place between filmmakers and authorities in charge of regulating filmmaking practices.”15 Through this negotiation, Zeydabadi-Nejad argues, cinema and cinematic censorship constitutes a social practice in Iran, where social codes and norms can be constructed and understood. Considering Tall Shadows of the Wind within this framework illustrates the pivotal role it played in helping to develop the new lens through which film would be understood in postrevolutionary Iran. For example, this film includes scenes that portray Islamic conventions accurately, such as the absence of hijab in domestic spaces and spaces restricted to women only such as a public bathing house, where brief nudity also occurs. Since the cinema is a public space, however, regulations eventually developed to require all actresses to wear hijab regardless of the context. In other words, while this film was not anti-Islamic in its realism, it does not fit the postrevolutionary regime’s ideas of what film should look like. For a more subtle example, the film captures the early throes of romance between Abdullah and his love interest Nargess in a single close-up, illustrating close proximity. While they avoid making direct eye contact, as per what Naficy refers to as a “unique system of looking” in line with Islamic culture, such an intimate formal technique eventually became sufficient reason for banning a film in Iran.16 While Tall Shadows of the Wind did receive a 3-day release after the Revolution, the features I have just discussed likely contributed to the quick rescinding of this permission. This initial banning after the Revolution is also what prompted Farmanara’s initial departure from Iran. He recounts the experience in an interview with Hamid Dabashi: They called from the theater to tell me that the Committee for the Prevention of Sin had banned the film. So I went to this committee. . . . I was put through a nine-hour interrogation. Nine hours. A young clergyman was doing the questioning; apparently he had been briefed on films, or he liked films—I don’t know. First, he accused us of burning fourteen scarecrows in one scene, as a figurative burning of the fourteen saints. I really was taken aback, because I knew we had made thirty scarecrows for that particular scene.17

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Farmanara proceeded to help the clergyman set up a Moviola so that they could watch the scene in question. After reviewing the scene, Farmanara pointed out that there were 16 scarecrows shown in the shot, but the clergyman wouldn’t accede. Eventually, the clergyman referred to Prince Ehtejab, claiming that all of Farmanara’s previous films “had been against religion.”18 At this point, Farmanara believed someone higher up within the “cinema establishment” desired the end of his career. He explains to Dabashi, “it was then and there that I decided to leave Iran, because I thought, OK, the film has been banned. I can’t fight it anymore. The cultural struggle was becoming too complicated.”19 Unfortunately, taking part in this initial cultural negotiation proved to be detrimental to Farmanara’s eventual cinematic homecoming. Not only did Farmanara leave Iran during the Revolution, a potential admission of dissent, but his entire career, as a result of this experience with the young clergyman, was now being framed as anti-Islamic. This is perhaps not too surprising, since the earlier Prince Ehtejab, while not as critical of religion as the clergyman claimed, was extremely critical of the monarchy. As Farmanara’s experience shows, however, this critical stance toward the monarchy did not curry him any favor with the new regime, as censors focused exclusively on depictions of religion in the film. The particular scene mentioned, which the clergyman claimed “parallel cut a religious ceremony with the masturbation of a whore,” actually depicts the sexual abuse of a young prince by a woman who is later punished, but the scene is also graphic in its depiction of the sex act and would perhaps be an even more difficult argument to win, due to the strict censorship of female nudity in postrevolution film, than the clergy’s connection between saints and straw men in Tall Shadows of the Wind.20 Farmanara’s choice to leave Iran, rather than attempt to defend his career, however, is not so surprising considering his international background. He started his education in England, studying acting, and ultimately received a BA in Cinema, with the goal of directing, from the University of Southern California. And, at the time of his departure, his father was already living in Vancouver, British Columbia. With both the money and connections to live and work abroad, Farmanara already belonged to a class of global elites, which afforded him the luxury of a self-imposed exile. While I do not mean to diminish the severity of his departure, this context helps to explain his time abroad, eventual return, and the genesis of Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, a film that openly proclaims its global connections.

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Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine and Farmanara’s homecoming Before returning to Iran, Farmanara spent time in Europe and North America, experiences that provide important background context for the director’s semiautobiographical return to filmmaking in Iran. While scholars looking at the global film festival circuit often examine a film’s travel to highlight particular strategies in production and reception, such as the way Sixth Generation Chinese filmmakers have used global distribution to avoid censorship or the way Abbas Kiarostami developed a global market for his art-house films, in this chapter I look instead to the global travels of Farmanara himself as a way of examining the difficulties that arise when a director’s cosmopolitan subjectivity comes into conflict with the vision of a state-run industry. Within a week of his encounter with the Committee for the Prevention of Sin in 1980, Farmanara took his wife and three children to Paris for 7 months, where he began to research potential film projects he could work on in Canada where his father lived. This led him to set up a children’s film festival in Vancouver, and to start a production company in Toronto. In 1985, Farmanara then moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he set up several other production companies. It was during this year that his brother, who was running the family business back home, fell ill, and Farmanara’s father asked him if he would return to Iran to take care of the factory. He agreed and returned to Iran that year. Although his primary occupation became running the family factory, he started to submit scripts to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance that had, by that time, replaced the Committee for the Prevention of Sin. As he recounts, “in order to keep sane, because I had never thought that I could go into the textile business and be happy, after six or seven months of being in Iran, I submitted my first script to the Ministry of Culture to see whether they would allow me to work.”21 At this point, however, he had several strikes against his career: he was a successful prerevolutionary director who left the country as a result of the Revolution, and he was known for critical films such as Prince Ehtejab. He explains the ensuing process with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance: “this became a yearly battle. I would submit a script. After eight or nine months, they would summon me to a meeting, or sometimes not even have a meeting. They would just send me a message that the script was not approved without giving a reason.”22 In postrevolution Iran, Farmanara worked as a displaced filmmaker, no longer

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benefiting from an established career or membership in a film movement such as the Iranian New Wave. He labored under these conditions for 15 years before finally submitting a script the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance would accept. The script was for Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine and the peculiar circumstances surrounding its production marked this director’s cinematic homecoming. Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine provides an “almost” autobiographical account of the director’s return to filmmaking in Iran, a point weakly obfuscated by the protagonist’s, played by the director himself, slight change in name: Bahman Farjami, rather than Bahman Farmanara. The film operates on an existential register, following Farjami’s daily business as he goes about the production of a documentary on Iranian burial rites for a Japanese television station. This includes trips to buy props for his television show, such as when he goes to buy a hejleh, a ceremonial light used for weddings and memorials, but also even more ordinary events such as a trip to the doctor’s office. While Farjami encounters a few unusual events—for instance, a woman leaves a dead child in his car to avoid the wrath of her husband, which necessitates a visit to Farjami’s lawyer—the events of the film are quotidian in nature, until the unreliable end of the film in which the director seemingly witnesses his own funeral. While Farjami’s death is foreshadowed throughout the film, the conclusion of the film reveals a meta-narrative that overshadows the seemingly ordinary events that lead up to it, confusing the film’s trajectory. Although the film can be taken at face value—it is about an Iranian television producer preparing for a documentary on Iranian burial rites—it can also be read as the story of an Iranian filmmaker preparing for his own funeral. The juxtaposition of the realist nature of the film with an overarching, philosophical reading of this realist narrative aligns Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine with a group of postrevolution films making headlines on the global festival circuit. The New Iranian Cinema included directors such as Kiarostami, Bahman Ghobadi, and Mohsen Makhmalbaf whose films often include multiple layers of “reality” stacked on top of one another as in Marriage of the Blessed (dir. Makhmalbaf 1989), Taste of Cherry (dir. Kiarostami 1997), and Half Moon (dir. Ghobadi 2006). While it is likely that fitting in with the work of these critically acclaimed directors may have helped Farmanara’s case when pitching Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, this particular style of layered narrative also helps to deliver the autobiographical content of the film.

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The commonplace nature of the events portrayed in the film shifts the focus from the progression of the narrative to the development of Farjami’s character. There are two significant points to this trajectory: first, the film depicts Farjami as sickly and rapidly approaching his own death, as he is constantly shown being wracked with coughing fits, smoking, and neglecting his doctor’s advice; second, the film marks Farjami as a global subject rather than a particularly Iranian subject by including, if only fleetingly on account of the censors, the idea that he has recently returned to Iran. As suggested by Farmanara’s global travels, this latter point directly connects the director to his on-screen counterpart historically. The former point has less to do with Farmanara’s material identity, and, I argue, operates as a metaphor for his attitude prior to and during the production of Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine. As Farjami says in the film, “When a filmmaker doesn’t make films or a writer doesn’t write, that is death.” The frustrations felt by the protagonist mirror Farmanara’s own attempts to make films upon returning to Iran, during the period from 1985 to 2000. Farmanara’s comments about this experience suggest a sort of decay, similar to Farjami’s descent toward his own death in the film: “I really went off the deep end. I had one of my most severe bouts of depression, and I thought they were never going to let me make films in Iran.”23 As a result, the film not only reflects Farmanara’s life experiences, but also provides a cinematic understanding or interpretation of his return to Iran. This interpretation, I argue, shows that Farmanara returns not as an Iranian subject, but as a global or networked subject whose existence contradicts Huntington’s forecast for the future of global relations. The networked nature of Farjami’s/Farmanara’s subjectivity is shown through cultural references and his use of language in the film, which suggests transhistorical and transnational elements of his subjectivity. By transhistorical, I do not mean eternal, but that his subjectivity spans two separate historical periods in Iran: before and after the Revolution.24 References in Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine suggest he was influenced by the intellectualism of the 1970s in Iran, a time where writers and filmmakers were collaborating to promote inventive uses of cinema, such as Farmanara’s collaboration with Houshang Golshiri on the almost avant-garde adaptation Prince Ehtejab. These references point not only to modernism in Iran, however, but also to more global, or specifically Western, literary traditions. For example, after Farjami returns from a visit to his doctor, he rests on the couch watching an interview with Franz Kafka on television. An interviewer asks Kafka questions about peace and justice, until he finally replies, “History is made of mistakes and acts of heroism at insignificant moments. If a

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pebble is thrown into the water a series of circular waves are produced.” The end of the film repeats this reference to Kafka through a visual citation as Farjami throws a stone in the water after coming out of the Fellini-esque scene of his own death being filmed. Farmanara’s emphasis on Kafka is significant not only as an allusion to the author’s influence on prerevolutionary writers and artists in Iran, but also as a reminder of the director’s real clash with Kafka-esque bureaucracy upon returning to Iran and encountering the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Later, when discussing the death of his wife, Farjami compares himself to “Miss Havisham”—a fitting reference considering the film depicts him living alone in a large mansion, with only a single servant keeping him company. This obvious invocation of Charles Dickens, a mainstay of the Western literary tradition, again illustrates Farjami’s interest in global literature, if not a preference for the West. While these examples situate Farjami within global literary traditions, his transnational business connections are more immediately revealed by the film’s narrative: that he is making a documentary for a Japanese television station. As a result, he is engaged in a transnational cultural exchange, as was true of his extra-filmic counterpart Farmanara, who was involved in the distribution of foreign films inside Iran before the Revolution. Early on in Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Farjami also displays his knowledge of, and even reliance on, languages other than Farsi. In a scene where Farjami is speaking to his son on the phone, he begins to explain the current project he is working on in Farsi, telling his son that he is “now making a documentary for Japanese television about the burial rites in Iran.” His son asks him to repeat what he said, signaling a misunderstanding, but instead of repeating what he said in Farsi, he repeats in English, “It means funeral arrangements in Iran.” His son’s immediate understanding after Farjami’s reiteration in English suggests that his son’s primary language may not be Farsi, though he seems to know it well enough to be conversant in it. While this point is not pursued further in the film, it makes sense through considering Farmanara’s travels after the Revolution. Upon leaving Iran in 1980, he took his family with him, but when he returned to Iran in 1985, his children did not accompany him, because by then they had started college. Living in Anglophone nations, Farmanara’s children could likely be more comfortable speaking English than Farsi, as the film suggests in its pseudo-fictional account. A similar moment occurs later in the film, as Farmanara concludes a conversation with his lawyer, “Merci, au revoir monsieur.” The use of both English and French, in addition to the Farsi that makes up most of the dialogue, too neatly encapsulates Farmanara’s travels

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abroad to suggest something other than an autobiographical connection with the film. Even more significantly, however, it reveals Farmanara’s international and networked subjectivity, resulting from his self-imposed exile and travels abroad. Despite these references to both Farmanara’s prerevolution career and international travels, the film still fits neatly into the evolving New Iranian Cinema paradigm that began emerging after the Revolution. This similarity partly stems from what Richard Tapper and Naficy refer to as the “Islamization of Cinema” and what Naficy later developed comprehensively as an “Islamicate gaze theory,” which required Farmanara to adapt to the new filmmaking culture in Iran after the Revolution.25 As a result, Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine had to follow certain cinematic codes, lest it risk being censored post-production. In Tall Shadows of the Wind, Farmanara was already following certain Islamic conventions associated with the gaze, but the Islamization Tapper and Naficy refer to required an even more fundamental change in his cinematic practice. This can be seen in the beginning of Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, when Farjami gives a ride to a woman with a child. In this scene, the film separates the two physically (the woman rides in the back seat and Farjami in the front); cinematically, they are not shown sharing a direct gaze. The closest contact between them occurs when Farjami glances into the rear view mirror. While this scene does not share the intimate context of the encounter between Abdullah and Nargess in Tall Shadows of the Wind, it does show that Farmanara has picked up the “situationist grammar of looking . . . that ranges from direct gaze to what [Naficy] has called the averted look.”26 Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine also shares qualities with films by directors such as Kiarostami, Samira Makhmalbaf, and Jafar Panahi, whose international renown has achieved relatively broad distribution for their films compared to the majority of Iranian cinema. Jared Rapfogel suggests that these directors share a “postmodern self consciousness,” which he describes as a “playful yet profound desire to nudge us out of the rut our narrative expectations have dug us into, to draw our attention and our interest to details, moments, and qualities that we generally register only as a blur out the window as the plot speeds us onwards.”27 Like Kiarostami’s Close-Up (1990), which confuses real events with fiction by telling a story based on real events and casting the actual individuals involved in the real events to reenact their past, Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine follows two simultaneous and overlapping narratives so that it becomes difficult to tell at any given point which narrative is the “true” narrative. As much as the film includes references to Western languages and literary traditions, it

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would be impossible to call this film a product of the West. Instead, its interstitial nature derives not just from the cultural hybridity of the director’s experience and the film’s content, as one might say of Kiarostami’s latest films Certified Copy (2010) and Like Someone in Love (2012), but because it has negotiated with, and has been approved by, the state-sponsored and controlled film industry of Iran while maintaining the director’s stubborn cosmopolitanism. Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, the film that marks Farmanara’s cinematic homecoming, reflects the director’s emergence in 1970s Iran, his significant time spent abroad, and his eventual adaptation to the new filmmaking environment in postrevolution Iran. Due to these influences, Farmanara presents a heterogeneous subject, composed simultaneously of the “civilizations” Huntington prophesies will clash; as such, he provides a counterpoint to Huntington’s claim of increasing cultural conflict, which depends on discrete subjects belonging to a national framework. This cosmopolitanism is not only a component of Farmanara’s subjectivity though, but also a quality common to his cinematic projects. In other words, his eventual successful negotiation with censors signals a turning point in the development of cultural space of Iran. As a film that received domestic exhibition, Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine entered the public sphere of cultural exchange and provided an example of a networked subject to other Iranian citizens. And in proving a cinematic homecoming to be possible even for a cosmopolitan subject such as Farmanara, it also acted as a testament to the emergence of a cultural space inside Iran not strictly controlled by the Republic.

Cinematic homecoming as the production of minorities While the laws and regulations dictating cinematic censorship in Iran have emerged from the 1979 Revolution with the purpose of introducing a “proper” Islamic-Iranian subject into post-1979 Iranian films, I argue that Farmanara’s cinematic homecoming reveals another effect of this project: namely, the production of minor-subjects that resist the clear boundaries, which Huntington might call “civilizational boundaries,” that would otherwise normalize the citizens of Iran—or at least their depiction in film. As Arjun Appadurai argues, “minorities do not come preformed. They are produced in the specific circumstances of every nation and every nationalism. They are often the carriers

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of the unwanted memories of the acts of violence that produced existing states, of forced conscription, or of violent extrusion as new states were formed.” As depicted in Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novels-turned-film Persepolis (2007), the Revolution resulted in physical violence and then violence against a set of subjects or ways-of-being-in-the-world that did not align with the program of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Those individuals that now live “out of place” in Iran as minorities or minor-subjects were produced by the Revolution and its displacement of previous norms as a stubborn cosmopolitanism persisted in the nation’s artistic communities, such as those depicted in Bahman Ghobadi’s Nobody Knows About Persian Cats (2009). While a number of prerevolution directors such as Bahram Baizai and Parviz Kimiavi had to acclimate to a new filmmaking environment in postrevolution Iran, Farmanara’s homecoming and the difficult conditions he faced as he tried to reintegrate into the Iranian film industry provides particularly detailed evidence for this production of minority subjects or, perhaps more accurately, the transformation of previously “normal” Iranian subjects into minor subjects. The film’s success at the 18th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran, where it won Best Director and Best Film as well as five other awards, makes it a particularly important case study, especially as these awards were decided by a committee appointed by the Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance.28 These minor-subjects illustrate a particularly important problem for Huntington’s argument regarding the “clash of civilizations.” While animosity may grow between large “vertebrate” entities—Appadurai’s term for coherent groups of nations, such as “The West” and “Islam in the Middle East”—these entities are riddled with subjects that cannot be contained by such categories. As a filmmaker, Farmanara contributes to the breakdown of these vertebrate entities through the production of his films. At stake in this engagement with Huntington’s model, through a negotiation between an Iranian filmmaker and Iranian state censorship, is an alternative political model founded on similarity rather than difference. In An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, Naficy establishes a dichotomy between two political modes of transnational cinemas in efforts “to resist total absorption”: “citadel cultures of withdrawal” and “rhizomatic group affiliations.”29 While the experience of “homecoming” inverts Naficy’s focus on exile and diaspora, I argue that Naficy’s model still applies as Farmanara finds himself in an unfamiliar filmmaking environment, even while having an established reputation. Although it is unclear what “absorption” would be like in Farmanara’s case, constructing rhizomatic group affiliations with other times, places, and

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potential realities presents the only mode for the filmmaker who has ultimately been shaped by his diverse experiences. It should be noted, however, that this is a privilege of one with the means to travel and become educated abroad. As Appadurai acknowledges: When cosmopolitanism is debated in scholarly circles . . . urban poverty and global deprivation rarely enter the picture, except to remind us that cosmopolitanism is an elite privilege . . . most definitions of cosmopolitanism, either directly or indirectly, assume that it is a certain cultivated knowledge of the world beyond one’s immediate horizons, and is the product of deliberate activities associated with literacy, the freedom to travel, and the luxury of expanding the boundaries of one’s self by expanding its experiences.30

Appadurai’s critique of cosmopolitanism raises the question as to whether Farmanara’s experience and films have an effect on those with a more localized experience within Iran, or on popular political formations such as the Green Movement. Whereas the Green Movement is a popular expression of the desire for reform in Iran, which would allow identities outside of the Republic’s vision of the nation to emerge, Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine presents a similar widening of this spectrum of national subjects. Despite Farmanara’s relative position as Appadurai’s “elite,” I would argue that his film represents a larger movement that includes both the tweets of the Green Movement and Farmanara’s award-winning film, albeit on different strata.31 Furthermore, the shared elements of Farmanara’s film and the Green Movement both counter Huntington’s premise of increasing cultural reclusion. His use of an increasing Islamification of Iran as a key example in his argument belies the currents in Iranian society that suggest a desire for a more molecular, multifaceted existence outside the bounds of the Republic’s law and demonstrates an ignorance of the stubborn cosmopolitanism of Iran’s subjects such as Farmanara.

Notes 1 Hamid Naficy, A Social History of Iranian Cinema Volume 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984–2010 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 434. 2 Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad, The Politics of Iranian Cinema: Film and Society in the Islamic Republic (New York: Routledge, 2010), 6. 3 Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2006).

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4 Ibid., 216. 5 Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993), 22. 6 Ibid., 24 and 29. 7 Ibid., 49. 8 Hamid Reza Sadr, Iranian Cinema: A Political History (New York: I.B. Taurus, 2006), 21. 9 Ibid., 22. 10 Notable guidelines were released prior to the Revolution in 1938 (Sadr 21), 1950 (65–7), and 1965 (108–10). 11 Reza J. Poudeh and M. Reza Shirvani, “Issues and Paradoxes in the Development of Iranian National Cinema: An Overview.” Iranian Studies 41, 3 (2008): 326. 12 Ibid., 325–6. 13 Hamid Naficy, A Social History of Iranian Cinema Volume 3: The Islamicate Period, 1978–84 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 172. 14 Hamid Dabashi, Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, and Future (New York: Verso, 2001), 112. 15 Zeydabadi-Nejad, The Politics of Iranian Cinema: Film and Society in the Islamic Republic, 6. 16 Hamid Naficy, “Veiled Vision/Powerful Presences: Women in Post-revolutionary Iranian Cinema.” In In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran, edited by Mahnaz Afkhami and Erika Friedl (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1994), 143. 17 Dabashi, Close Up, 125. 18 Ibid., 126. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid., 129. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid., 135. 24 While this could be said to be true of anyone who lived through the Revolution in Iran, I make this point to illustrate the conscious attention to this detail in Farmanara’s film. Other directors, for example, were either not making films before the Revolution, or consciously avoiding references to prerevolution intellectualism, such as Abbas Kiarostami with his famously apolitical stance. 25 Richard Tapper, The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation and Identity (New York: I.B. Taurus, 2002), 6. See also Hamid Naficy, A Social History of Iranian Cinema Volume 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984–2010 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 106.

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26 Naficy, Veiled Vision/Powerful Presences: Women in Post-revolutionary Iranian Cinema, 144. 27 Jared Rapfogel, “A Mirror Facing a Mirror.” Senses of Cinema 17 (2001). 28 It should be noted, however, that other directors have drastically different histories with the Revolutionary regime. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, for example, started out making pro-Revolutionary films, marking a stark contrast between his experience and Farmanara’s. 29 Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001): 6–7. 30 Arjun Appadurai, “Cosmopolitanism from Below: Some Ethical Lessons from the Slums of Mumbai.” The Johannesburg Salon 4 (2011). 31 Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine also won the Special Grand Prix of the Jury award at the 2000 Montréal World Film Festival in addition to the awards at the Fajr Film Festival.

Works cited Appadurai, Arjun. “Cosmopolitanism from Below: Some Ethical Lessons from the Slums of Mumbai.” The Johannesburg Salon 4 (2011). —. Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006. Dabashi, Hamid. Close Up. New York: Verso, 2001. Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations?. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, 1993. —. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. —. “Islamizing Film Culture in Iran: a Post-Khatami Update.” In The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation and Identity, edited by Richard Tapper. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2002, 26–65. —. A Social History of Iranian Cinema Volume 3: The Islamicate Period, 1978-1984. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. —. “Veiled Vision/Power Presences: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema.” In In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran, edited by Mahnaz Afkhami and Erika Friedl. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1994, 131–50. Poudeh, Reza J. and M. Reza Shirvani. “Issues and Paradoxes in the Development of Iranian National Cinema: An Overview.” Iranian Studies 41, 3 (2008): 323–41.

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Rapfogel, Jared. “A Mirror Facing a Mirror.” Senses of Cinema 17 (2001). www. sensesofcinema.com Sadr, Hamid Reza. Iranian Cinema: A Political History. New York: I.B. Taurus, 2006. Tapper, Richard. The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation and Identity. New York: I.B. Taurus, 2002. Zeydabadi-Nejad, Saeed. The Politics of Iranian Cinema: Film and Society in the Islamic Republic. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Part Four

Revisioning the Past

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10

Returning to Rubble: Fritz Kortner’s The Last Illusion Martina Moeller

As a subcategory of German postwar cinema, rubble films (Trümmerfilme) address the legacy of National Socialism along with Germany’s dire circumstances in the aftermath of World War II: the experiences of homelessness, hunger, loss, and survival in destroyed cities as well as, albeit more rarely, the horrors of concentration camps. Made primarily between 1946 and 1951, German rubble films foreground the ruined cityscapes that rendered defeat as an inescapable aspect of everyday life for the German population. Serving as a collective symbol for the losses Germany had experienced, these images of destruction provoked feelings of shame, sorrow, guilt, anger, and opposition to the prior regime of National Socialism and the victorious occupation forces of the United States, England, France, and the Soviet Union.1 Not surprisingly, rubble films were not appreciated by either German popular audiences or critics; the term “rubble film” initially evolved as a pejorative nickname.2 This negative reception has colored much conventional scholarship on postwar German cinema, which tends to characterize rubble films as lacking in both artistic qualities and social critique.3 In their reluctance to acknowledge Germany’s own failings, rubble films are considered to have served to reaffirm the postwar spectator’s self-image as a “good German” during “bad times,” as Robert Shandley puts it.4 This perspective is justified by those rubble films—such as In jenen Tagen/In Those Days (dir. Helmut Käutner 1947) and Zwischen gestern und morgen/Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (dir. Harald Braun 1947)—that refer to Germany’s recent history in a reconciliatory manner without any serious discussion of German national identity and society in the aftermath of war and Nazism. However, there is also a group of rubble films that presents the social and cultural context

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of postwar Germany quite differently. These films accentuate problematic and usually oppressed or taboo aspects of the country’s history in order to provoke a controversial discussion of the meaning of German national identity and society in the postwar era.5 The late rubble film, The Last Illusion (dir. Josef von Baky 1949), is in many ways representative of this latter strand of rubble film productions. First of all, it is the first “German” rubble film to openly address the problems of the continuation of National Socialist ideology and anti-Semitism in postwar (West) German society.6 In addition, the film discusses the identity troubles of German exiles in the United States along with the controversy the issue of their return sparked in Germany after the war. The Last Illusion’s sinister portrayal of German postwar society was thoroughly shaped by the German-Jewish film and theater actor Fritz Kortner. In addition to writing the script, Kortner played the main character of the returning emigrant, Professor Mauthner. Mauthner’s trajectory mirrors Kortner’s own life story. During the 1920s and early 1930s, Kortner was a celebrated actor in Weimar cinema and a leading proponent of German Expressionist theater. Yet because of his Jewish origins, in 1933, he emigrated with his wife, the German actress Johanna Hofer, to Great Britain and eventually the United States. During this period, Kortner worked successively in the British and American film industries, where he developed a reputation as a character actor. After returning to Germany in 1948, Kortner began working on The Last Illusion. In the film, the president of the University of Göttingen begs the GermanJewish Professor Mauthner, who is living in exile in California, to return to Germany. Mauthner returns because he wishes to get in touch with his ex-wife and son. Having accepted the proposed position as a professor in Philosophy, he intends to direct his energies toward dealing with the increase in neo-fascist tendencies among the German youth still under the influence of National Socialist ideology. Yet his adversary, the former university colleague Fechner, uses National Socialism’s anti-Semitic rhetoric against Mauthner, whose position at the University he covets. Bitterly disappointed, but partly reconciled with his ex-wife and son, Mauthner dies at the film’s conclusion. Stylistically and thematically, The Last Illusion bears the mark of Kortner’s extensive experience in Weimar cinema. He starred in many silent and sound films of the Weimar era, including F. W. Murnau’s Satan/Satanas (1920), Warning Shadows/Schatten (dir. Arthur Robinson 1923), Catherine the Great/Katharina die Große (dir. Reinhold Schünzel 1920), Backstairs/Hintertreppe (dir. Leopold

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Jessner/Paul Leni 1921), and G. W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box/Die Büchse der Pandora (1929). Scholars such as Lotte Eisner and Thomas Elsaesser have argued persuasively for the influence of narrative devices and motifs associated with German Romanticism on Weimar cinema. Thus, given Kortner’s close association with these films, it is not surprising that a series of Romantic elements emerge in The Last Illusion. In this respect, I argue that a subtle Romantic discourse, most importantly presented by several literary motifs such as the double, wanderers, and the Flying Dutchman, marks the film’s overall structure and meaning. Together, these motifs function to metaphorically explore the subject of identity in the postwar period and shape the film’s critique of postwar West German society.

“Inner” and “Outer” emigration The Romantic motif of the double is especially prominent in the relationship between the film’s protagonist, Mauthner, and his antagonist Fechner, who are portrayed as each other’s alter egos. Through the opposition between their characters, the film links the persistence of National Socialist ideology and antiSemitism in the postwar West German population to the concept of a competing victimization between those who stayed in Germany under National Socialism and returning emigrants. As embodied by Mauthner and Fechner, the film dramatizes the heated debates between representatives of “inner” and “outer” emigration in the early postwar period.7 Originally, the term “inner emigration” signified an attitude of resistance.8 In 1945, the question of whether or not one could have emigrated inwardly came to a climax in the debates between Thomas Mann and advocates of inner emigration, principally the writer Frank Thiess. Representing the view of many authors who had remained in National Socialist Germany, Thiess accused the émigrés who left the country of acting out of selfinterest, while he and others had been faithful to Germany.9 Mann, on the other hand, countered that all German literature written under National Socialism was tainted by its ideology.10 The Last Illusion references these debates surrounding “inner” and “outer” emigration from the point of view of a returning emigrant (thus Kortner himself). In this respect, Fechner appears as an ironic parody of Thiess when he retroactively champions the notion of “inner emigration.” His self-pitying attitude, combined with the disappointment of not being rewarded for his

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supposed sufferings during National Socialism, make him a hypocritical opportunist (Mitläufer) who takes advantage of his students and manipulates them for his own goals. The character of Mauthner’s ex-wife Lina provides another example of the film’s exploration of the theme of competing victimhood between those who left and those, like Lina, who remained in Germany under Nazism. Mauthner accuses Lina of having followed “racist instincts” by marrying a National Socialist party member and by falsely claiming that their son is of Aryan descent. In return, Lina indirectly attacks Mauthner for having stayed away in beautiful California during the difficult years. Meanwhile, their son Walter knows nothing about his true origins and participates in Fechner’s group of young people who seek to destroy the “Jewish invader” Mauthner. These students also appear as victims in a double sense: exploited by false leaders in the past, as well as in the postwar period, they suffer identity troubles due to the absence of reliable role models in German postwar society. Finally, the film is marked by the topic of inner and outer emigration with regard to its production. Its director, the Hungarian Josef von Baky, had enjoyed an active career during National Socialism.11 Baky’s first postwar rubble film, And Above Us The Sky/Und über uns der Himmel 1947, is a comedy that differs markedly from The Last Illusion. In its kitschy and sentimental treatment of Germany’s postwar problems, it is consistent with Baky’s wartime oeuvre and suggests that The Last Illusion’s willingness to provoke debate is more representative of Kortner’s views on the controversy.

A moral call As previously mentioned, The Last Illusion is strongly influenced by Kortner’s autobiographical experiences as a returning emigrant to West Germany: just as the fictitious Mauthner is appointed to a job in Germany, Kortner was “called” by the Artistic Director of the German Theater in East Berlin to play King Philipp in Schiller’s Don Carlos.12 However, as an American citizen, Kortner could not play in the Eastern zone (Soviet sector). According to Klaus Völker’s biography of Kortner, the American administration canceled Kortner’s plans but later offered Kortner the option of a film (The Last Illusion): December 21, 1947, Kortner arrived . . . in Berlin. As an American citizen, he had to abide by the OMGUS conditions. The Deutsche Theater was situated in

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the Eastern zone of the city. Thus it was out of the question that Kortner could perform there on stage. Yet he also could not realize his plans to perform at the Hebbel Theater as an actor and director of American plays in 1948: any kind of “trading with the enemy” was prohibited. It remains unclear why the Americans caused those problems for Kortner. Why they worked against Kortner, even after the intervention in his favor by Erich Pommer and the American cultural officer Benno Frank. Kortner would have had to give up his American citizenship and he would have had to “defect” to the Eastern sector in order to perform there. The Americans finally proposed the film as a substitute.13

According to Kortner, The Last Illusion was produced with American financial resources and intended to serve in the reeducation of the German population.14 As he recalled: “Pommer, the almighty film man of the 1920s, now an American civil servant who worked as the director of the film department, made possible the production of a film with American funding. The film should oppose the already reviving neo-fascism at the time and the partly lasting anti-Semitism. I provided the idea and wrote the script; the film production company “von Baky und König” hired me for the leading role and Hanna [Kortner’s wife], who had arrived in the meantime, as my film partner.”15 Kortner’s apparently mixed experiences with the administration of the American occupation forces in Germany appear in an ironic light in the film as Mauthner is confronted by with endless queues, red tape, and forms to fill out in his odyssey from one office to the next. In line with Kortner’s personal convictions, the film also questions the idea of “collective guilt”; recalling the Holocaust atrocities, the emigrant groups in California around Mauthner engaged in intense discussions of whether or not it was possible to return to Germany as a Jewish emigrant. According to Kortner’s memoirs, similar debates took place in immigrant circles in the United States: “There were persisting tensions. . . . Tensions evolved even between Brecht and me. He complained about the German incapacity to revolt and declared them to be of a ‘submissive servant’s nature’ [knechtselig]. We clashed about this. I was full of an excessive enthusiasm for the other, the so-called good Germany. Years after my return I learnt to tame my enthusiasm.”16 Kortner’s hopeful attitude toward Germany, as well as the decline of this optimism, marks the character of Mauthner. In his first lecture at the university, Mauthner argues that “virtue can be taught.” Here the fictitious Mauthner expresses Kortner’s view that an understanding of the nature of National Socialism can fight the tendencies of anti-Semitism and fascism in postwar West

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Germany. Mauthner recognizes Germany’s new beginning as a unique chance for the postwar youth to be formed through the “freedom of the spirit” explored through the arts and sciences.17 This statement resonates with the film’s status as a “philosophical call or essay” as suggested by the direct translation of the German title Der Ruf/The Call and Mauthner’s profession as a philosopher. Furthermore, the German title surely has a double meaning: it refers both to Mauthner’s “call” (appointment) from the German university for a professorship in philosophy and to a moral call to the German people to recognize that a better future can only be created by taking on the responsibility of past and present problems, and not by repressing them.

Troubled identities Kortner’s choice of the name Mauthner for his fictional alter-ego is also significant, serving as a reference to the theater critic, writer, private academic, and language philosopher Fritz Mauthner (1849–1923), and thus strengthening the film’s overall philosophical appeal. Moreover, the lives of Kortner and Fritz Mauthner have many similarities: both were German-speaking Jews (Mauthner from Horitz near Prague, where he spent his childhood and youth, and Kortner from Vienna) and began their careers in the theater (Mauthner as a critic and playwright and Kortner as an actor). Finally, both were active in the theater scene in Berlin, where Kortner worked as an actor in avant-garde films of the 1920s and Mauthner as a critic. Another important parallel between Mauthner and Kortner is the identity issues they experienced as a result of being torn between two (or even three) linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In Mauthner’s case, his hybridity provoked an identity crisis, which he first experienced as a language crisis in his childhood.18 This experience went on to cause longlasting identity problems and self-doubt.19 Even his scientific research as a linguist was an attempt to reconcile the different parts of his identity; his academic work was driven by the wish to create an identity that could be recognized by himself and his society. A similar plurality of identity marked Kortner’s life. His experiences as an immigrant in Britain and America, along with the sense of being considered an unwanted outsider in his home country (as both a German Jew under National Socialism and later, as a returning exile) undoubtedly marked his identity. These problematic aspects

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of a Jewish-German identity had a strong influence on the film script and the cinematic representation of the fictitious Professor Mauthner. In Jüdischer Selbsthaß, Anitsemitismus und die verborgene Sprache der Juden/Jewish Self-Hatred, Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews, Sander J. Gilman defines the situation of German Jews as a “double blind situation” that is marked by “two unachievable aims”: the hope of participating in the state as a German citizen with full rights and that of not being excluded from participation on account of Jewish origins (thus, being accepted and appreciated as a Jew in German society).20 In the case of Fritz Mauthner, a conflict between how he saw himself versus how the professional world saw him exacerbated his identity troubles; although Mauthner considered himself a top-rank linguist, his scholarship was devalued by the professional world on account of his Jewish origins.21 In The Last Illusion, the fictitious Professor Mauthner suffers the same trauma when most of German students turn away from him after Fechner’s antiSemitic propaganda.

Diaspora, assimilation, and exile Like those of his real-world namesake, the fictional Professor Mauthner’s identity problems are rooted in his experiences of exile and diaspora as a German-Jewish émigré. This identity conflict leaves an indelible mark on the film’s visual style in the guise of a double point of view. A prime example can be found at the beginning of the film, which opens with a traveling high angle long shot through a ruined German city by night. Melancholic non-diegetic music illustrates a somber low-lit scene as the credits fade out. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, a series of rapidly edited shots reveal Los Angeles sparkling in bright morning sunlight. Lively music complements the visual effect of these sequences; furthermore, this visual juxtaposition creates a startling contrast to the dreary impressions of the prior scene. By underlining this opposition, the film’s structure emphasizes two antithetical conditions: the semantic fields of night, decline, and melancholy (in the ruined city in Germany) and that of daylight, dynamism, and democratic order (in California). These two topographic references and their musical motifs are apparent throughout the film. Moreover, they correspond to Mauthner’s first lecture on Plato, in which he refers to the National Socialist past as “night” and

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to the postwar period as “day” in order to outline the unique chance inherent in the moment of reconstruction. The film’s overall visual design utilizes narrow and dark interior spaces as well as cold, gloomy exterior spaces that represent the postwar topography of the German city during the second part of the film. Low-key lighting illuminates the student bedroom of Mauthner’s son Walter as well as the bar and restaurant where Mauthner meets his ex-wife Lina. The outdoor scenes, such as Walter’s walk along the pavement in order to visit the ill Professor Mauthner and the later funeral procession, are shot with a cold realism that evokes the bleakness of the early postwar years. In contrast to these bleak scenes, the film’s opening shots of California utilize light-flooded images to highlight the achievements of American democracy. This glorified representation of the American way of life is intended to serve as a model for the German spectator of what life in a well-functioning democracy looks like. The visual shift from a destroyed Germany by night to a peaceful and sunlit morning in California is metaphorically demonstrated through the use of language: throughout the film, nearly all of the characters shift from English to German and vice versa. These shifts symbolize the clash of conflicting cultural backgrounds, which marks the problematic construction of identity for the returning emigrant. The following sequences in Mauthner’s kitchen effectively introduce the subject of identity troubles faced by German immigrants in the United States. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of their arrival in the United States years, Mauthner’s faithful maid Emma prepares a party. Emma explains to the part-time kitchen help, Homer, that she is “happy” in California, but that she could never be “lucky” in the United States in the same way as she was “lucky” (glücklich) in her home country. Afterward, two of Mauthner’s emigrant friends—Fränkl and Helfert—join them in the kitchen. Each of these characters represents a recognizable type of German immigrant, and each experiences diaspora in a different way. Fränkl embodies the German-Jewish intellectual who is deeply and seriously entangled with German cultural matters, as indicated by his discussion of German national identity through the subject of Goethe’s Faust. Meanwhile, the reason for Helfert’s emigration is not specified; however, his strong German accent identifies him as a Southern German. Against the background of sunny California, the regional accent of Helfert, along with Fränkl’s engagement in discussions on German culture, immediately illustrates the painful experience of being deprived of one’s original culture, community, and country.

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Although Los Angeles and Mauthner’s beautiful and spacious home appear as a paradise in comparison to the narrow, dark spaces in destroyed postwar Germany, The Last Illusion shows the German immigrants’ new American homeland in a critical light. The film’s disparaging exploration of American attitudes toward ethnicity, immigration, and assimilation is especially visible in the representation of the character of Homer; as a black servant, his character provides an internal critique of the German immigrants’ host country. Homer seems to not have found his real home in North America. His skin color, job as a domestic servant, and his Afro-American songs identify him as the Other. Like Homer, many German exiles found themselves being put into the role of the Other. For example, most German exile actors in Hollywood only performed in film roles as German characters (mostly representing Nazis).

An odyssey toward death Like the hero Odysseus in Homer’s text, the German-Jews in America also appear as eternal wanderers, whose displacement makes a return home impossible. Jamey Fisher has shown that in other rubble films, traumatized male war veterans—such as Mertens in The Murderers Are Among Us (Wolfgang Staudte 1946)—correspond to the motif of the flâneur or vagabond, who restlessly wanders without ever finding inner peace or a place to stay. Building upon Fisher’s conclusions, I argue that the motif of the wanderer in The Last Illusion functions as a variation on the flâneur; as mentioned previously, the film reflects the influence of German Romantic literature, in particular, the motif of the Flying Dutchman. Finally, we will see that this motif also introduces another important German-Jewish emigrant figure of the Romantic period: the writer Heinrich Heine. The philosopher Manfred Frank identifies the doomed wanderer in the legend of the Flying Dutchman as a Romantic motif.22 As a consequence for having broken taboos, the Flying Dutchman is doomed to forever sail the oceans in an endless odyssey. Similarly, the male protagonists of rubble films are frequently presented as cursed by past transgressions (e.g., wartime killings).23 As a result of the traumatic experiences of war and Nazism, the haunted war veteran is unable to attain peace or rebuild his life, but is forced to wander restlessly amidst the rubble and ruins. The Last Illusion is strongly informed by Mauthner’s attempt to return from the Unites States, the land of exile, to his home country, Germany. In the eyes

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of many of his immigrant friends, he breaks taboos by returning to the land of the perpetrators of the Holocaust. Yet several incidents during his voyage home suggest that a real return remains impossible: for example, when Mauthner stands alone on the deck of the ship and has a vision that anticipates his death or when he realizes that his son does not recognize him as his father. One shot in particular foreshadows the impossibility of a successful return. Mauthner stands alone in front of a train window and stares into the dark night, seeing only the reflection of his own features. This subjective shot gives a visual manifestation of his identity crisis. The return voyage is rendered into an odyssey; Mauthner’s longing to reconcile with his home country and to resolve his problems concerning his troubled identity remains an impossible dream. Mauthner’s voyage is also a journey toward his death. The final journey consists of four parts: first, his voyage by ship and train to France accompanied by his housekeeper Emma and by two of his students from California; second, his solitary train ride from Paris to Berlin in order to find his lost wife and son; third, the train ride from Berlin to Göttingen with his students; and finally, the mental voyage of his last distorted dream delirium in which he imagines going back to his friends and home in California, where he tries to justify his return to Germany. Weakened and exhausted by being forced into the role of the “unwanted other,” he finally dies during the delirium. The prevalence of the motifs of the wanderer and the odyssey in The Last Illusion accentuate the traumatic situation of the “Jewish” Mauthner (as a representative of the Jewish people) in that he lacks a fixed topographical home territory. With the exception of the journey from Berlin to Göttingen, the various sequences of the journey differ from the rest of the film in terms of visual style. Their dream-like quality clearly expresses the inner changes that Mauthner is going through on the level of visual style. On the ocean voyage from the United States to France, the gloomy seascape—suggestive of visual tropes in Romantic art and literature—illustrates Mauthner’s psychological condition. The representation of this landscape creates an atmosphere of uncanny strangeness and anticipates future havoc: the use of fog, low-key lighting, voice-over narration, and nondiegetic music by the German-Jewish Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn envelops Mauthner in a cold, nightmarish atmosphere, as he stands alone in a medium close-up on the ship’s railing. He appears changed, lost, and alienated within his surroundings. Then, an elderly man resembling an orthodox Jew approaches and asks him his destination. When Mauthner reveals that he is traveling to Germany, the man expresses his irritation and departs.

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The following long shot shows a gray and grim sunset on the horizon, which could be read as an allegorical anticipation of the fading light of Mauthner’s life. Then Mauthner’s voice-over recites the first three lines of Heine’s Germany a Winter’s Tale/Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen.24 Like Mauthner, Heine had been forced to emigrate because of his Jewish origins, which made an academic career in German universities impossible: “It was in the sad month of November / The days became duller / The wind ripped the leaves from the trees / As I travelled towards Germany.”25 Heine’s literary description of winter creates the impression of gloomy coldness that perfectly corresponds to the sequences of Mauthner’s voyage home. The winter landscape stands in for the hostile socio-political context awaiting him in Germany and the abundant dangers it presents. Moreover, the sequence’s grim and watery scenery makes a visual allusion to the mythological theme of the final voyage across the river Styx, the return to Germany thus suggestive of the voyage to the underworld, the kingdom of the dead. The next shot returns to Mauthner at the railing, still lost within the somber weather. From far away, we hear the voice of Mary, Mauthner’s American teaching assistant, calling his name. Mary approaches through the fog, holding with a winter cape for Mauthner. She helps him to dress and then leads him away, as if guiding him back to life. The ghostly atmosphere on the ship’s deck and Mary’s appearance recall another aspect of the legend of the Flying Dutchman, who could only be redeemed from the devil’s condemnation through the love of an honest and faithful woman according to Heine.26 Mauthner seems to grow so stiff and lost that he cannot free himself from this position at the railing; like the Dutchman, he has to be redeemed by a faithful and loving woman. In this sequence, Mary takes on the role of the savior, which is a typical female characterization in many rubble films and recurs later in the film in Mauthner’s last dream voyage, with his ex-wife Lina playing this part.27 The next significant sequence of Mauthner’s journey home occurs during the train voyage from Paris to Berlin. Visually, these shots present an interesting reference to Weimar cinema, most notably to Lang’s M (1931). Mauthner stands alone in front of the train window with his back to the viewer, barely illuminated by the extreme low-key lighting. Staring into the dark night, he sees only the blurred reflection of his own features. In a voice-over, we hear him recites the next verse of Heine’s Winter Tale: “When I arrived at the border / I felt a stronger throbbing in my chest, I even believed / Tears dripped from my eyes. And when I heard the German language. . . .” The verses highlights feelings of homesickness (Heimweh) as a part of the experience of exile and being an

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unwanted outsider in one’s own home country while the shot’s composition visually represents Mauthner’s identity crisis and the impossibility of a true homecoming as a German-Jewish exile. The final line of Mauthner’s voice-over seems to refer indirectly to the third verse of Heine’s Winter Tale, which is not cited in the film. This link associates the return to Germany with the anticipation of an impending death: “Suddenly I had a strange feeling / It appeared to me as if my heart / would very comfortably bleed to death.” As these verses show, Heine’s Winter Tale associates Germany with two opposing themes: a deep longing to return home along with the anticipation that death will be awaiting. In this context, Mauthner’s decision to return to Germany appears as the result of false understanding of West German society in the postwar period. Later in the film, his mistaken perception will leave him a victim of high expectations for the moral condition of the German population— expectations that will be disappointed in such a way that he eventually dies. Yet just like the speaker in Heine’s verse poem, Mauthner cannot suppress his desire to return. The Last Illusion’s exploration of German national identity extends beyond Mauthner’s personal journey of homecoming into the political and cultural spheres. In America, Mauthner’s fellow émigrés, Fränkl and Helfert, debate German national identity and National Socialist rule. By using the literary example of Goethe’s protagonist Faust, Fränkl aims to expose the dangers inherent in the model of the educated citizen (Bildungsbürger) in the literary period of German idealism and Weimar classicism. To the extent that he embodies these concepts of German idealism (e.g., in his belief that “virtue can be taught”), Mauthner seems to refuse the idea of “collective guilt.” His idealism and reconciliatory impulses blind him from recognizing the corrupt and cold-blooded plans of his adversary Fechner. Oblivious to Fechner’s dubious intentions, Mauthner becomes a victim of his own wishful thinking. His strong desire for a reunion with his country and its people softens his rational attitude as a scientist, leading him to excuse the German people as victims of National Socialist rule. This attitude becomes evident when Mauthner asks Emma about her former boyfriend (who stayed in Germany during Nazism) and his activities during the National Socialist regime. Emma is embarrassed and admits that he was not only a member of the National Socialist party, but also did some “extra work” for them as well. While Emma seems to be ashamed of her ex-lover’s actions,

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Mauthner assumes that the ex-boyfriend had no other choice. His comment does not convince either Emma or the audience, but it reveals Mauthner’s blinding optimism. In contrast to Mauthner’s idealizing point of view, his adversary Fechner excuses his own manipulative and abusive attitude toward the students as the only way out of the condition that was brought on by the prior regime and its dissolution. Fechner is not a National Socialist by conviction. When he first encounters Mauthner, he warmly welcomes his former colleague with an embrace. In this sequence, National Socialism and anti-Semitism are of no importance. Fechner only turns toward National Socialist ideology shortly after he learns that Mauthner has been awarded the university post he desired. From this moment on, Fechner is guided only by his determination to make Mauthner lose his job. In comparison to Mauthner and other Germans who emigrated to the United States, Fechner and Mauthner’s ex-wife Lina appear to be more or less comfortably settled in their postwar “identity construction” built upon processes of repression. Yet Mauthner’s return revives the past, which many, such as Lina and Fechner, wish to keep a taboo topic. In this way, Mauthner acts as the dismissed alter ego, and thus the double, of Lina and Fechner. During their first encounter in an office building occupied by the American occupation forces, Fechner’s behavior and remarks concerning Mauthner’s exile in “beautiful California” clearly indicate his refusal to accept Mauthner as a victim of the prior regime. Fechner sees himself as an “innocent bystander” caught up in historical circumstances that have denied him of his rightful social position. His character functions as a foil, challenging and denying Professor Mauthner’s philosophical approach toward postwar German society. Thus, the identity problems of the main characters in The Last Illusion are metaphorically represented by the double motif; furthermore, these struggles with identity construction are the primary reason behind the final downfall of these characters. Because of these identity problems, it is impossible for the characters to come to terms with the past and the present postwar situation. With Mauthner’s death at the film’s end, none of the main characters have really won. Walter learns the truth about his German-Jewish origin, but his father is dead. Lina loses her husband for a second time. Mauthner’s students lose their mentor, and the university loses a professor. Fechner is the only one who might possibly profit from Mauthner’s death, yet the film does not indicate such

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an outcome. On the whole, all the central characters are left with a feeling of guilt for having been involved in Mauthner’s death in one way or another. In this respect, The Last Illusion is a philosophical appeal to resistance against the old mentalities and psychological residue of the National Socialist period in postwar West German society (such as represented by Mauthner’s adversary Fechner). We may assume that The Last Illusion is a portrayal of the difficulties of an emigrant who returns to his home country after the war. The film’s narrative and visual construction employs Romantic motifs and themes such as the double and wanderers, the Flying Dutchman, and references to the exiled Romantic writer Heine. These motifs and themes create a Romantic discourse that calls into question postwar (male) identities; it aims at criticizing postwar West German society by provoking a controversial discussion about German national identity. This questioning especially highlights postwar identities, such as Fechner’s, which were built upon the common excuse of the so-called inner emigration. A contemporary film review supports this argumentation: “The Call [The Last Illusion] shows human ruins, the rigorous destruction of human and social relations, uprooting and homelessness of émigrés, displaced persons, detainees, persecuted persons; it shows an ‘old mentality’ [represented by the character of Fechner] that lingers on in (schools and) universities and the strained ‘pretext’ of ‘inner emigration.’”28 We may conclude that Kortner’s film, as a philosophical exhortation, fulfills its educational intentions: from the perspective of the returning immigrant, the film calls for a serious reflection on the old mentality (referring to the National Socialist ideology) and queries the often abused excuse of inner emigration in postwar German society. In addition, it confronts the German audience with the difficult or even impossible return for Jewish exiles and, in this respect, may be compared with the accounts of other returning émigrés, such as Theodor W. Adorno or Hannah Arendt, who expressed similar judgments and observations.29

Notes 1 According to Link (1988), collective symbols represent a nation in a given historical moment. 2 See Schweinitz (2002), 629.

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3 See Arnold-De-Simine/Schrey in Böhm/Mielke (2007); Bergfelder (2007); Brandlmeier (1989); Fuchs in Fischer (2007); Schweinitz (2002); and Shandley (2001). 4 Shandley (2001), 62. 5 For example: The Murderers Are Among Us/Die Mörder sind unter uns (dir. Wolfgang Staudte, East Germany, 1946); The Blum Affair/Affaire Blum (dir. Erich Engel, East Germany, 1948); Second Hand Destiny/Schicksal aus zweiter Hand (dir. Wolfgang Staudte, West Germany, 1949); The Last Illusion/Der Ruf (dir. Josef von Báky, West Germany, 1949); and The Lost One/Der Verlorene (dir. Peter Lorre, West Germany, 1951). 6 The Italian Neorealist film Germany Year Zero by Roberto Rossellini (1947) addressed these problems earlier. Werner Bergmann has shown that antiSemitism in Germany after 1945 existed to a much greater extent than earlier studies presumed and that the attitude toward Jews in East and West Germany did not differ much from each other. Bergmann in Schoeps (2002), 191–208. 7 Compare Döblin (1937), 70; and Berendsohn (1958), 336. 8 Compare, for example, Berglund (1980), 68–112 and 213–44. 9 Compare Thiess (1945). 10 Mann quoted in Grosser (1963), 31. 11 For example, he directed the 25th UFA anniversary film The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen in 1943. 12 www.hist.uni-hannover.de/kulturarchiv/deutschland_nach_1945/zeitgenossischespielfilme/die-filme-3/der-ruf/filmanalyse-und--kritik.html (April 4, 2007). 13 Völker (1987), 170, my translation. 14 See Jamey Fisher, “The Question of German Guilt and The ‘German Student’: Politicizing the Postwar University in Kortner’s Der Ruf und von Wagenheim’s Und wieder 48!.” In Take Two: Fifties Cinema in Divided Germany, edited by John E. Davidson and Sabine Hake (Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books 2007), 14–16. 15 Fritz Kortner, Aller Tage Abend (München, 2004), 553. 16 Ibid., 501. 17 “Freiheit des Geistes.” See www.hist.uni-hannover.de/kulturarchiv/deutschland_ nach_1945/zeitgenossische-spielfilme/die-filme-3/der-ruf/filmanalyse-und–kritik. html (November 19, 2007). 18 See Mauthner (1918), 32–6 and 49–53. 19 In his biography Memories (Erinnerung, 1918), Mauthner describes how deeply the plurality of three languages and cultures impinged on him as a child: the Czech language of his geographic homeland, Hebrew as the language of his

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Cinematic Homecomings relatives and the Bible, as well as German, the language of the higher classes and the intellectual world. Gilman (1993), 13. Mauthner (1918), 142. See Manfred Frank, The Endless Journey. A Motif and its Text (Die unendliche Fahrt. Ein Motiv und sein Text, 1979). See, for example, The Murderers Are Among Us (1946, Wolfgang Staudte). This text reflects Heine’s perspective on Germany as an emigrant in France. Heine left Germany for Paris due to the discrimination he experienced as a Jew. Heine’s text critically mirrors German society through carefully veiled metaphors of landscape and meteorological descriptions, which prevented the work from being banned by the German censors. “Im traurigen Monat November war’s, Die Tage wurden trüber, Der Wind riß von den Bäumen das Laub, Da reist’ ich nach Deutschland hinüber.” Quoted from: http://projekt.gutenberg.de/?id=5&xid=1148&kapitel=2&cHash=d40dbdc7b4wint mr01#gb_found (March 18, 2007). Heine referred to the legend of the Flying Dutchman in Memories by Mr. Schnabelewopski/Memoiren des Herren von Schnabelewopski (1834), outlining that the Dutchman can only be redeemed from the devil’s condemnation through the love of an honest and faithful woman. Other rubble films that feature similar female characterizations include The Murderers Are Among Us (Wolfgang Staudte 1946) and Film Without a Name (Film ohne Titel, Rudolf Jugert 1947). www.hist.uni-hannover.de/kulturarchiv/deutschland_nach_1945/ zeitgenossische-spielfilme/die-filme-3/der-ruf/filmanalyse-und--kritik.html (March 3, 2007). See Adorno (1980), 20–33; and Arendt (1986), 43–70.

Works cited Adorno, Theodor W. “Auferstehung der Kultur in Deutschland?” In Kleine Schriften zur Gesellschaft, edited by Rolf Teidemann. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1980, 20–33. Arendt, Hannah. “Besuch in Deutschland 1950. Die Nachwirkungen des Naziregimes.” In Arendt, Zur Zeit. Politische Essays, 43–70. Berlin, 1986. Arnold-de Simine, Silke. “Die Konstanz der Ruine. Zur Rezeption traditioneller ästhetischer Funktionen der Ruine in städtischer Baugeschichte und im Trümmerfilm nach 1945.” In Die zerstörte Stadt. Mediale Repräsentationen urbaner

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Räume von Troja bis Simcity, edited by Andreas Böhm and Christine Milke. Bielefeld: Transcripte Verlag, 2007, 251–83. Berendsohn, Walter A. “Emigrantenliteratur.” In Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturgeschicht Vol. 1, 2th edn, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1958, 336. Bergfelder, Tim. “German Cinema and Film Noir.” In European Film Noir, edited by Andrew Spicer. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007, 138–63. Berglund, Gisela. “Einige Anmerkungen zum Begriff der ‘Inneren Emigration’.” In Der Kampf um den Leser im Dritten Reich, edited by Gisela Berglund. Worms: Georg Heintz, 1980, 213–44. Bergmann, Werner. “‘Der Antisemitismus in Deutschland braucht gar nicht übertrieben zu werden . . .’. Die Jahre 1945 bis 1953.” In Leben im Land der Täter. Jüdisches Leben im Nachkriegsdeutschland (1945-1952), edited by Julius H. Schoeps. Berlin: Jüdische Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2002, 191–208. Brandlmeier, Thomas. “Von Hitler zu Adenauer. Deutsche Trümmerfilme.” In Zwischen Gestern und Morgen – Westdeutscher Nachkriegsfilm 1946-1962 (Schriften des Deutschen Filmmuseums), edited by Hilmar Hoffmann and Walter Schobert. Frankfurt am Main: Deutschen Filmmuseums, 1989, 33–59. Döblin, Alfred. “Der Historische Roman und wir.” In Das Wort 4, (1937): 97–123. Fischer, Robert. Displaced Person – Peter Lorre und sein Film DER VERLORENE. Film feature on the Arthouse Premium edition of Peter Lorre’s film Der Verlorene (1951) with comments by the film historian Christoph Fuchs and others, Kinowelt Home Entertainment GmbH 2007 (DVD). Fisher, Jamey. “The Question of German Guilt and The ‘German Student’: Politicizing the Postwar University in Kortner’s Der Ruf und von Wagenheim’s Und wieder 48!” In Take Two: Fifties Cinema in Divided Germany, edited by John E. Davidson and Sabine Hake. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books, 2007, 16–27. —. Youth, Re-education, and Reconstruction after the Second World War. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2007. Frank, Manfred. Die unendliche Fahrt. Die Geschichte des fliegenden Holländers und verwandter Motive. Leipzig: Reclam, 1995. Gilman, Sander L. Jüdischer Selbsthaß. Antisemitismus und die verborgene Sprache der Juden. Frankfurt am Main: Jüdischer Verlag, 1993. Kortner, Fritz. Aller Tage Abend. Berlin: Alexander-Verlag, 2004. Link, Jürgen. “Über Kollektivsymbolik im politischen Diskurs und ihren Anteil an totalitären Tendenzen.” kultuRRevolution, 17/18 (1988): 47–53. Mann, Thomas. “Warum ich nicht zurückkehre!” In Augsburger Anzeiger. October 12, 1945. In La République fédérale d’Allemagne, edited by Alfred Grosser. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1963, 31. Mauthner, Fritz. Erinnerungen. München: Georg Miller, 1918. Moeller, Martina. Rubble, Ruins and Romanticism. Visual Style, Narration and Identity in German Postwar Cinema. Transcript Verlag: Bielefeld, 2013.

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Schweinitz, Jörg. “Trümmerfilme.” In Reclams Sachlexikon des Films, edited by Thomas Koebner. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2002, 629–30. Shandley, Robert. Rubble Films—German Cinema in the Shadow of the Third Reich. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001. Thiess, Frank. “Die innere Emigration.” In Münchner Zeitung (August 13, 1945). Völker, Klaus. Fritz Kortner. Berlin: Hentrich, 1987.

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Healing Journeys: Return as Therapy in Walk on Water Ido Ramati

In recent years, the growth in Israeli immigration to Germany has attracted increasing scholarly attention. Notable publications include wide-ranging surveys of the Israeli experience in Germany over the last two decades, and historical analyses of the Israeli-German relationship.1 Little consideration, however, has been given to the place of Israeli cinema in documenting, exploring, and shaping this return to Germany. This chapter examines the way in which the social phenomenon of reverse migration is reflected in contemporary Israeli fiction films and how this symbolic return highlights psychological trends in Israeli society. I argue that Israeli cinema uses the act of return as a therapeutic construct that facilitates the healing of some aspects of cultural trauma common to Israeli society (i.e. the Holocaust or the forced migration from Germany). The return to Germany that is dealt with here is a filmic narrative, but one that addresses a wider cultural phenomenon and in doing so, explores issues of national identity and collective and private memory. One of the most successful recent Israeli films, both domestically and abroad, Eytan Fox’s Walk on Water (2004) captures important facets of contemporary Israeli culture and is representative of a growing body of films that depict the return to Germany.2 The analysis put forth here emphasizes the way the film’s narrative and structure balance the tension between home and exile that is embodied in the traumatic experience of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. By temporarily reversing, the migration to Israel and by rethinking some of the founding precepts of mainstream Zionism, the film offers Israeli society a path toward cultural healing.

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As we shall see below, in early Zionist thinking, the reshaping of Jewish masculinity formed an integral part of the broader endeavor to return to Zion. Walk on Water reverses both of these courses of action: the film takes its protagonist, Eyal, out of Israel to Germany; at the same time, it problematizes Eyal’s masculinity by questioning his rigid preconceptions of this aspect of his identity. These reversals expose problems inherent in the Zionist project, especially as it took form after the Holocaust; they also attempt to heal past traumas that still haunt contemporary Israeli society.

Walk on Water: Secrets, discoveries, and healing through trauma Walk on Water tells the story of Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi), an agent in the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, who comes back home from a mission only to find out that his wife has committed suicide. Menahem (Gideon Shemer), his commander, a Holocaust survivor who also knew Eyal’s parents (also survivors), gives him a new mission: to follow (under the cover of a tourists’ guide) Axel Himmelmann (Knut Berger), the German grandson of a former Nazi officer, who comes to Israel to visit his sister Pia (Caroline Peters). Together they tour Israel and gradually get to know each other. Eyal discovers Axel’s sexual orientation when the latter has an affair with a Palestinian named Rafiq (Yousef Sweid), while Axel uncovers some of Eyal’s mental inhibitions. On the last night of her brother’s visit, Pia tells Axel that she has discovered that their grandfather is still alive and that their parents have always kept in contact with him. When Menahem learns of this information, he sends Eyal to Germany to look for the grandfather. In Berlin, Eyal contacts Axel who invites him to his parents’ villa outside the city, where his father’s birthday party will be held. As a surprise for the occasion, the old Nazi grandfather has been brought from Argentina to reunite with his family. Axel is furious with his mother and confronts her, not paying attention to Eyal who slips away to meet Menahem in a hotel. Menahem reveals that this entire operation is not an official, but rather a self-directed vendetta, and demands that Eyal kill the old Nazi. In the meantime, Axel is searching for the missing Eyal. When he is going through Eyal’s bag, he learns of Eyal’s cover. Eyal is ultimately unable to kill Himmelmann Senior, but Axel shuts down the air supply to his grandfather’s respirator. Fox then cuts to the film’s final

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scene: a couple of years later, Eyal (now married to Pia) is writing a letter to Axel in which he describes how he dreamt they were walking together on the water of the Sea of Galilee, just as Axel had wished to do on his visit to Israel. The scene alludes to an earlier one in which Axel failed to walk on water and fell into the sea. That the film concludes with Eyal’s dream of their successful attempt of this feat emphasizes its symbolic significance. This plot summary reveals the film’s principal themes. The main characters represent the contrasting sides of several established cultural oppositions and conflicts: an Israeli offspring of Holocaust survivors is opposed to a German descendant of a Nazi perpetrator, but they are also the opposites from a different perspective; whereas the former is a heterosexual macho, the latter is a sensitive homosexual. Embedded in this complex of contrasts are issues of both personal and collective identity and memory. Thus, the film ties sexual and national identity, along with private and collective psychology into one multilayered storyline. I propose analyzing these issues through three theoretical prisms: (a) The evolution the main protagonist undergoes can be treated within the psychoanalytic framework offered by trauma studies, which sheds light not only on his own struggle with his family history but also on the collective patterns of behavior of Israeli society in its encounter with contemporary Germany. (b) The film’s engagement with national identity can be illuminated through the concept of “negative symbiosis” used in historical research as a model for understanding the complicated relationship between Jews and Germans. (c) Finally, the specific configuration of the characters and the plot can be interpreted as an intertextual reversal of Altneuland (literally “old-new land”), a key novel by Theodor Herzl, the founding father of Zionism. The political agenda set by this novel also has profound implications in terms of sexuality, as it attempts to redeem not only the Jewish soul and mind but also the Jewish body and masculinity. As we shall see, all these aspects of the film stem from a basic tension between exile and return, and the search for a place of reference that can be defined as “home.”

Trauma and recovery: Return to exile and returning home Trauma studies, as a subfield of cultural studies, has been influenced by the way Sigmund Freud adapted the medical notion of trauma (literally, “an injury”) and theorized it as a wound of the psyche. Cathy Caruth describes this wound as

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a breach in time and space: the consciousness that undergoes a violent event refrains from experiencing the time and place in which the event occurs in order to defend itself from the horror.3 This repression of experience still leaves its mark on the human psyche and, after an incubation period, begins to haunt the victim in a repetitive manner. It is as if the mind tries to understand, actively, over and over again, that segment of time that was not understood in the first place. Caruth describes this process as the struggle of memory to remember its own history, but since it was not fully comprehended, it cannot be described in words. Thus the posttraumatic mechanism acts on the human being as an attempt to familiarize what cannot be familiarized. The basic traumatic condition may be described as a tension between the effort to refill the gap in time and space and the inability to do so.4 A collective body of people can be traumatized as well. Dominick LaCapra has described the way in which the traumatic mechanism occupies not only the consciousness of the individual but also operates within societies.5 His distinctions between the acting-out of trauma and its working-through parallels Freud’s differentiation between melancholy and mourning. According to LaCapra, melancholy is a form of acting-out, while mourning is a form of working-through.6 Mourning is a ritual that enables a society to put an end to the compulsive repetition that characterizes the acting-out of the trauma. Through this ritual, the members of that society critically observe the past and are able to separate it from the present. LaCapra stresses that these categories are not binary dichotomies. As a rule, traumatized societies exhibit both processes, but usually one process is dominant over the other. For example, a society that constantly views itself as a collective of victims (even though only some of its members have actually experienced the traumas of the past) actually maintains the effect of trauma, thus immersing itself in a state of acting-out. On the other hand, a society that can tell its present from its past (i.e. when its members understand that they are not the actual victims but their descendants), while also noticing the connection between the two, is able to face its current reality as distinct from past traumas. This helps the members of that society recognize the differences between themselves on the one hand and the survivors of the traumatic event on the other hand, and feel a real empathy toward them. This condition is a society’s first step toward working-through the trauma instead of acting it out. The research on the effects of the Holocaust on Israeli society is very rich. Many studies have described the ways in which Israeli culture has dealt with

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manifestations of the trauma.7 Some of these studies have taken Israeli cinema as their main subject. For example, Zimmerman and Gertz have shown how Israeli cinema has reflected cultural trends and tendencies regarding the country’s collective memory.8 Others, such as Friedman and Loshitzky, have explored the ways in which Israeli cinema gives voice to the experiences of Holocaust survivors and their children.9 The subject matter and themes of Walk on Water clearly place it among other films that address with the trauma of the Holocaust (such as Berlin–Jerusalem by Amos Gitai, Metallic Blues by Dani Vereta, and by many others). Even though the trauma is only dealt with indirectly, it motivates the principal storyline and consequently, must be addressed in any interpretation of the film. Raz Yosef focuses on Walk on Water’s symmetrical structure, in which the part of the film that takes place in Germany mirrors previous events and scenes in Israel.10 For example, in the first part of the film, Eyal and Axel visit the Dead Sea, where they discuss matters like Holocaust memory, sexuality, and human relationships while sitting next to a warm bonfire as night falls. Later in the film, they engage in a similar discussion while seated in a trendy bar in Berlin. The second scene completes the process started in the first scene, with Eyal now more open to notions and opinions other than his own. In Yosef ’s reading of the film, the journey through Israel and Berlin that has changed Eyal is understood as a phantasmal reflection of his wishes to overcome his trauma as a son of Holocaust survivors.11 This analysis adopts a Freudian paradigm, according to which the narrative structure of dreams is characterized by repetition (often with modifications) of events and symbols. The oneiric effect of the film’s structure explains its therapeutic potency for Eyal and for the audience: while Eyal deals with his trauma within the film narrative, the audience likewise goes under the influence of the psychoanalytic “dream work.”12 In other words, the dreamlike quality of the film serves as the base upon which the therapeutic process takes place. Boaz Hagin offers a somewhat different interpretation of the film.13 He accepts Yosef ’s observations but argues that the reoccurrence of events in the film and its dream-like structure do not explain the behavioral change that Eyal undergoes. Hagin therefore focuses on Eyal’s cry at the end of the film, and maintains that it positions Eyal as a victim, a state to which he aims throughout the film. According to this reading, the crying encodes the self-victimization of a killer who tries to avoid his own guilt by taking the role of a victim. This pattern of behavior actually entails the crossing over of the distinction between victim and

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perpetrator, which, when enacted on the social level, was identified by LaCapra as one of the expressions of the process of acting-out.14 Drawing upon aspects of both Yosef ’s and Hagin’s arguments, I would like to shift the interpretive focus to the return to Germany that the film presents. Such a return has a dual potential. On the one hand, it can reawaken the trauma upon the reencounter with the site where the trauma originally occurred. On the other hand, this return has also the ability to facilitate a working through process, whether destructive or healing, since it based on the same mechanism (the repetition) as the original trauma.15 In her study of return documentaries, Janet Walker investigates the space of trauma.16 She shows that upon return, survivors discover a different site than the one they remember from their traumatic experience.17 The actual return exposes its own nostalgic and clinging essence while reflecting the inability to return to the same genuine place.18 Therefore, even when the actual return (and not just a symbolic, filmic one) is able to compensate for the breach in time and space that the traumatic event created, it is still not enough to start a working through process. According to Walker, a new relationship between the returnee and the site must be built in order to facilitate healing.19 My analysis of Walk on Water suggests that the return presented in the film attempts to build this kind of a relationship. In the specific historic context of European Jewry, the traumatic experience and hence the return operates on more than one level. Before Germany became the place of trauma, it was also home to a thriving Jewish community. While German-Jewish survivors felt they were betrayed by their homeland, many still felt more at home in German culture than in their new surroundings in Palestine/ Israel.20 In their specific case, the difference between exile and home has been problematized to an extreme degree. Hence, the return to Germany entails a complex tension between the once-familiar and the now-changed; between the place of trauma and the place associated with good memories; between return and exile. In Walk on Water, Eyal’s return to Germany has a dual potential: it can serve as a catalyst for a working through process while at the same time activate the acting out of trauma. The film eventually constructs Eyal’s return as a working through process, while it also takes into account the tension between home and exile, a tension that is echoed in the duplicative structure of the film mentioned above. This structure yields Eyal’s transformation that consists of two major aspects: his openness to the pain of others and the attenuating of

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his unrelenting  masculinity. These two changes are better illuminated when discussed in the context of relations between Germans and Israelis and the historical construction of the Israeli masculinity.

Israelis, Germans, and negative symbiosis In one of his studies of the relationship between Israelis and Germans, Dan Diner has shown that, for Israelis, the name “Germany” has become a kind of a codeword that brings to mind, first and foremost, the horrors of the Holocaust, and is thus charged with negative connotations. As such, it initiates a set of thoughts and emotionally complicated concepts unrelated to the actual Germany.21 Diner uses the term “negative symbiosis” to describe the nature of the post-Holocaust Jewish-German relationship.22 The term deliberately invokes the notion of (positive) symbiosis that was frequently used to describe these relations before World War II and which, according to Diner, distorts and over-glorifies a short period in German-Jewish history. Hence, he underscores the negative context of this interrelation: following the war, the two nations became bound together by the same traumatic event that defined their present identities and altered their understanding of their histories. The concept of negative symbiosis provides a useful perspective on issues of national identity and collective memory, since it assumes that the Jewish and the German are two sides of the same coin. Perpetrators and victims alike are connected in a historic bond—the traumatic event. Hence, if the negative symbiosis is a key to understanding the trauma, it can also facilitate its resolution. This unique type of symbiotic connection is essential for our understanding of the encounter between Walk on Water’s Israeli protagonist and its German characters. The duality embedded in the negative symbiosis is reflected in the dual structure of Walk on Water. The film’s mirroring structure puts the German and the Israeli characters, Axel and Eyal, on two sides of a dichotomy that is deconstructed slowly during the film; the importance of this dichotomy is thus  its destruction and the assimilation of one category into its opposite. In this explanation, the change in Eyal’s behavior is dependent on the encounter with the German opponent, an encounter that facilitates the process of working through the trauma. Thus, the film complicates the connection between the German and the Israeli and explains Eyal’s behavioral change as a product of the

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German-Israeli encounter. Viewing the film from the conceptual perspective of negative symbiosis clarifies why Eyal has to go back to Germany: he has to return to the place where his parents’ trauma occurred in order to face his German counterpart. This encounter builds a new relationship with the former site of trauma and thus transforms his limited outlook.

Beyond Zion’s “New Jew”: Rewriting Altneuland Since Eyal’s character—that of a typical Israeli macho—is recognizably a product of the way masculinity was constructed in Zionism, it is instructive to comprehend the ideology it reflects. The Zionist movement had one major goal: it tried to solve the exilic state of the Jews in Europe with what it saw as the only acceptable solution—the exodus (or return) to Zion (Palestine/Israel).23 A part of this agenda was the notion of “negation of exile” that, according to Amnon RazKrakoztkin, excluded any other options than the Jewish “home” in Palestine.24 Along with the goal of a Jewish homeland, the Zionist movement also focused on changing the (self) perception of Jews through a particular emphasis on reshaping the Jewish male body. Sander Gilman’s study of the Jewish body, which was influenced by Foucault’s perception of sexuality and gender, demonstrates how, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, science and medicine presented the Jewish body as a unique specimen of a unique creature, with its own physiology and illnesses.25 At the same time, human sexuality was undergoing a similar classification process, with homosexuality constructed as a category of its own.26 Both homosexuality and the Jewish body were defined against the background of “normative” nonJewish heterosexuality. Gilman shows how the obsessive taxonomy of that era’s science attributed feminine qualities to Jews and homosexuals, thus facilitating the conflation of the two.27 Daniel Boyarin illustrates how the same anti-semitic views were reproduced in the emerging psychoanalytic discourse—for example, the ascribing of female hysteria to Jewish men.28 According to Boyarin, these ideas influenced the early Zionist endeavor of rebuilding the masculinity of Jewish men.29 For example, in his essay on “muscular Judaism,” the Zionist leader Max Nordau called for the strengthening of the “weak” Jewish body; Jews will cultivate the soil of Zion and through this hard bodily work, shed off all of their feminine traits given to them by their deteriorating exilic state. The feminization of the Jew was

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intrinsically connected with exile: ever since the Jews were expelled from their homeland, and from direct contact with the life-giving agricultural work, they were reduced to an impaired existence, which was equated with the lowly status of women. Zionism attempted to address this situation by taking the Jews out of exile, bringing them back to their ancestral land, and reintroducing them to the rejuvenating physical labor that farmwork entails. This is how the “new Jew” was created, a new Jew that the Zionist narrative also forced to be a heterosexual.30 Thus, according to Zionist thinking, the return to the ancestral homeland and the reshaping of male heterosexuality were part of the same project. Walk on Water looks at a later manifestation of Jewish male sexuality and deconstructs it in an opposite manner to Altneuland, the epic novel that was one of Zionism founding texts. In his essay on Altneuland, Michael Gluzman examines the way in which the novel correlates the “new Jew” and his forced heterosexuality with the “negation of exile” inherent to the Zionist project.31 At the beginning of the novel, two men meet up and decide to retire to a deserted island: Friedrich, a young, melancholic, and frustrated Jew, and Kingscort, a respected Prussian older aristocrat. Their stay on the island is not portrayed in great detail but, as Gluzman shows, the young Jewish body goes under a transformation that brings him spiritual strength and fortifies his masculinity.32 In addition, the dialogue between the two men suggests a homoerotic relationship; only at the end of the training process is Friedrich slowly heterosexualized. Walk on Water revises the approaches of early Zionism regarding the Jewish male body and sexuality through reversing the direction of the Zionist journey. When Walk on Water brings its protagonist to his parents’ homeland (Germany), this “negation of exile” calls for a change in the performance of male sexuality as well. In so doing, the film proposes bringing back to mainstream Zionism the queer sexuality that was once excluded from it. A key term for understanding this shift is Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s concept of the “homosocial.”33 Sedgwick employs the term to suggest the repressed and denied homosexual bonds between men and to place heterosexuals and homosexuals along a continuum as opposed to in opposition. In queer theory, the triple link between biological sex, gender, and sexuality is described as a falsely exclusive bond that queer sexuality rejects. This deconstruction exposes the performative nature of gender roles and the fluidity and openness of sexual categories. In Walk on Water, Eyal undergoes a resocialization (or resexualizing) process that shifts his position on this scale. At the beginning of the film, he is presented

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as the cliché of the macho Israeli, the quintessential “new Jew” of the early Zionist dream. He performs as a perfect killing machine, lacking any of the spirituality or “feminine” intellectualism that were attributed to his exilic Jewish forefathers. His heterosexuality is never questioned; his repressed emotions become visible only when he discovers that his wife is dead. Later in the film, it is implied that his inability to mourn her evidently results from repression of his emotions that demands an ever-growing investment of mental energy. Such a psychological process cannot endure forever; the repressed emotions are bound to crack the hard shield he has constructed in order to contain them, eventually initiating a breaking process of Eyal’s stone-cold nature. This process exposes the performative nature of his masculinity and its over-excessive quality. Eyal’s transformative exposure to Axel’s queer sexuality is presented in many scenes in the film, one of which is of a comic nature. When Eyal and Axel drive back from the Dead Sea, Eyal translates the song playing on the radio, a translation that creates an ironic effect due to a grammatical difference between the original Hebrew and the translated English version. While it is clear that the speaker is a woman who confesses her affection to a man in the Hebrew version, when Eyal translates the lyrics into English, it appears as if he is declaring his love for Axel. When Eyal realizes the “mistake” he made, he stops translating and says: “and it goes on like that.” Later in the film, when Axel takes the unsuspecting Eyal to a gay club, the frame slowly closes in on him, revealing his stress and bewilderment; Eyal is not so sure of his macho heterosexuality anymore. Finally, Eyal’s transformation culminates in the aftermath of the killing of Axel’s grandfather. Eyal, the macho “killing machine” who was unable to complete his mission, is shown crying in Axel’s arms (see Figure 11.1). He has learned to sympathize with others’ pain and is now open to the voices of others’ traumas. The homosocial “bildung” process that started in Israel has come to its conclusion in Germany; the journey brought together the German and the Israeli, the feminine and the masculine, and finally the heterosexual and the homosexual, opening Eyal to these new identities. Eyal and Axel’s experience is the mirror opposite of the journey described in Altneuland. Like the socialization of the Jewish Friedrich by the German Kingscort, Eyal’s homosocialization begins with his abandonment by a woman, continues to the union with a German man, and ends with the return to heterosexuality. But the film presents a double reversal: Eyal is not “feminine” and delicate like Friedrich but “masculine” and rigid, and the direction of the journey is from Israel to Germany and not from Germany to Palestine. In addition, unlike

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Figure 11.1  Eyal, the Mossad agent, cries in Axel’s lap. Walk on Water, 2004.

Friedrich who at the end of the novel sheds off of all of his “feminine” traits, Eyal incorporates his newly acquired feminine characteristics into his masculine identity in order to become a more whole and balanced man. Abandoning (at least apparently) the life of a secret agent, he becomes a farmer cultivating the soil of Israel, his heterosexuality reconfirmed by marriage and fatherhood. In this way, the Zionist dream of the “new Jew” is reshaped and updated to be more inclusive. This outcome could have happened only as a result of Eyal’s return to Germany and encounter with Axel.

Conclusion The return to Germany in Walk on Water initiates the working through of the traumatic experience and enables the protagonist’s understanding that his trauma is not exclusive. Two aspects of the film’s composition embody these insights: the duplicative structure that collapses categories usually in opposition (i.e. German/Israeli, Heterosexual/Homosexual), and the reversal of the Zionist vector by the return journey narrative. With these two structures, the film establishes its principal themes. One is the codependency of the Israeli and the German regarding the working through process, which is consequential to the duality suggested by the negative symbiosis. After the occurrence of trauma, the descendants of the perpetrators and the offspring of the victims must work through its aftermath together. The second is the conflation of the protagonist’s physical return to Germany with the symbolic return of emotional and behavioral elements (removed by classic Zionism) to the Israeli man. This more

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inclusive vision of Jewish masculinity underlines the film’s contribution to Zionist discourse: the ability to listen to others’ experiences of trauma. The film does not even consider the option that Eyal will not return to Israel. It rather demonstrates how the return of pre-Zionist ideas is actually a return to the real Zionist dream. Thus, Eyal’s voyage to Germany and the deconstruction of his masculinity are only interim phases in his journey back to Israel and to a more authentic sense of identity. His sexuality is affirmed not only by his marriage to Pia and experience of fatherhood but also his embracing a new way of life as a farmer. The film therefore constructs a new type of Israeli Zionist masculinity that is less aggressive and more open, a masculinity that is based on the working through of past traumas. Like other Israeli films that explore the notion of returning to Germany, Walk on Water looks for a way to bring its protagonist to a place that represents both Home and Exile—a space where he himself has never been, but where his parents were born and raised—in which he will reencounter the traumatic mechanism. By reversing the narrative of the key Zionist novel Altneuland, the film positions itself in a dialectic relationship with Zionist thought. However, even though Walk on Water may borrow its logic from the ideological construct of “the critique of negation of Exile,” it does not refuse the basic Zionist stance regarding living in Zion (Israel) but tries to encourage Israeli society to face its traumas and repressed Others (national and sexual). In this way, Walk on Water tries to balance the tension between home and exile embodied in the Zionist migration to Palestine/Israel by returning Israelis to the place where the Zionist ethos was conceived but that was also a site of trauma. According to the film’s formula, the return to the former homeland initiates a healing process by allowing past traumas to be addresses along with repressive associations between sexuality and the Zionist project. The return to exile depicted in Walk on Water is thus a vehicle for change within the filmic narrative; by extension, the film serves as an example of the way in which the Israeli cinema calls for this change in Israeli society.

Notes 1 In the first instance, see Fania Oz-Zalzberger, Israelis, Berlin (Jerusalem: Keter, 2001) (in Hebrew); for examples of the second, see Dan Diner, “Negative Symbiosis: Germans and Jews after Auschwitz.” In Reworking the Past: Hitler,

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3 4

5 6 7

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the Holocaust, and the historians’ debate, edited by Peter Baldwin (Boston: Beacon Press, 1990), 251–61; Naama Sheffi, “Anatomy of Rejection: Israeli Society and Its Relations with German Culture.” In Germany and the Land of Israel: A Cultural Encounter, edited by Moshe Zimmermann (Jerusalem: Magnes Press of the Hebrew University, 2004), 217–34 (in Hebrew); David Witzthum, “Germany in Israel: Images, Culture and Media.” In Germany and the Land of Israel: A Cultural Encounter, edited by Moshe Zimmermann (Jerusalem: Magnes Press of the Hebrew University, 2004), 188–216 (in Hebrew). Among these films one can count Streets of Yesterday (dir. Judd Ne’eman 1989); Berlin Jerusalem (dir. Amos Gitai 1989); Metallic Blues (Dani Vereta 2004); Strangers (dir. Erez Tadmor and Guy Nativ 2007); The Debt (dir. Assaf Bernstein 2007) and more. Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 1–9. Media scholars have further developed this understanding of the traumatic mechanism, emphasizing its inability to represent and be represented. See, for example, Thomas Elsaesser, “Postmodernism as Mourning Work.” Screen, 42, 2 (2001): 193–201; E. Ann Kaplan and Ben Wang, “Introduction: From Traumatic Paralysis to the Force Field of Modernity.” In Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations, edited by E. Ann Kaplan and Ben Wang (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2004), 1–22. The necessity to represent the trauma even though its unrepresentability is inherent to its mechanism is emphasized by various theoreticians and therapists. One of their concerns is that leaving the trauma to its silence could transfer its effects to the subsequent generations and thus creating a second generation to the trauma. To learn more about this concern see Dan Bar-On, Tell Your Story: Creating Dialogue between Jews and Germans, Palestinians and Israelis (Beer-Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press, 2006), 47 (in Hebrew). Dominick LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 43–85. Ibid., 65–6. For instance, Zertal deals with myths and the Israeli remembrance culture, and Ofer described the patterns of Holocaust remembrance in Israeli History. See Idit Zertal, Death and the Nation: History, Memory, Politics (Or Yehuda: Dvir, 2002); Dalia Ofer, “History, memory, and Identity: Perceptions of the Holocaust.” In Jews in Israel: Contemporary Social and Cultural Patterns, edited by Uzi Rebhun and Chaim I. Waxman (Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 2004), 394–418.

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8 Moshe Zimmerman, Leave My Holocaust Alone: The Impact of the Holocaust on Israeli Cinema and Society (Haifa and Lod: Zmora-Bitan and University of Haifa Press, 2002) (in Hebrew); Nurit Gertz, Holocaust Survivors, Aliens and Others in Israeli Cinema and Literature. (Tel-Aviv: Am Oved, 2004) (in Hebrew). 9 Regina M. Friedman, “Witnessing for the Witness: Choice and Destiny by Tzipi Reibenbach.” Shofar 24, 1 (2005): 81–93; Yosefa Loshitzky, “Hybrid Victims: Second Generation Israelis Screen the Holocaust.” In Visual Culture and the Holocaust, edited by Barbie Zelizer (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001), 152–75. 10 Raz Yosef, “Phantasmatic Losses: National Traumas, Masculinity, and Primal Scenes in Israeli Cinema—Walk on Water.” Framework 49, 1 (2008): 93–105. 11 Second generation trauma is a well-known phenomenon that is portrayed in research in many different ways. What is common to all of these studies is the acknowledgment that offspring of major trauma events survivors also suffer from post-trauma symptoms even though they did not experience the event itself. Some researches accept that the second-generation trauma may serve as a means of identification; a way for the offspring to formulate a link to the surviving parents’ generation (see for example the notion of “postmemory” by Marianne Hirsch, Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 17–40. 12 Raz Yosef, “Phantasmatic Losses: National Traumas, Masculinity, and Primal Scenes in Walk on Water.” In To Know a Man: Sexuality, Masculinity and Ethnicity in Israeli Cinema (Tel-Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 2010), 214–27 (in Hebrew). 13 Boaz Hagin, “Male Weeping as Performative: The Crying Mossad Assassin in Walk on Water.” Camera Obscura 23, 2 (2008): 102–39. 14 LaCapra, Trauma, Absence, Loss, 66. 15 The homecoming/return from exile has been studied especially in more practical manners like the issues of repatriation and the demographic problems such homecomings bring about. Research has focused mostly on the complexity that actual return of refugees and immigrants creates. See Tim Allen and Hubert Morsink, “Introduction: When refugees go home.” In When Refugees Go Home, edited by Tim Allen and Hubert Morsink (Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1994), 1–13. A summary of the repatriation’s common problems can be found in John Rogge essay, and in Nelly Elias’ study there is a comparison between the returnees’ reintegration into society in Germany and Israel. See John R. Rogge, “Repatriation and Refugees.” In When Refugees Go Home, edited by Tim Allen and Hubert Morsink (Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1994),

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17 18 19 20

21

22 23

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14–49; Nelly Elias, Coming Home: Media and Returning Diaspora in Israel and Germany (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008). Sidra Ezrahi has conceptualized the theoretical notion of return in Hebrew literature as an antipode of exile, and her discussion is closer to the concept of return in this chapter, even if the direction of return is the opposite one. See Sidra D. Ezrahi, “Introduction: a Poetics of Exile and Return.” In Booking Passage—Exile and Homecoming in the Modern Jewish Immigration (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000), 3–23. Janet Walker, “Moving Testimonies and the Geography of Suffering: Perils and Fantasies of Belonging after Katrina.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 24, 1 (2010): 47–64. Ibid., 53. Ibid., 51. Ibid., 55. For the Jews who had to emigrate and leave their homes in Germany, the departure from Europe was not only a geographic severance but also a loss of a set of cultural signifiers—language, habits, and a way of life. This had put them in a dual position: On the one hand, they saw Israel as their new home; on the other hand, they kept dreaming of their German fatherland. For many they were considered to be estranged to the Israeli existence of that time. For some it was connected to their cultural background, their self-perceiving of their own principles (Diner 2006), and their political views that were not always adherent to the mainstream of the other Jewish residents of Palestine. After World War II had ended, some of them returned to Germany and Austria. See Guy Miron, “The National Israeli Narrative through German-Jewish Eyes.” In A State in the Making, edited by Anita Shapira (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2001), 161–88 (in Hebrew); Dan Diner, “ ‘Yekkes’: Evolution of a Nickname.” In Between Two Homelands: The “Yekkes”, edited by Moshe Zimerman and Yotam Hotam (Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History and the Koebner Center for German History, 2006), 91–89 (in Hebrew); Friederike WilderOkladek, The Return Movement of Jews to Austria after the Second World War (The Hague: Martinus Hijhoff, 1969). Dan Diner, “ ‘Germany’ as a Code Word in Israeli Self-Awareness.” In Israelis and Germans: The Ambivalence of Normality, edited by Dan Diner et al. (Tel Aviv: Israeli Institute for Economic and Social Research [internal publication of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung], 2000), 47–51 (in Hebrew). Diner, Negative Symbiosis. From the 7th Zionist congress held in 1905 and on, the notion of migration to Palestine became the mainstream in Zionist thought. Other voices in the Zionist

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25 26 27 28

29

30 31 32 33

Cinematic Homecomings movement that claimed for different solutions—from geographic alternatives (i.e. Uganda) to cultural interpretations—were eventually rejected by the mainstream. Raz-Krakoztkin’s essay on the critique of the “Negation of Exile” has shown that unlike mainstream Zionist approach, the Jewish tradition saw the Galut (exile) not only as geographic but also as a part of a behavioral and cognitive perception of assimilation in the general society ibid., 28–30). Exile as a practice signified the need to take part in the non-Jewish daily life and allowed the existence of different Jewish identities at the same time. His essay started a heated debate that is still relevant to contemporary Israeli culture. See Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, “Exile within Sovereignty: Toward a Critique of the ‘Negation of Exile’ in Israeli Culture.” Theory and Criticism 4 (1993): 23–56 (in Hebrew). Sander L. Gilman, The Jew’s Body (London: Routledge, 1991), 234–43. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, translated by Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1980), 6. Gilman, Conclusion, 162–3. Daniel Boyarin, Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997), 189–220. Daniel Boyarin, “Chapter 7: The Colonial Drag: Zionism, Gender, and Mimicry.” In Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997), 277. Yaron Peleg, “Heroic Conduct: Homoeroticism and the Creation of Modern Jewish Masculinity.” Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society 13, 1 (2006): 31–58. Michael Gluzman, “Longing for heterosexuality: Zionism and Sexuality in Herzl’s Altnueland.” Theory and Criticism 11 (1997): 145–62 (in Hebrew). Ibid., 152. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).

Works cited Allen, Tim and Hubert Morsink. “Introduction: When refugees go home.” In When Refugees Go Home, edited by Tim Allen and Hubert Morsink. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1994, 1–13. Bar-On, Dan. Tell Your Story: Creating Dialogue between Jews and Germans, Palestinians and Israelis. Beer-Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press, 2006 (in Hebrew). Boyarin, Daniel. Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997, 189–220, 271–312.

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Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, 1–9. Diner, Dan. “ ‘Germany’ as a Code Word in Israeli Self-Awareness.” In Israelis and Germans: The Ambivalence of Normality, edited by Dan Diner et al. Tel Aviv: Israeli Institute for Economic and Social Research, 2000, 47–51 (internal publication of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung; in Hebrew). —. “Negative Symbiosis: Germans and Jews after Auschwitz.” In Reworking the Past: Hitler, the Holocaust, and the historians’ debate, edited by Peter Baldwin. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990, 251–61. —. “ ‘Yekkes’: Evolution of a Nickname.” In Between Two Homelands: The “Yekkes”, edited by Moshe Zimerman and Yotam Hotam. Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History and the Koebner Center for German History, 2006, 91–89 (in Hebrew). Elias, Nelly. Coming Home: Media and Returning Diaspora in Israel and Germany. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008. Elsaesser, Thomas. “Postmodernism as Mourning Work.” Screen 42, 2 (2001): 193–201. Ezrahi, Sidra D. “Introduction: A Poetics of Exile and Return.” In Booking Passage – Exile and homecoming in the Modern Jewish immigration. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000, 3–23. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality, translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1980. Friedman, Regina M. “Witnessing for the Witness: Choice and Destiny by Tzipi Reibenbach.” Shofar 24, 1 (2005): 81–93. Gertz, Nurit. Holocaust Survivors, Aliens and Others in Israeli Cinema and Literature. Tel-Aviv: Am Oved, 2004 (in Hebrew). Gilman, Sander L. The Jew’s Body. London: Routledge, 1991, 234–43. Gluzman, Michael. “Longing for heterosexuality: Zionism and Sexuality in Herzl’s Altnueland.” Theory and Criticism 11 (1997): 145–62 (in Hebrew). Hagin, Boaz. “Male Weeping as Performative: The Crying Mossad Assassin in Walk on Water.” Camera Obscura 23, 2 (2008): 102–39. Hirsch, Marianne. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997, 17–40. Kaplan E. Ann, and Ben Wang. “Introduction: From Traumatic Paralysis to the Force Field of Modernity.” In Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations, edited by E. Ann Kaplan and Ben Wang. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2004, 1–22. Kosofsky Sedgwick, Eve. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. LaCapra, Dominick. Writing History, Writing Trauma. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, 43–85. Loshitzky, Yosefa. “Hybrid Victims: Second Generation Israelis Screen the Holocaust.” In Visual Culture and the Holocaust, edited by Barbie Zelizer. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001, 152–75.

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Miron, Guy. “The National Israeli Narrative through German-Jewish Eyes.” In A State in the Making, edited by Anita Shapira. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2001, 161–88 (in Hebrew). Ofer, Dalia. “History, memory, and Identity: Perceptions of the Holocaust.” In Jews in Israel: Contemporary Social and Cultural Patterns, edited by Uzi Rebhun and Chaim I. Waxman. Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 2004, 394–418. Oz-Zalzberger, Fania. Israelis, Berlin. Jerusalem: Keter, 2001 (in Hebrew). Peleg, Yaron. “Heroic Conduct: Homoeroticism and the Creation of Modern Jewish Masculinity.” Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society 13, 1 (2006): 31–58. Raz-Krakotzkin, Amnon. “Exile within Sovereignty: Toward a Critique of the ‘Negation of Exile’ in Israeli Culture.” Theory and Criticism 4 (1993): 23–56 (in Hebrew). Rogge, John R. “Repatriation and Refugees.” In When Refugees Go Home, edited by Tim Allen and Hubert Morsink. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1994, 14–49. Sheffi, Naama. “Anatomy of Rejection: Israeli Society and Its Relations with German Culture.” In Germany and the Land of Israel: A Cultural Encounter, edited by Moshe Zimmermann. Jerusalem: Magnes Press of the Hebrew University, 2004, 217–34 (in Hebrew). Walker, Janet. “Moving Testimonies and the Geography of Suffering: Perils and Fantasies of Belonging after Katrina.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 24, 1 (2010): 47–64. Wilder-Okladek, Friederike. The Return Movement of Jews to Austria After The Second World War. The Hague: Martinus Hijhoff, 1969. Witzthum, David. “Germany in Israel: Images, Culture and Media.” In Germany and the Land of Israel: A Cultural Encounter, edited by Moshe Zimmermann. Jerusalem: Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2004, 188–216 (in Hebrew). Yosef, Raz. “Phantasmatic Losses: National Traumas, Masculinity, and Primal Scenes in Israeli Cinema – Walk on Water.” Framework 49, 1 (2008): 93–105. —. “Phantasmatic Losses: National Traumas, Masculinity, and Primal Scenes in Walk on Water.” In To Know a Man: Sexuality, Masculinity and Ethnicity in Israeli Cinema. Tel-Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 2010, 214–27 (in Hebrew). Zertal, Idit. Death and the Nation: History, Memory, Politics. Or Yehuda: Dvir, 2002. Zimmerman, Moshe. Leave My Holocaust Alone: The Impact of the Holocaust on Israeli Cinema and Society. Haifa and Lod: Zmora-Bitan and University of Haifa Press, 2002 (in Hebrew).

Part Five

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Narratives of Return in the Films of Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety Malini Guha

Think of the long trip home Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? Elizabeth Bishop1 Narratives of return, by which I mean narratives that foreground the desire of migrant figures to journey back home, are often situated as a response to the condition of exile within numerous bodies of scholarly literature.2 With regard to cinema specifically, Hamid Naficy argues that the dream of a glorious homecoming is the mark of an exilic sensibility, where the need for return occupies a “disproportionate amount of space in their films,” differentiating the exile from the émigré or refugee.3 Nostalgia, melancholia, and mourning are the sentiments that loom large in these accounts of return journeys in their representational guise. This chapter considers the significance of the return journey in films other than those pertaining to the exilic experience. A number of films made by the Senegalese directors Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety feature several renditions of the return journey between them, all of which operate as a mode of social and political critique. Films such as Sembene’s Black Girl (1966) and Moolaadé (2004), as well as Mambety’s Touki-Bouki (1972) and Hyenas (1992) trouble strict categorizations of what migration as an end-goal entails by severing it from the possibility of settlement while simultaneously developing versions of the return journey that are resistant to its traditional associations with exile. These films display a preoccupation with the status of the journey abroad as already marked by return; in these instances, characters travel in order to obtain

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economic, cultural, and social transformation at home and not simply in the host nation. The moment of return in these films, either actualized or imagined, allows the journey itself to operate as a profound indictment of the unequal relations of political and economic power between African nations like Senegal and the former imperial nations including France. In doing so, these films suggest an alternative understanding of the nexus of movement, vision, and the acquisition of knowledge that pertains to an African experience of postcolonial modernity.4

The politics of return: An African context The return journey has always held a place of great significance within the imaginary of the Black Atlantic, conceptualized by Paul Gilroy in his seminal book The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, as a distinctly modern “cultural and political formation” that has its origins in the dawn of the slave trade.5 Gilroy employs the motif of the ship in order to evoke a view of the Middle Passage as characterized by various patterns of circulation, including the “redemptive return to an African homeland.”6 Gilroy’s notion of the Black Atlantic engages not only with the commodification of black bodies as part of the slave trade and beyond but also with the concrete struggles for emancipation that arose as a result.7 Part of these emancipatory struggles, as Gilroy tells us, involve the transcendence of national and ethnic boundaries as manifested in the multitude of pan-African movements leading up to collapse of European imperial formations. Gilroy’s assertions regarding the Black Atlantic draw together at least two inherent features of modernity at large, as a formation that is bound up with the oppressive expansion of global capitalism and one that sets the stage for transnational political and cultural movements that are transformative in their aims to abolish oppressive power structures.8 As such, journeys abroad and back again contain the kernels of a potentially transformative and redemptive experience within the long durée of African modernity, which brings us to the postcolonial moment. For Enwezor, modernity is literally “recut” in the postcolonial moment through the inclusion of a specifically African story that signifies as a break with the imperial past.9 This rupture gives rise to an alternative conception of modernity that places formerly colonized nations at the center of what promised to be a new world order.10

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What is of utmost significance is that the epistemological grounds of a specifically modern conception of mobility, rooted in grand narratives of progress and development, become unsettled when situated within historical frameworks of slavery and colonialism. Modern mobilities stemming from colonial histories foreground acts of rupture and loss marked by profound desires for return as well as by transnational alliances and movements that pose distinctly politicized models of transformation. Put differently, the experience of spatial as well as temporal discontinuity and dislocation is key to understanding modern mobilities from an African perspective. Beyond this, the “acquisition of knowledge,” a significant outcome of the specifically modernist version of the transformative journey outlined by Dimitris Eleftheoritis in Cinematic Journeys: Film and Movement, can assume the guise of radical political knowledge in this context, which seeks to burst asunder existing power relations and structures.11 As such, evolutionary models of development and progress are eschewed in favor of those characterized by disjuncture or circularity. The circulatory patterns associated with African modernity, which foreground both oppression and dissidence, journeys abroad and the return home, have an enduring resonance with regard to postcolonial trajectories of mobility. Sembene and Mambety can be incorporated within this historical framework of circulation as they both made journeys to Marseille that are situated by various scholars within the rubric of politicized transformation.12 David Murphy and Patrick Williams proclaim Mambety’s brief excursion to Marseille during the immediate postcolonial period as that which, “shattered his long-held illusion about the mythical world of the former colonial power.”13 Sembene presents a slightly different case, as he spent many years in Marseille during the colonial era, only to return to Senegal when independence was achieved in 1962. Samba Gadijo, however, similarly portrays Sembene’s foray into Marseille as a radically transformative experience: “Sembene went back to Africa seething with a new passion: to take active part, through his art, in Senegal’s cultural emancipation.”14 The manner in which Sembene and Mambety’s return journeys are narrated in these examples accentuates the transformative nature of their journeys abroad. The distinctly politicized tone with which their respective returns are articulated reverberates with the politicized impetus of African cinema in heady days and decades following the end of colonial rule. Philip Rosen argues that African cinema was “born from decolonization,” and consequently a cinema invested in the development of new and modern cultural forms for the postcolonial era.15

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Transformation and politicization are yoked together in these descriptions of Mambety and Sembene’s respective journeys, framed against the backdrop of the development of postcolonial African cinema in precisely the way that the two are intertwined within what we can delineate as the larger story of African modernity from the slave trade to the postcolonial present. Many scholars view African cinema itself as a redemptive project, its impetus to recover the African subject from its status as object of the colonial gaze.16 Contemporary scholars of African film, such as Kenneth W. Harrow, view the politicized mandate of African cinema and the legacy of Sembene in particular as having a detrimental effect on the development of African film cultures, forcing them to remain ensconced within a “phallocentric paradigm, a modernist paradigm and especially a progressivist paradigm that fails to acknowledge the Enlightenment rationalism and historical basis on which the model depends.”17 In effect, Harrow’s critique is of the social realist strand of African filmmaking, inaugurated by the films of Sembene. In Harrow’s work in particular, Mambety emerges as the leading figure of an alternative tradition of non-realist filmmaking that is beginning to see fruition among contemporary African filmmakers.18 One can argue that Harrow loses sight of how an African experience of modernity reworks and revises the tenets of dominant understandings of Western modernity through the narratives of loss, return, or politicized transformation that have a strong place in Sembene’s body of work, as will be discussed in subsequent sections. Harrow’s revisionist view of the development of African cinema pits Sembene against Mambety, as the former is indicted for his apparent sins and the latter is valorized by virtue of neglect. While remaining attuned to the significant differences between the two directors, this chapter recovers points of commonality between them that point toward the return journey as a vehicle of political critique leveled at the failure of the postcolonial state to achieve its stated aims. In sketching the modes of mobility that are constituent features of both a colonial and postcolonial understanding of an African modernity, what emerges is an emphasis on the oppressive and equally transformative possibilities of dislocation and return. It also becomes clear that it is impossible to conceptualize the significance of these transnational routes of circulation without taking into account systems of economic and political power that necessarily underscore the trajectories of these movements. While residues of this context remain essential to examining the role of the return journey in the films of Mambey

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and Sembene, the promise of transformation remains largely out of reach for characters in these films, even though this was not the case for their directors. The return journey, rather than functioning as a catalyst for political action in its positive guise, gives rise to loss, tragedy, and revenge.

“Burning an Illusion”: The return journey in Black Girl and Touki-Bouki19 Sembene’s Black Girl and Mambety’s Touki-Bouki both implicitly address the history of Senegalese migration to France during the immediate postcolonial period, where the event of return looms large. While Black Girl follows a social realist path in narrative terms, Touki-Bouki offers a mix of realism, fantasy, and satire that is in keeping with Mambety’s signature style and mode of storytelling. A striking commonality between both films concerns the way in which they forge a critique of postcolonial modernity envisioned through the act of commodity consumption intended to inspire upward mobility in Dakar, alongside achieving a similar goal in France. Black Girl centers upon Diouana, a Senegalese maid, who follows her French employers from Dakar to Antibes. The film tells the story of a failed encounter between a French bourgeois family and a migrant worker, one that restages colonial power dynamics as Diouana’s subjectivity and independence are stripped away from her by her employers, leading to her suicide in their apartment. Her dream for a new life in France, which pivots around the desire for commodity consumption and tourism, is destroyed as a result of her confinement within her employer’s apartment as well as her recognition of their exploitation of her labor. Touki-Bouki is often described as a modernist film due to Mambety’s use of nonlinear modes of storytelling; the editing patterns of the film emphasize a sense of disjuncture and discontinuity in addition to constructing a narrative that is essentially circular, beginning and ending with the image of a cow herder with his flock.20 Murphy and Williams also refer to the film as a road movie, where protagonists Mory and Anta are made akin to Bonnie and Clyde, robbing bourgeois black figures and raiding trunks filled with money intended to fund a memorial to General de Gaulle in order to pay for their trip to Paris.21 Their theme song, Josephine Baker’s rendition of “Paris, Paris, Paris,” plays over a variety of sequences in the film, externalizing Mory and Anta’s mythologizing of Paris, while implicitly evoking the history of French colonialism in the region.

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In Black Girl, voice-over narration is used to grant spectatorial access to Diouana’s subjectivity, where she reveals her desire to tour Antibes and also make her relatives in Dakar jealous by sending them photographs of herself in the city. The journey to Antibes for Diouana is about class elevation, which extends from gaining access to the city in the guise of a tourist to encouraging envy among relatives at home as a result of being in France. The shattering of this illusion through the course of the film, or what we can characterize as the movement from a position of “false consciousness” to one of greater understanding, falls in line with the principles of the progressivist narrative that Harrow assigns to the bulk of Sembene’s work.22 However, Black Girl is not as easily assimilated into this narrative arc as might appear. The film stages the “return to Dakar” through two registers. The first mode of return is constituted through two flashback sequences that narrate the story of events leading up to Diouana’s arrival in France. Return in this instance is imaginative rather than literal. The second mode of return is achieved through the use of a Senegalese mask that operates in a symbolic fashion, allowing us to read Diouana’s story as one of increasing objectification and commodification. Diouana’s recognition of her exploitation and subsequent confinement only emerges through a comparison between her life in Dakar and that in Antibes, achieved through the use of flashbacks that place emphasis on Diouana’s mobility throughout Dakar across interior and exterior spaces. The flashback sequences stand in sharp contrast to the representation of Antibes in the film, which is mostly comprised of images of the apartment interior.23 Sembene uses the classic strategy of repetition/variation to illustrate the mode of political resistance that Diouana adopts during the second phase of the film, where she refuses to complete any of the household tasks that she dutifully takes on earlier. The subjective moments of return, manifested in the form of flashback narration, is used by Sembene to develop a critique of the neocolonial power dynamic between Diouana and her employers that rests upon the question of her mobility. Diouana’s recognition of her plight spurs the second mode of return in the film, one that is denied to Diouana herself. The film establishes an analogous relationship between Diouana and the mask hanging on the wall of the apartment by cutting from her face to a point-of-view shot of the mask, a gesture that is repeated during the first flashback sequence when she gives the mask to her employers.

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Figure 12.1  Diouana gazes at the mask. Black Girl, 1966.

In her reading of the film, Rachel Langford views the mask as the central leitmotif of the film, emblematic of a wider negation of subjectivity enforced by neocolonial power structures.24 The mask tells the story of Diouana’s commodification through an allegorical mode of articulation; as Langfield argues, the circulation of African masks outside of their indigenous contexts renders them objects of exchange.25 Diouana is made part of this circulatory network of objects that connote “primitiveness,” whose use-value is largely dependent upon the status conferred on them by others. The moment when Diouana reclaims the mask from her female employer is when Diouana essentially reclaims her subjectivity. After Diouana’s suicide, her French employer returns the mask to Dakar. The film ends when the boy from whom Diouana bought the mask, puts it on his face and drives her employer out of the city. As such, the film ends with the embodiment of the mask. The gesture of returning the mask foregrounds the loss of Diouana but also enacts a profound reversal that diminishes the power of the employer as he is quite literally expelled from the space of the city. What disrupts the linear progression of the film’s narrative is the fact that transformation remains out of reach for Diouana; assuming a place of “higher consciousness” leads to death and not radical forms of change. However, the act of return, enacted via substitution, speaks to its deeply transformative potential; the departure of the French employer functions as a profound political statement that constitutes a moment of “postcolonial revenge.”26

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In Touki-Bouki, there is a sequence that depicts the fantasy of a grandiose return, which unveils the desire for class elevation in Dakar as that which fuels Mory and Anta’s planned journey to Paris. This particular sequence is emblematic of a mode of editing employed by Mambety across his work, involving the collage-like combination of documentary and fictional footage that contributes to the hybrid style of the film. The event of imagined return takes place after the pair has robbed Charlie, a figure who stands in for the excessive elite of Dakar with his flashy clothes and star-spangled car, painted in the colors of the American flag. This sequence begins when Mory, standing naked as he is driven into the city in Charlie’s car, proclaims himself to be a griot and a champion wrestler.27 This portion of the sequence offers up a triumphant fantasy of return, where Mory emerges victorious from whatever battles he has fought. During the second phase of this sequence, Mambety intercuts footage of an actual Senegalese independence celebration with low-angle shots of Mory and Anta, now dressed in Western-style suits, driving through the streets, waving to their public.28 The sequence continues with a female character now playing the role of griot and singing the praises of Mory, whom she refers to as the prodigal son, while the couple relaxes in their car smoking cigars and handing out money to their “public.” A few sequences later, in a seamless integration of fantasy and the real, Mory and Anta, dressed exactly as they were during their “return” sequence, purchase their boat tickets for Paris in the former European quarter of the city. Like Sembene, Mambety similarly situates the journey abroad as a means of obtaining social mobility in Dakar; imagined return in Touki-Bouki revolves around entering the domain of the elite, sardonically illustrated by Mambety through the use of grand gestures and costume. However, this sequence is more complex than it appears; Mory initially fashions himself as a victorious griot, but then performs the role of cosmopolitan elite alongside Anta, demonstrating that the kinds of transformation money can buy are related to class mobility via the literal acquisition of status. The fantasy of the glorious homecoming that Naficy associates with the nostalgic or melancholic thread of the exilic journey is depicted here in satirical fashion, operating as a critique of postcolonial modernity centered specifically around consumption and class-based mobility. On the whole, France signifies wealth and status in the film, contributing to a neocolonial reading of this sequence. However, the use of the car, with its American colors and motifs, also obliquely points toward an emerging, de facto imperial power. Anta and Mory’s embrace of the logic of capitalist means of accumulation and consumption is suggestive of the ascendance of the “American

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empire” as much as it points toward an idealization of the former heart of empire. Implicitly, this sequence tells the story of the enduring influence of France, as part of the colonial past of Senegal, while also hinting toward the rapid rise of the new, American-led global economy that nations like Senegal will ultimately remain on the fringes of. Both Black Girl and Touki-Bouki, while enacting a critique of the specifically capitalist means of consumption transpiring within a postcolonial setting, also hark back to the itineraries of movement outlined at the start of the chapter. The overarching narrative trajectory of Black Girl traces a particular model of transformation, whereby Diouana gradually becomes aware of her own commodification. Taking this a step further, the film suggests that the act of travel itself transforms her into an object of circulation.29 The film’s critique of postcolonial modernity rests upon not only Diouana’s desire for material goods but also the manner in which she is similarly transformed into a commodity. The circulatory route assumed by Diouana evokes a longer, transnational history of exploitation, while her mobility simultaneously fosters both recognition and emancipatory action through her acts of resistance directed at her employers. In Touki-Bouki, a sequence that takes place near the end of the film on the ship called the Ancerville, works to undercut the promise of France conjured during the imagined return sequence.30 The very image of the ship evokes the history of the Middle Passage, while the content of the sequence demonstrates a more benign and yet telling mode of continuity between the past and present. As Anta boards the ship, there is a cut to a conversation between two passengers who produce a neocolonial discourse about Dakar. In one such conversation, a woman says “We’ve taught in Dakar for seven years.” There is a cut to a man, who responds with “We never left Dakar. What is there in Senegal? Barren. Intellectually as well.” The woman says, “Our salary is three times that of their teachers . . . but they don’t eat as well as we do. They’ve got no taste.” The man replies, “And what would we buy here? Masks?”. As Lizbeth Malkmus and Roy Armes argue, the Ancerville sequence points toward the experience of Paris that awaits Anta in microcosm.31 This is precisely how Mambety deftly undermines the dream of the France, a deflation that is reinforced by aspects of the film’s final sequence. As Mory runs from the ship, Mambety uses inserts of some of the opening images of the film, including images of cows struggling in the slaughterhouse, to provide a figurative explanation for Mory’s decision to remain. The dizzying camera movements of the tall white buildings and wide streets of the formerly European quarter of the city rhyme

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with the movements of the cows trying to escape from the ropes that have ensnared them. Mambety establishes a definitive link between Mory on the run and a symbolic representation of what he is running away from. This instance of juxtaposition undermines the fantasy of a stately return by offering a glimpse of what awaits; the cow is forced to bend to the keepers of the abattoir, which suggests that instead of finding wealth in France, what the pair will encounter is servitude. Mory’s stasis operates as the primary act of resistance in this film. While instances of imagined return are rendered in distinctly different ways by Sembene and Mambety, characters in both Black Girl and Touki-Bouki long to journey to France in search of economically driven modes of transformation. These films depict a specifically postcolonial version of the return journey that is less about nostalgic yearnings for home than it is about spearheading class mobility. Both directors offer a critique of the complicity of these characters in actively courting capitalist modes of transformation. However, both Diouana and Mory ultimately follow the path of political resistance, rendered explicitly in the case of Black Girl and obliquely in Touki-Bouki. The films utilize politicized forms of recognition to undermine the dream of France while also demonstrating that complete emancipation is out of reach; Diouana’s journey ends in death while Mory’s journey never takes place. As such, the imagination of return in both films serves as an indictment of consumerist dreams of postcolonial modernity that perpetuate unequal power relations between Senegal and France, demonstrating a measure of continuity between the colonial past and the postcolonial present.

Figures of return Mambety’s Hyenas and Sembene’s Moolaadé concern figures who journey back to Senegal and to an unnamed African village, respectively. While Black Girl and Touki-Bouki offer up a specifically postcolonial version of the return journey, Hyenas and Moolaadé allegorize the act of return with regard to the cultural, social, and financial changes wrought by globalization upon African nations. Instead of depicting characters who seek to improve their economic standing by going abroad, the characters in these films return in order to implement various forms of transformation, economic or otherwise. While the films made within the immediate postcolonial period negate the possibility of return, corresponding to the critique made by both directors

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concerning the extent to which Senegal was experiencing a period of neoco­ lonialism in the name of postcolonialism, Hyenas and Moolaadé were released in a very different historical moment. The emphasis in both films is not on the impossibility of return or even making the journey abroad in the first place, but on how the return journey illustrates both the promises and the perils of globalization as manifested within an African context. As such, the transformative possibilities of return are illuminated in both films, but signify in two different directions. Mambety’s Hyenas engages in an ambivalent depiction of return as that which sets off a chain of events that walk the line between vengeance and justice. Moolaadé, on the other hand, offers a positive vision of the return journey whereby the accumulation of knowledge gained from connections to the outside world facilitates gendered modes of social change. As many have noted since its release, Hyenas, an adaptation of Frederich Dürrenmatt’s play The Visit (1956), explicitly tackles the detrimental effects of globalization upon African nations like Senegal.32 The film is often regarded as the second part of an unfinished trilogy inaugurated by Touki-Bouki and indeed, it is easy to view Hyenas as a loose continuation of Touki-Bouki: the plot pivots around the return of Linguère Ramatou to her home town of Colobane in order to enact revenge upon Dramen Drameh, a man who impregnated and denounced her, essentially forcing her into exile. It is almost as if Hyenas offers one way of imagining Anta’s return to Senegal, to the man who refused to join her. Most of the scholarship on Hyenas draws upon the analogy that Mambety develops between Ramatou and the World Bank; he positions her as the personification of the nefarious effects of World Bank and IMF adjustment policies upon African nations, plunging them deeper in debt. This analogy is developed when Ramatou is declared “richer than the World Bank” just prior to her arrival to Colobane. The trope of the brothel is instrumental to this reading as Ramatou returns to Colobane after her career as a globetrotting prostitute, determined, as she says to “turn the world into a brothel.” She succeeds in making Colobane akin to a brothel, buying the services of the townspeople through a perverse incarnation of “gift giving,” that requires a deadly form of “pay back,” which in this case takes the form of Dramen’s murder. There are remarkable continuities between Hyenas’ depiction of the nature of the journey abroad and return home with that in Black Girl and Touki-Bouki. Like Diouana, when made to travel, Ramatou is transformed into a commodity, a body that is for sale. Unlike Diouana, Ramatou acquires wealth and value

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so that she returns in a grand fashion that is merely a fantasy on the part of characters in the other films. Celebrations in Hyenas begin with proclamations of Ramatou’s return, leading to the actual festivities, which she turns into a mock trial where Dramen is indicted for his crimes. The film’s penultimate sequence presents Colobane as an exhibition, with Ramatou transforming the town into a fairground complete with rides while giving away household commodities to the townspeople. In this instance, Mambety employs a technique used in ToukiBouki whereby the scenes of the fair are actual documentary footage taken during the Fête de l’Humanité in Paris 1987.33 Ramatou fulfills the precise conditions for return outlined in the previous case study films as she arrives in Colobane after having undergone a metamorphosis that alters her status completely. If she left Colobane as a disenfranchised, pregnant woman, she returns as a wealthy, powerful figure whose transformation is writ large not only in her actions but also upon her body: she sports an artificial leg and gold hand. While her disfiguration is attributed to a plane crash, it has the added effect of contributing to a reading of Ramatou as someone who has been mangled by her past, parts of her body quite literally altered into objects mirroring her own objectification as prostitute. While Ramatou is often viewed in the scholarly literature on the film as the personification of the World Bank, it is difficult to reconcile this reading with the reason for her return, which is to enact revenge upon Dramen. A slightly different interpretation of Ramatou’s monstrous transformation might be to claim that the moral grounds for her vengeance are completely intertwined with the logic of capital, thereby foreclosing the possibility of redemption. While Murphy and Williams argue that Colobane is beyond the reach of modernist narratives of emancipation as it functions as a stand-in for African nations that reside on the edges of the global capitalist system, much the same can be said about Ramatou. After her final meeting with Dramen, Ramatou walks into a structure that resembles a tomb, telling Dramen that they will meet in the afterlife. As noted by Harrow, the bunker within which Ramatou descends is actually located in Gorée, an infamous slave port, which establishes an implicit link between the film and the itineraries of movement associated with the Black Atlantic.34 Several scholars proclaim Dramen the hero of the film, who puts up a solid fight against the mania for consumption that grips the entirety of the town.35 However, Hyenas is a film mired in ambivalence, which calls into question the unequivocal nature of such an interpretation; as Murphy and Williams observe,

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Mambety never lets us forget that the reasons for Ramatou’s vengeance lie in Dramen’s abandonment of her.36 The story of the film is told through a second register, which involves intercutting animal imagery with narrative events. Ramatou states that her arrival has inaugurated the reign of the hyenas, animals associated in Senegalese oral culture with cowards who prey upon the weak. When the mayor of Colobane approaches Dramen before Ramatou’s arrival to ensure that he will get her to part with her money in order to revitalize the town, there is an insert shot of vultures, which characterizes the town’s people, including Dramen, as predators. Draman’s betrayal of Ramatou is also presented in monetary terms; during the conversation between the pair, Ramatou argues that Dramen abandoned her for his current wife because she had more money. Mambety positions both Draman and Ramatou as figures who are complicit in their own destruction as a result of their insatiable demands for economic gain and power. In demonstrating their complicity, the film situates the return journey as an allegorical representation of how an economic system, when put into place, supersedes any form of individual agency. If the film shows us how Ramatou brings the effects of globalization to bear upon the town of Colobane, she doesn’t live to see its longstanding impact. Her death is shrouded in mystery; as mentioned previously, she simply walks into a tomb-like structure never to emerge. Ramatou’s end is intercut with that of Dramen’s. Dramen’s death literalizes the destructive and dehumanizing effects of unbridled consumption, as he is literally devoured by the town’s people after his trial on the outskirts of the town. The people converge upon Dramen, not in the name of money but as they say, in the “name of justice.” All that remains after they are done is his dusty jacket, lying on the ground. Immediately after Ramatou’s and Dramen’s respective deaths, a bulldozer flattens a portion of land where a modern cityscape is visible in the background. The buildings stand in stark contrast to the desolate landscape of the town that dominates the film. This ending suggests that the transformation of Colobane has already begun and will continue in the absence of both Ramatou and Dramen. The complicity of the townspeople in Ramatou’s plans triggers profound structural and economic shifts that move far beyond her desire for vengeance. As such, Hyenas allegorizes one method by which systemic change becomes a pervasive force, without a name and a face. In contrast, Sembene’s final film, Moolaadé, offers an entirely different way of imagining the transformative potential of the return journey, in keeping with

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the utopian thrust of the film. Moolaadé concerns four young girls who seek asylum with a woman named Collé in order to escape the “purification” ritual of circumcision, leading Collé to band with a group of women in the village to abolish the practice altogether. Along with Faat Kine (2001), the first film of the unfinished trilogy titled “Everyday heroism,” Moolaadé denotes an optimistic period of Sembene’s filmmaking practice whereby resistance to oppressive structures proves possible. The bulk of the existing literature on the film justifiably concentrates on the depiction of female dissidence as well as unpacking Sembene’s brand of feminism.37 While some scholarship explores the depiction of masculinity in the film, there is less emphasis on how the nature of the return journey marks a significant departure from Sembene’s previous films, which is indicative of his shifting perspective on the transgressive possibilities of the journey abroad.38 The return journey in this film, rather than linked to critiques of excessive consumption or class-based inequalities, retains its transformative and ultimately redemptive potential. The two male figures who have travelled abroad in this film, Ibrahima and Mercenaire, are associated with progressive forms of change with regard to gendered relationships. They serve as a deliberate contrast to the male village elders who support the practice of excision as carried out by a group of village women known as the Salindana. Ibrahima returns to the village after studying abroad in France in order to marry Collé’s daughter, Amsatou, who has not been circumcised.39 Ibrahima’s return is celebrated by the village and thus provides an actualized version of the events that receive a satirical treatment in Touki-Bouki. Mercenaire’s return, on the other hand, is steeped in a specifically racialized discourse that has antecedents in Sembene’s own Camp de Thiaroye (1988).40 Mercenaire, dubbed as such after his dishonorable discharge from the military, recounts his story to Ibrahima; in becoming a spokesperson for his fellow soldiers after discovering that their earnings were being depleted by senior officers, Mercenaire was jailed and subsequently removed from the army. With Moolaadé, Sembene demonstrates that complicity with patriarchal structures of power can actually be overcome. In conversation with Mercenaire, Ibrahima reveals that he is slated to marry his 15-year-old cousin, Filly, instead of Amsatou, simply because she has been circumcised. Mercenaire refers to him as a pedophile, which translates into a wider critique of gendered forms of inequality across the continent; as Mercenaire says to conclude the sequence, “Africa’s a real bitch.” However, at the end of the film, Ibrahima defies his father’s

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wishes and chooses to marry Amsatou, despite her status as “bilakoro” or as one who was not “purified.” While in the previous films, the meaning of the return journey resides in tracing various forms of collusion between the protagonists’ desires and larger frameworks of both neocolonialism and globalization, in Moolaadé, the return journey proves to be redemptive as it allows Ibrahima to return to the village and contribute to its social development.41 Mercenaire is placed on the side of female resistance in this film while also actively endorsing the logic of the market-driven economy. When accused by Ibrahima of cheating his customers by charging more for bread in the village than what it costs in the city, Mercenaire reminds him of the principles of the free market. While he situates himself as a global agent, Mercenaire is also the only character who intervenes on the local level and stops the whipping of Collé by her husband Cire. In offering protection to Collé, whose public flogging has been demanded by the village elders on account of refusal to lift the moolaadé, or magical protection she offers to the village’s uncircumcised girls, Mercenaire pays the price with his life: he is lynched by the village council.42 Like Ibrahima, Mercenaire is granted his moment of redemption.43 Unlike the village council who are unable to embrace any form of social development, both Ibrahima and Mercenaire move beyond their complicity with various systems of inequality. These two male figures are grouped by Sembene alongside one of the film’s prominent motifs: the radio. The radio operates as a conduit to the outside world and is used strategically by the women in order to fuel their rebellion. As such, it is the first item confiscated by the village council. As Collé remarks near the end of the film, listening to the radio taught her that female circumcision is not decreed in any Islamic texts. Earlier in the film, Ibrahima tells his father that banning radios and television sets cuts the villagers off from progressive currents circulating around the globe. In this film, making the journey abroad, whether it is a literal journey undertaken by Ibrahima or Mercenaire, or whether it is a sonic journey, undertaken by the villagers who listen to the radios, is the primary catalyst for transformation and radical forms of social change, including the abolition of the practice of excision from the village. Sembene intertwines technological advancement with an expanded understanding of what constitutes a journey abroad in order to craft a film that revels in specifically gendered forms of subversion that confirm rather than negate the experience of “leaving home.” This reading is emphasized by the film’s conclusion, where a shot of ostrich egg that has been sitting on top of the village mosque for 150 years is replaced by an image of a television aerial.

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Conclusion Sembene and Mambety’s films contain remarkable similarities with regard to the significance of the return journey, even though Sembene’s largely realist filmmaking style is quite the opposite of the non-realist flourishes that characterize Mambety’s oeuvre. The moral questions explored by these films probe the possibilities as well as the consequences of modes of mobility motivated by the longing for consumption and class elevation. As such, the return journey in the work of both directors functions as a condemnation of characters who perpetuate social and economic disparity at home as a result of their ambitions to live, work, and acquire wealth abroad. While this is true of Moolaadé, it is also the only film within this corpus that holds out the possibility of redemption. The tempering of such radical transgressions in Black Girl, Touki Bouki, and Hyenas is itself an integral component of the critique of the perils of complicity the films put forth. While Moolaadé explores similar terrain, the film returns to the formula of the “consciousness-raising” narrative in providing a utopian ending that unexpectedly coincides with the utopian overtones of Mambety’s last short film, La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (1999). In another coincidence, both Sembene and Mambety’s work assumes a more positive stance near the end of their careers. The correspondences between the work of two directors so often held in diametrical opposition in the literature on African cinema gives credence to the notion of a shared political imaginary concerning the state of the Senegal and of the African continent more broadly after the end of colonialism into the global present. What is at stake in these films is not nostalgic or melancholic yearnings for home, but rather an interrogation of home that aims to shed light on the capitalist impetus and follies of the postcolonial nation state as figured allegorically through characters whose journeys abroad are always already about the moment of return.

Notes 1 Elizabeth Bishop, Questions of Travel (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965), 8. 2 In a literary context, see: Susan Ireland, “Narratives of Return.” In Textualizing The Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Quebec, edited by Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx (Westport: Praeger Press, 2004), 23–50. With regard to cultural

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5 6 7 8

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history, see: Edward Said, Reflections on Exile and other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); Mary Chamberlain, Narratives of Exile and Return (New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2004). Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 229. As Dimitris Eleftheoritis observes in Cinematic Journeys: Film and Movement, scientific discourses of the nineteenth century articulated a particular relationship between movement, vision and the acquisition of knowledge that constitute the essence of Western modernity; as Eleftheoritis argues, linear trajectories of forward movement, defined by a steady accumulation of knowledge, or what we might now refer to as a grand narrative, is the epistemological ground of the onset of modernity in the West. I will argue that an African experience of postcolonial modernity offers up an alternate relationship between movement, vision and the acquisition of knowledge. See Dimitris Eleftheoritis, Cinematic Journeys: Film and Movement (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 7–12. Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London and New York: Verso, 1993), 19. Ibid., 4. Ibid., 16. A key example is the Negritude Movement that began in the 1930s in France. As Chinweizu writes, “The spirit of Francophone Negritude was a spirit of cultural revolt”, whereby figures associated with this movement, including Leopold Senghor, made the transition from cultural activism to political activism. See Chinweizu, “The Weapon of Culture: Negritude Literature and the Making of Neocolonial Africa.” In The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1944, edited by Okwui Enwezor (New York and London: Prestel Press, 2001), 322–3. Okwui Enwezor, “Introduction.” In The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1944, edited by Okwui Enzwezor (New York and London: Prestel Press, 2001), 12. Ibid., 10. Eleftheoritis, Cinematic Journeys, 12. As Phillip Rosen argues, most of the directors constituting the first generation of African directors had some type of “cosmopolitan experience in the colonial metropole”. See Phillip Rosen, “Notes on Art Cinema and the Emergence of Sub-Saharan Film.” In Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories, edited by Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 254. David Murphy and Patrick Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema: Ten Directors (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007), 92.

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14 Samba Gadijo, Ousmane Sembene: The Making of A Militant Artist (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2010), 150. 15 Rosen, Notes on Art Cinema, 253. 16 For example, see Sylvia Winter, “Africa, the West and the Analogy of Culture: The Cinematic Text After Man.” In Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image, edited by June Givanni (London: The British Film Institute, 2001): 25–78. 17 Kenneth W. Harrow, Postcolonial African Cinema: From Political Engagement to Postmodernism (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2007), 5. 18 Harrow mentions the films of Jean-Marie Teno and Jean-Pierre Bekolo in this regard. In a similar move that is meant to illustrate the waning influence of Sembene upon contemporary filmmakers, Alexie Tcheyap argues that the work of contemporary filmmakers, including Bekolo and Sarah Maldoror among others, “clearly indicate the extent to which Sembene Ousmane’s conception of cinema as ‘evening school’ for consciousness-raising and social transformation, has become, in a way, somehow outdated for these filmmakers” (17). See Alexie Tcheyap, Postnationalist African Cinema (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011). 19 Burning an Illusion (1981) is a film made by Menelik Shabazz. The film is a classic “coming to consciousness” narrative featuring a young Black woman in London who becomes politicized after a series of racialized incidents faced by herself and her lover. The title of this film is an apt way of describing what happens to the characters in both Black Girl and Touki-Bouki. 20 As Murphy and Williams argue with regard to both Badou Boy and Touki-Bouki, these films were often seen as “ ‘Western’, modernist, avant-garde works that had little to say to an African audience” (96). Also see: Manthia Diawara, “The Iconography of West African Cinema.” In Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image, edited by June Givanni (London: The British Film Institute, 2001): 81–9; Samba Diop, African Francophone Cinema (Michigan: University of Michigan, 2008), 75. 21 Murphy and Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema, 97. 22 Harrow, Postcolonial African Cinema, 8. 23 As Rachel Langford argues, the black-and-white interior of the apartment in Antibes mirrors the relationship between herself and her employers, where “black is increasingly dominated by white” (99). See Rachel Langford, “Colonisation and Globalisation in Francophone African Film and Literature: Relations in Borom Sarret (1963), La noire de . . . (1965) and Cinéma (1997),” French Cultural Studies 16, 1 (2005): 91–104.

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24 Rachel Langford, “Black and White in Black and White: Identity and Cinematography in Ousmane Sembene’s La noire de . . ./Black Girl (1966),” Studies in French Cinema 1, 1 (2001): 18. 25 Ibid., 18. 26 While Stuart Hall uses this phrase when discussing Claire Denis’ Chocolat (1988), I find its usage to be appropriate within this context as well. The final scenes of the film feature “the return of the gaze” as the employer is observed by members of Diouana’s family and then driven out of Dakar by a boy wearing the mask, an embodiment of Diouana’s spirit. See Stuart Hall, “European Cinema on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown.” In Screening Europe: Image and Identity in Contemporary European Cinema, edited by Duncan Petrie (London: British Film Institute, 1992), 45–53. 27 A griot is a West African storyteller, working in the oral tradition. 28 Murphy and Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema, 98. 29 As Sheila Petty argues, the phenomenon of neocolonism in African nations like Senegal constitutes what she refers to as “a new form of the ‘African slave trade’” (72). See Sheila Petty, “Towards a Changing Africa: Women’s Roles in the Films of Ousmane Sembene.” In A Call to Action: The Films of Ousmane Sembene, edited by Sheila Petty (Cambridge: Flicks Books, 1996), 67–86. 30 In Black Girl, Diouana also arrives to Antibes onboard the Ancerville. 31 Lizbeth Malkmus and Roy Armes, Arab and African Filmmaking (London: Zed Books, 1991), 191. 32 For example, see Murphy and Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema, 104; Dayna Oscherwitz, “Of Cowboys and Elephants: Globalization and the Nouveau Western in Djibril Diop Mambety’s Hyenas.” Research in African Literatures 39, 1 (2008): 223–38; Greg Thomas, “Hyenas in the Enchanted Brothel: The ‘Naked Truth’ in Djibril Diop Mambety.” Black Camera 2, vol 2 (2011): 8–25; Mamadou Diouf, “History and Actuality in Ousmane Sembene’s Ceddo and Djibril Diop Mambety’s Hyenas.” In African Experiences of Cinema, edited by Imruh Bakari and Mybe Cham (London: British Film Institute, 1996), 239–51; Richard Porton, “Mambety’s Hyenas: Between Anti-Colonialism and the Critique of Modernity.” Iris 18 (1995): 85–194. 33 Organized by the French communist-leaning newspaper L’Humanité, the Fête de l’Humanité features stalls, performances, and fairground activities. See Murphy and Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema, 98. 34 Harrow, Postcolonial African Cinema, 181. 35 For example, see Murphy and Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema, 101; Oscherwitz, Of Cowboys and Elephants, 233. 36 Murphy and Williams, Postcolonial African Cinema, 101.

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37 For example, see Jude Akudinobi, “Durable Dreams: Dissent, Critique and Creativity in Faat Kiné and Moolaadé.” Meridians 6, 2 (2006): 177–94; Dominica Dipio, “Gender wars around religion and tradition in Ousmane Sembene’s Moolaade.” Journal of African Cinemas 2, 2 (2010): 121–35. 38 On the role of male characters in the film, see Karen Lindo, “Ousmane Sembene’s Hall of Men: (En) Gendering Everyday Heroism.” Research in African Literatures 41, 4 (2010): 109–24; Tarshia L. Stanley, “Father Africa: Counter-Narratives of Modernity in Ousmane Sembene’s Faat Kiné and Moolaadé.” In Men in African Film and Fiction, edited by Lahoucine Ouzgane (Suffolk and Rochester: James Currey, 2011), 127–38. 39 At one point in the film, Ibrahima quotes the title of one of Aimé Césaire’s famous poems “Return to my Native Land” (1939) when describing his joy at returning home. This gesture evokes not only the poem but also the return home of Césaire to Martinique in the name of political action, situating Ibrahima within this political legacy. 40 Co-directed with Thiermo Faty Sow, Campe de Thiaroye concerns the massacre of a group of African soldiers who are detained in the camp after the end of World War II. During their detainment, the soldiers are given half of their wages, among other such incidents that operate as a critique of the treatment of these soldiers after the end of the War. As such, it strikes me that that figure of Mercenaire can be read as a citation of this particular film. 41 During a scene where Ibrahima is blessed by his family for his generosity, they recount his deeds, which include providing money for a water pump for the women of the village, for the construction of a building as well as providing food during difficult economic times. 42 See Lindo for a reading of the complex power dynamics surrounding Ciré’s flogging of Collé (117). 43 I would argue that Mercenaire’s tragic death operates as a citation of the often catastrophic endings of Sembene’s previous films.

Works cited Bishop, Elizabeth. Questions of Travel. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965. “Colonisation and Globalisation in Francophone African Film and Literature: Relations in Borom Sarret (1963), La noire de . . . (1965) and Cinéma (1997).” French Cultural Studies 16, 1 (2005): 91–104. Eleftheoritis, Dimitris. Cinematic Journeys: Film and Movement. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

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Enwezor, Okwui (ed.). The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1944. New York and London: Prestel Press, 2001. Gadijo, Samba. Ousmane Sembene: The Making of a Militant Artist. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2010. Giavanni, June. Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image. London: The British Film Institute, 2001. Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. London and New York: Verso, 1993. Hall, Stuart. “European Cinema on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown.” In Screening Europe: Image and Identity in Contemporary European Cinema, edited by Duncan Petrie. London: British Film Institute, 1992, 45–53. Harrow, W. Kenneth. Postcolonial African Cinema: From Political Engagement to Postmodernism. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2007. Langford, Rachel. “Black and White in Black and White: Identity and Cinematography in Ousmane Sembene’s La noire de . . . /Black Girl (1966).” Studies in French Cinema 1, 1 (2001): 13–21. Lindo, Karen. “Ousmane Sembene’s Hall of Men: (En) Gendering Everyday Heroism.” Research in African Literatures 41, 4 (2010): 109–24. Malkmus, Lizbeth and Roy Armes. Arab and African Filmmaking. London: Zed Books, 1991. Murphy, David and Patrick Williams. Postcolonial African Cinema: Ten Directors. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Petty, Sheila. “Towards a Changing Africa: Women’s Roles in the Films of Ousmane Sembene.” In A Call to Action: The Films of Ousmane Sembene, edited by Sheila Petty. Cambridge: Flicks Books, 1996, 67–86. Rosen, Philip. “Notes on Art Cinema and the Emergence of Sub-Saharan Film.” In Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories, edited by Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 254.

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Sleeping with Strangers: Queering Home and Identity in I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone Kai-man Chang

Introduction The debate over the essential nature of identity has been extensively argued by both feminists and postcolonial scholars in the past few decades. Identities defined by factors such as gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity are now viewed as strategic, negotiated, hybrid, and contingent on multilayered discursive and material forces within and beyond national boundaries, “a complex lamination of local onto global onto local” as described by Cindy Patton and Benigno SánchezEppler in their introduction to Queer Diasporas.1 In recent years, the question of identity in the works of migrant filmmakers has also attracted significant scholarly attention, not only in film studies but also in area and ethnic studies. From Stuart Hall to Hamid Naficy, from Rey Chow to Gayatri Gopinath, a multitude of diasporic cinematic narratives and aesthetics have been excavated, theorized, and utilized as alternative discourses and identity formations that challenge the mainstream, neoliberal, capitalist, Americentric-Eurocentric modes of cultural dissemination and domination.2 This chapter will examine the films of Tsai Ming-liang to illustrate how diasporic filmmaking that moves between the interstices of geopolitical territories can put into question the mainstream construction of race, gender, and sexuality. One of the most internationally acclaimed filmmakers working today, Tsai Ming-liang has received numerous awards at international film festivals since his debut feature The Rebels of Neon God (1992).3 However, despite Tsai’s close ties to Taiwan—where he has lived since 1977 and where most of his oeuvre is set—he has a difficult time connecting with the popular

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Taiwanese audience, owing particularly to his films’ poignant themes and minimalist style. In the absence of commercial success, Tsai is able to survive in the ever-shrinking art film market due to sponsorship from the Taiwanese government, European film companies, or art institutions. For example, his most recent film, Face (2009), was commissioned by the Louvre and funded by the Taiwanese government as well as film companies in France, Belgium, and Netherlands.4 Interestingly, among Tsai’s ten feature-length films, only one is set in his home country, Malaysia: I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006, hereafter, Sleep Alone). The film, Tsai’s eighth feature, was commissioned by the 2006 New Crowned Hope Festival, held in Vienna in honor of Mozart’s 250th birthday.5 With little connection to Mozart’s life and music, Tsai’s film introduces us to the world of four strangers living on the fringe of Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. As in his previous films about Taipei, Tsai maintains his minimalist style, foregrounding Kuala Lumpur’s bleak and forlorn cityscapes with recurrent motifs of food, water, and the 1960s pop songs from Hong Kong. Drawing upon George Simmel’s and Zygmunt Bauman’s discussion of strangers, this chapter explores the ways in which Sleep Alone envisions the figure of the rootless stranger as a disruptive and liberating presence in our society, urging us to rethink the boundaries of various identities such as self, family, gender, sexuality, class, race, and nationality. I argue that Tsai’s strangers are not those who desire to become strangers among strangers for the sake of anonymity and freedom. Rather, through meticulous mise-en-scène and the intertwined lives of the four individuals, Tsai reveals his strangers to be those who are involuntarily displaced and underprivileged and who have to share their bodies, surroundings, food, and water as a means of survival and defiance against social hierarchy and oppression. Born in 1957 in Kuching, Malaysia, Tsai is descended from Chinese immigrant grandparents who arrived in Malaysia in the late nineteenth century. In 1977, like many young Malaysian Chinese of his generation, Tsai left Malaysia for Taiwan to pursue a college education.6 Upon receiving a degree in Dramatic Arts from the Chinese Culture University in 1981, Tsai decided to stay in Taipei to become a playwright and avant-garde theatrical producer. His early productions, including Instant Bean Sauce Noodle (1981), A Sealed Door in the Dark (1982), and A Wardrobe in the Room (1983), already exhibited his extraordinary talent for portraying the loneliness and alienation found in modern Taiwanese society.

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From 1983 to 1991, Tsai devoted himself to writing movie scripts and eventually worked as a television screenwriter and director, which prepared him for his leap into feature films. In 1991, while shooting the television film The Kid, Tsai discovered Lee Kang-sheng at a video arcade. Though Lee had no prior acting experience, he soon became Tsai’s favorite actor, playing the central character in all of Tsai’s films.7 In his more than 20-year career as a director, Tsai has directed ten critically acclaimed feature-length films: Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Vive L’Amour (1994), The River (1997), The Hole (1998), What Time Is It There? (2001), Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003), The Wayward Cloud (2005), I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006), Face (2009), and Stray Dogs (2013). Despite his international stature, Tsai’s relationship with the Taiwanese government remains tenuous and schizophrenic. While disliking his films for how they reveal the dark side of Taiwanese society—an image the government does not want its people or the world to see—the Taiwanese government still capitalizes on Tsai’s fame to boost the country’s visibility at international film festivals. As scholar Chang Sung-sheng points out, “since the late 1980s, encouraged by the initial recognition Taiwan New Cinema received at international film festivals, the Government Information Office has tactfully enlisted film in Taiwan’s diplomatic struggle for ‘international living space’ against mounting pressure from the People’s Republic of China.”8 For example, The Wayward Cloud features a pointed criticism of Taiwan’s exploitive pornographic industry and Taiwanese men’s obsession with Japanese pornography. After winning three awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, including the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, Tsai was able to force the Taiwanese government’s censorship bureau to not cut any of the film’s graphic sex scenes. Similarly, owing to his international fame, Tsai was able to persuade Malaysia’s censorship bureau to allow Sleep Alone to be shown in his native Malaysia despite its taboo homosexual theme. By winning awards at international film festivals, Tsai is able to transfer what Pierre Bourdieu calls symbolic and cultural capital into economic and political capital. More importantly, the “producer” of the value of the work of art is not “artist” but, as Bourdieu claims, “the field of production as a universe of belief in the creative power of the artist.”9 In other words, the production and circulation of Tsai’s later films have become a complex process of negotiation among filmmakers, producers, distributors, the state censors, and diverse local and international art sponsors and audiences, located within specific national and transnational constructions, expectations, and performances.

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Imperatives of being a stranger As a sojourner filmmaker, Tsai often resorts to his diasporic experience of being an insider and outsider in both Malaysia and Taiwan to reinvent himself and his work. His positionality and his films embody a “unity of nearness and remoteness,” as Georg Simmel describes the stranger.10 In what follows, I will first offer a brief multidisciplinary survey of theoretical discussions exploring the concept of the stranger and then focus on how Tsai utilizes the figure of stranger to reveal the oppressive and hierarchical formations of gender, sexuality, class, race, and nationality. For sociologists, the stranger is more than simply an unknown person or outsider. From a sociological perspective, the stranger does not necessarily live on the outside, per se, but somewhere in between. In his 1908 seminal essay on the concept of the stranger, Georg Simmel proffers the definition of “the person who comes today and stays tomorrow . . . [Although] he is fixed within a certain spatial circle . . . his position within it is fundamentally affected by the fact that he does not belong in it initially and that he brings qualities into it that are not, and cannot be, indigenous to it.”11 Simmel’s stranger is thus a member of the group in a spatial sense but not a member of the group in a social sense.12 Because he is not bound by roots to the particular constituents and partisan dispositions of the group, he is thought to be more “objective” and also more likely to be accepted as a confidant.13 The stranger, therefore, whether he is a newcomer or a marginal figure, occupies a particular social position within the group, which simultaneously involves a certain degree of inclusion and exclusion. Simmel’s concept of the stranger, now more than a hundred years old, has been applied and reworked by numerous sociologists to elaborate important concepts such as social distance, the newcomer, marginality, and cosmopolitanism. Although I have no intention of undertaking a study of the sociological significance of the stranger, I do borrow several key insights developed by sociology and urban studies to envision the figure of the stranger as one that is not only elusive and disruptive but also redemptive and revolutionary. First of all, the figure of the stranger denotes a social disruption not only in space but also in time—meaning that strangers come to existence only in the moment of encountering. As Kurt Iveson argues, “For Simmel, the stranger is a product of an arrival which has both spatial and temporal dimensions. . . . This arrival brings strangers into contact with other individuals to whom they are not connected through ties of kinship, locality, and occupation.”14 Although Simmel

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regards the stranger strictly as a trader, a sojourner, or a foreigner, his focus on the stranger’s in-between spatiality and transient temporality continues to fascinate sociologists and urban theorists. In the age of globalization, strangers arrive from all parts of the world in ever-increasing numbers, and their integration into the host countries presents a series of unique problems. Sociologists such as Zygmunt Bauman have thus shifted the question of how locals should respond to strangers who come from elsewhere to the question of how a society responds to the strangers within. In Postmodernity and its Discontents, Bauman states, “All societies produce strangers. . . . If the strangers are the people who do not fit the cognitive, moral, or aesthetic map of the world . . . if they befog and eclipse the boundary lines which ought to be clearly seen . . . then each society produces such strangers.”15 Bauman goes on to explain two strategies the nation/state deploys to control strangers. The first is anthropophagic: the annihilation of strangers through assimilation. The second is anthropoemic: the exclusion of strangers from the territory or their confinement within visible walls and ghettos. If neither of the two strategies works, the state will destroy strangers physically.16 According to Bauman, the stranger is “one member of the family of undecidables,” neither friend nor enemy. Strangers are “a third element,” “true hybrids,” “monsters,” and “unclassifiable.” Strangers question the plausibility of dichotomy and unmask the brittle artificiality of division.17 German sociologist Ulrich Beck goes further to claim: There are natives and foreigners, friends and enemies—and there are strangers who do not categorically fit into this model, who doge, obstruct, and irritate oppositions. The relativity of the stranger exists, as is clearly seen here, because the stranger is a concept without a counter-concept. . . . Put generally: the category of the stranger is the counter-concept (or contrary concept) to all concepts of social order.18

Australian urban planning theorist Leonie Sandercock also points out that “our ambivalence towards strangers expresses both fear and fascination, which is also desire (including erotic desire) fused into one and is thus doubly unsettling.”19 In short, the figure of the stranger, because of its being undecidable and unclassifiable, has become a powerful, analytical, and social category for Bauman and other theorists to challenge oppressive social orders and boundaries constructed under Western modernity. From this perspective, the figure of the stranger marks an ambiguously disruptive and liberating presence

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in our society, pushing us to rethink the boundaries of the self, the family, and the community. Rejecting the tendency to essentialize and universalize the transgressive potential of the figure of the stranger, scholar-activist Vijay Prashad uses Simmel’s concept of “the trader as stranger” to analyze the complex interrelations between the formations of capitalism and racism concerning Asian Americans and African Americans in the United States. Studying the conflicts and solidarities between Asian shop owners (i.e. traders) and African-American working class (i.e. customers) in Los Angeles and New York, Prashad goes beyond identity politics to argue for the dynamic history of Afro-Asian solidarity.20 Furthermore, we, ourselves, are often a stranger to others. As Julie Meyer states, “A man can become a stranger in his own family, a stranger in his own country.” He becomes a stranger “because he is not accepted or because he does not accept.”21 To be a stranger is to be the Other—the unknown and unaccepted. Being a stranger, one feels out of place, unsure, and isolated. Indeed, one does not need to travel to a foreign land to experience strangeness. We could be strangers in our family, our own country, and even to ourselves. Tsai’s films, similar to existentialist literature and the aforementioned sociological discourse, suggest that “strangeness” is an inherent part of life and that strangers are not only among us but also within us. Note how in The River, Hsiao-kang and his father, both closeted gays, struggle to come to terms with their own sexuality and familial relationship. As a result, their bodies are estranged from their consciousness and vice versa. The body answers to biological and subconscious drives, despite our attempts to repress them, a psychodynamic split discovered by Sigmund Freud a century ago. For Tsai, to confront strangers within and among ourselves is to acknowledge the incompleteness and foreignness of our identities. That is, the figure of the stranger is never singular. The stranger is a position rather than an identity—a position of in-betweenness we consciously or unconsciously inhabit in our daily lives. Because strangers have no community to begin with, they have the potential to create new communities that eschew the set rules and baggage of the past. Through recognizing the similarities and differences of each other’s desires, needs, and fears, Tsai’s strangers are able to offer one another help, thereby forging alliances that are situational, strategic, and mutually inclusive. Tsai’s fascination with the stranger revolves less around the question of what it means to be a stranger than what is required for a stranger to build a relationship with another stranger, or how strangers go beyond the boundaries of social norms to forge new alliances.

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Estrangement of home-space In Sleep Alone, Tsai’s favorite actor, Lee Kang-sheng takes on the dual role of the homeless man and paralyzed man. Unlike his regular role of the rebellious son Hsiao-kang in Rebels of the Neon God, The River, and What Time Is It There?, Lee’s two roles in Sleep Alone are unnamed (or unnamable), identified only in the credits as Paralyzed Guy and Homeless Guy. The film opens with static long take of the paralyzed man, lying comatose in a bed while Mozart’s The Magic Flute plays on the radio.22 The comatose man is the son of a middle-aged woman (Pearlly Chua) who runs a small Chinese café in Kuala Lumpur. Following this opening scene, we see the homeless man wandering through the streets of Kuala Lumpur and getting beaten up by a group of Malay hustlers. Seriously wounded and left for dead, the homeless man is rescued by a group of Bangladeshi workers at the insistence of Rawang (Norman bin Atun), who nurses the bruised stranger back to health and also falls in love with him. Back at the café, we are introduced to a young waitress (Chen Shiang-chyi) whose duties include caring for her boss’s son. She lives in an attic above the café and is often verbally and physically abused by its owner boss. One day, the waitress encounters the homeless man and they quickly fall in love. When Rawang discovers that the homeless man has not only run away with the waitress but also stolen his mattress, he follows the lovers back to the waitress’s attic room. However, he cannot bring himself to hurt the homeless man, who is the object of his affection. In what is perhaps a gesture of conciliation, the homeless man caresses Rawang’s face, and Rawang lies down and falls asleep next to him on the mattress. Before long, the waitress also lies down next to the homeless man, unaware of Rawang’s presence. The film ends with the three of them sleeping on the once-discarded mattress, drifting above a pool of dark water. In an interview with the journalist Andrew Huang, Tsai explains that his idea for his previous feature, The Wayward Cloud started in 1999 when he went back to Malaysia for a visit. At that time, he wanted to make a movie about the Southeast Asian foreign workers who are often exploited and abused in Taiwan. When asked how the concept of a movie about exploited foreign laborers in Taiwan changed into that of a movie about sex workers in Taiwan’s porn industry, Tsai answered: It’s still the same idea but with [a] different occupation. What I am interested in is in exploring the identity issue of these individuals who are caught

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between two worlds. There are many foreign laborers who lose their work rights in Taiwan and can’t go back to their own home countries. They are stuck in between two worlds. The same idea goes for porn actors. They live double lives as porn actors and normal people but end up stuck in between two worlds.23

In The Wayward Cloud, the young female protagonist (Chen Shiang-chyi) who works as a curator at the National Palace Museum encounters a porn actor (Lee Kang-sheng) and falls in love with him. However, toward the end of the film, she not only discovers his secret profession but also witnesses how a porn actress is abused by the porn industry. Her encounter with the porn actor, a stranger on the street, leads her into the world of the underground porn industry in Taiwan. In Sleep Alone, Chen Shiang-chyi plays a Chinese waitress in Malaysia. With shaggy hair, sad eyes, and a loose-fitting T-shirt, she looks exhausted, unattractive, and asexual, especially in the scenes where she has to clean the comatose man’s body. As the female protagonist in The Wayward Cloud, the waitress is also forced to have sex in a bizarre situation.24 One night, when the waitress is putting lotion on her boss’s back, the boss suddenly grabs her hand and forces her to masturbate her comatose son. Unlike the objectification of women’s bodies by the porn industry and the patriarchal Taiwanese society in The Wayward Cloud, the sexual exploitation of the waitress in this film is also a result of class exploitation, which also plays an important part in the oppression of women around the world. Although the film does not give us many clues about the waitress’s background, her isolation in Kuala Lumpur implies that she might be one of those young women who migrate to the city from rural villages. Maila Stivens has observed that the large number of young Malaysian women who go to the city to work in predominantly unskilled or semi-skilled sectors, as clerks, factory workers, nannies, and nurses often experience extreme work pressures and harassment.25 In The Hole (1998), Tsai visualizes gender hierarchy through the mise-en-scène of the man upstairs versus the woman downstairs. In Sleep Alone, Tsai employs a similar upstairs/downstairs spatiality to embody hierarchical class structure. The waitress lives in a small attic right above the spacious room of the boss and her comatose son. The ceiling of the attic is so low that the waitress has to stoop. Moreover, the attic is not set up as a spare bedroom but, rather, as a storage room strewn with piles of old furniture and boxes. It is worth noting that Tsai

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provides us with a view of the building from the outside to show that the attic is not actually an attic at all but a compartment of the same room as that of the boss and her comatose son. Such compartmentalization of domestic space is a common modification for lower class families in Kuala Lumpur to create more space in their houses. In addition, Tsai also uses a folk song to expose the hierarchical gender and class structure in Malaysian society. In one of the opening scenes where Rawang and his Bangladeshi friends carry the mattress through the crowded nighttime streets of Kuala Lumpur, we hear two blind, middle-aged Muslim street performers singing a tune: A pocketful of uncooked rice and six little birds put into the cooking wok. When they are cooked, the birds will sing. They must be tasty for they’re for the king. The king is in the house, doing his accounts while the queen is in the kitchen eating bread and sugar. The maid is by the pond, drying the flour in the sun. A little black bird comes and pecks her little nose.

Although the folk song is about the social stratification of the ancient Malaysian kingdom, where the king got to eat the best food, the queen had bread and sugar, and the maid had to prepare for the food, Tsai uses it to comment on the unequal relationship between the waitress, the female boss, and the boss’s other son (the comatose man’s brother), who tries to sell the house against his mother’s will. The waitress is like the maid, the female boss is the queen, and the comatose man’s brother is, by all effective measures, the king.

Connecting through food and liquid In addition to the mise-en-scene of contested domestic spaces in Kuala Lumpur, Sleep Alone is also rich in food and liquid imagery. Early in the film, the waitress and the homeless man—two complete strangers—stand side by side in the street watching food being prepared at a market stall. Although they are hungry, they cannot afford to buy a meal. The postures of the waitress and the homeless man mirror each other—their heads both tilt slightly to the right. Their longing for food is so vividly written on their faces that we empathize with their plight, almost smelling the food along with them. The commonality of their bodies reveals not only their shared desire for food but also their shared marginality and deprivation. Unlike the spectacular, yet alienating, food scenes in Ang

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Lee’s family drama, Eat Drank Man Woman (1994), the food scenes in Tsai’s films often function as a medium for communication and redemption among strangers. In Sleep Alone, none of the major characters speak a word to one another. This absence of verbal communication reinforces the condition of strangeness as a complex and alternative way of building community. As in his previous films, Tsai’s characters often communicate through the sharing of water, food, bodies, and spaces. One day Rawang comes home with two bags of smoothies to share with the homeless man. When he realizes that the homeless man is probably not going to return that evening, he starts to drink one of the smoothies. Extending the theme of food as a medium for social connection, in the following scene, we see the homeless man eating at a food stall. A minute later, the waitress appears with her plate of food and sits down next to him. Unlike the first scene where the homeless man and the waitress stand side by side looking at the market stool, here they begin to notice each other as they quietly eat side by side. Later, the homeless man follows her back to the café. The scene marks the beginning of a heterosexual relationship and arguably the end of the homeless man’s short-lived homoerotic relationship with Rawang. As in Tsai’s other films, Sleep Alone does not reveal Rawang’s homosexuality directly. Instead, it uses liquid as a metaphor for Rawang’s affection for the homeless man. In addition to sharing smoothies and beers with the homeless man, Rawang also cleans the homeless man’s body and washes his clothes and underwear.26 In another scene, we witness Rawang helping the homeless man, still weak from his beating, urinate. He pulls down the homeless man’s pants and supports his body with his hands from behind. Rawang first looks away out of respect for the homeless man’s privacy. Then, he turns his head around to check if the homeless man has finished urination. After pulling up the homeless man’s pants, Rawang slips. The homeless man falls back onto Rawang’s body and thereby erases any physical distance between their bodies. According to Jay Weissberg, this scene, with light coming through the window, looks like a Caravaggio painting in its use of shadow and highlights. The sharp contrast of light and dark foretells the dynamic relationship between Rawang and the homeless man.27 This scene is probably the film’s only sequence of any real eroticism (the other three sex scenes are not only unsexy but also challenging to watch—the homeless man masturbating the female boss in the back alley; the female boss forcing

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the  waitress to masturbate her comatose son; and the homeless man and the waitress trying to have sex amidst a suffocating haze caused by the forest fire in Indonesia). Aware of its attraction-grabbing graphicness, Tsai insisted on using the scene for one of the film’s publicity posters, despite the initial ban by the Taiwanese government’s censorship bureau. According to critic Han Liang-lu, Tsai is a sharp promoter of his own films. The homoerotic poster enticed many people to walk into the theater, even though the film contains no overt, homosexual imagery. In fact, because Norman bin Atun, the actor playing Rawang, is a Muslim, Tsai cut Atun’s only homosexual scene from the film out of respect for his religion.28 Rawang’s homosexuality is implied, however, in the scene where Rawang eats his dinner alone while his fellow Bangladeshi workers are gathered in the living room watching a Tamil movie that celebrates the love story between a man and woman.

Political communion on a drifting mattress Like the homeless man’s drifting, ambiguous body, the worn-out, discarded mattress becomes a container for both heterosexual and homosexual desires. Toward the end of the film, after both the homeless man and Rawang fall asleep, the exhausted waitress climbs inside the attic. She turns on the neon light of

Figure 13.1  Three strangers sleep soundly on a drifting mattress. I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, 2006.

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a small, plastic tree (a gift from the homeless man) and places it next to the mattress. She then lies down and uses her left hand to stroke the homeless man’s back, not noticing that Rawang is sleeping on the opposite side of the homeless man. The film cuts to the comatose man downstairs. His eyes seem to be turning red.29 The film concludes with a 4-minute long take of the three strangers sleeping on the mattress, drifting above a pool of blackish water. Tsai’s sound design in the scene accentuates our understanding of the relationship between the strangers. In complete silence, we watch them sleeping as the mattress drifts from the top to the bottom of the frame.30 From the reflection of the water, we can surmise that they are actually floating on the stagnant water of the abandoned building where Rawang works.31 Halfway through the scene, Hong Kong singer, Lee Hsiang-lan’s old song softly swells: “Winter has gone and spring is here. . . . Can’t you see the pairs of butterflies? I want to tell you that I love you.” Although the song praises a heterosexual romance, Tsai uses it to extol the mysterious bond of three marginalized strangers who somehow manage to find solace in each other. Despite their differences in race, gender, and sexuality, they are able to share an old mattress in their collective marginality as the underclass of society. The significance of the mattress as a political symbol is further suggested by the film’s Chinese title, Heiyanquan (Dark Eye Circle, or Black Eye), which calls to mind the scandal that engulfed former Malaysian deputy minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 2001 when he was jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption. The main piece of evidence used to convict him was a hotel mattress that had his semen on it. “Dark eye circle” refers to the black eyes Anwar sported when he was arrested by the police and which were speculated to be the result of police brutality.32 Referring to Anwar’s homosexuality, the Malaysian Prime Minister said to a BBC News reporter, “We cannot have a deputy who is homosexual— not in this country. We don’t accept it. In other countries they can have ministers who are homosexual. That’s okay—but not here.”33 According to the same BBC News report, in Malaysia, any gay relationship is punishable by up to 20 years jail time plus flogging. Unlike the hotel mattress used to indict Anwar, the discarded mattress in Sleep Alone serves as a symbol of solidarity across sexual and racial difference in Malaysian society. While the mattress continues to serve as a collective memory of the Anwar Ibrahim incident for many Malaysians, Tsai’s creative appropriation of a discarded mattress into a symbol of solidarity powerfully reinserts humanity back into a homophobic society. From this perspective, what Tsai’s film offers

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is, to borrow Chela Sandoval’s term, an “oppositional consciousness,” which focuses less on the issue of identity than how social affinity that comes as a result of differences, otherness, and power relations can serve as a rallying point for resistance.

Conclusion Tsai left Malaysia for Taiwan in 1977 to pursue a college education and then a career in filmmaking. After 30 years of exile, he returned to his native land to make a film that touches upon the taboo issue of homosexuality and explores the lives of migrant workers and homeless people in Malaysia. As a sexually ambiguous, Malaysian-Chinese, art film director in Taiwan, Tsai and his films testify that immigration is not only about finding a new life through an assimilative process into the host country, but is also a continuous negotiation and reinvention of identities between two or more conflicting worlds. In addition to giving his film a beautiful and meditative ending, there is another reason Tsai uses Lee Hsiang-lan’s song. Growing up in Malaysia, Tsai is a big fan of Lee Hsiang-lan (aka Otaka Yoshiko), who was born to Japanese parents in Japaneseoccupied Fushun, China in 1920. She was a famous Japanese actress and singer in Hong Kong, China, and Japan during the 1940s and 1950s. Tsai summons Lee’s iconic, cross-racial and pan-East-Asian popularity to lend a voice to his own diasporic experience and to draw attention to the hybridity, flexibility, and interconnectedness among different races and cultures. Although people’s identities have become more and more hybridized and de-centered in the era of globalization, migrants are not free-floating nomads unmoored to specific places and identities. Rather, migrants are often confronted with the monumental task of going back and forth between several different cultures not only to relocate their identities but also to transform the spaces they voluntarily or involuntarily occupy. In Tsai’s films, encountering strangers or becoming a stranger is an essential and inescapable part of modern urban life, and it is this collective experience of living among strangers that creates a bond between his characters within an alienated and unjust society. However, such a bond is created not merely via a humanistic realignment, but also via a multitude of disconnections, fears, and slippages. Through his careful mise-en-scène, Tsai reveals his strangers to be those who share bodies, spaces, times, food, and water as a means of defiance against various

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social hierarchies. Tsai wants his audiences to observe the interconnectedness between their lives and those of others and to realize how similar their fears and pains are.

Notes 1 Cindy Patton and Benigno Sánchez-Eppler, Introduction to Queer Diasporas, edited by Cindy Patton and Benigno Sánchez-Eppler (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000), 2. 2 Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation.” Framework 36 (1989): 68–82; Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Rey Chow, Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007); and Gayatri Gopinath, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005). 3 “The World’s 40 Best Directors,” The Guardian, June 2005, http://film.guardian. co.uk/features/page/0,11456,1082823,00.html (accessed July 20, 2006). According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Tsai Ming-liang was ranked as #18 of the world 40 best directors in 2005. Only three other non-Western directors have higher ranking than him, and they are Abbas Kiarostami (#6), Miyazaki Hayao (#8) and Wong Kar-wai (#14). 4 Since his fourth feature The Hole, commissioned by French TV station La Sept Arte in 1998, Tsai has been remarkably successful in obtaining both Taiwanese government’s subsidy and foreign financial assistance. It is safe to say Tsai’s films have attracted more French than Taiwanese audiences. The first book on his oeuvre was actually written in French, published by Dis Voir in 1999. The book was later translated to Mandarin Chinese and English in 2001. What is more, Tsai received a distinguished medal of the Knight of Order of Arts and Letters from the French government in 2002. 5 Rather than representing Mozart’s own works, artistic director Peter Sellars commissioned completely new works from international artists in the fields of music and opera, architecture, visual arts, and film to use Mozart’s themes as both inspiration and a springboard for contemporary works reflecting on issues at the heart of this new century. The New Crowned Hope festival took place in Austria in November and December 2006. In addition to Tsai’s film, the other five commissioned films are Paz Encina’s Hamaca Paraguayan, Apichatpong Weerastehakul’s Syndromes and a Century, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Daratt, Bahman Ghobadi’s Half Moon, and Garin Hugroho’s Opera Jawa.

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6 Due to the Malay government’s discriminatory policy against Chinese education and the Taiwanese government’s effort to appeal to overseas Chinese communities by offering bonus points in the college entrance exam to students of overseas Chinese descent, Taiwan has long been a destination for higher education for many Malaysian Chinese students, especially those who graduated from Chinese high schools in Malaysia. In addition, the term “Malaysian Chinese” (rather than “Chinese Malaysian”) is the self-identification term used by people of Chinese descent in Malaysia. This term emerges from the country’s historical nation-building discourse where ethnic Chinese citizens politically asserted their claim of belonging to the new postcolonial nation. The state of Sarawak, where Tsai was born, is a multiethnic entity shaped by British colonialism, and it was incorporated within the independent Malaysian federation in 1965. It is one of the few states in Malaysia where the ethnic minority Chinese have both a strong political as well as economic presence. 7 Tsai actually wrote and directed his first film Rebels of the Neon God (1992) for Lee Kang-sheng whose acting career is almost exclusive to Tsai’s films. Lee’s other cinematic appearances include Lin Cheng-sheng’s A Drifting Life (1996) and Sweet Degeneration (1997), Ann Hui’s Ordinary Heroes (1999), and Wang Tung’s A Way We Go (2001) in which he plays the role of a social misfit and young outcast. With Tsai’s help, Lee directed his first film in 2003, The Missing, which won the New Currents Award at the Pusan International Film Festival. His second feature, Help Me Eros (2007) is inspired by and aimed at surpassing the graphic sex scenes in Tsai’s The Wayward Cloud (2005). 8 Chang Sung-sheng Yvonne, “The Terrorizer and the Great Divide in Contemporary Taiwan’s Cultural Development.” In Island on the Edge: Taiwan New Cinema and After, edited by Chris Berry and Feii Lu (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005), 23. 9 Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field (Cambridge, MA: Polity, 1996), 229. 10 Georg Simmel, “The Stranger.” In Georg Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms, edited by Donald N. Levine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 143. 11 Simmel, The Stranger, 143. 12 Dale S. McLemore, “Simmel’s ‘Stranger’: A Critique of the Concept,” The Pacific Sociological Review 13, 2 (1970): 86. 13 Simmel, The Stranger, 145. 14 Kurt Iveson, “Strangers in the Cosmopolis.” In Cosmopolitan Urbanism, edited by Jon Binnie et al. (London: Routledge, 2006), 72. 15 Zygmunt Bauman, Postmodernity and its Discontents (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 17. 16 Bauman, Postmodernity and its Discontents, 18.

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17 Zygmunt Bauman, “Modernity and Ambivalence.” In Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization, and Modernity, edited by Mike Featherstone (London: Sage Publications, 1990), 145–8. 18 Ulrich Beck, Democracy without Enemies, translated by Mark Ritter (Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 1998), 127–8. 19 Leonie Sandercock, Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities in the 21st Century (London: Continuum, 2003), 111. 20 Vijay Prashad, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connection and the Myth of Cultural Purity (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001), 97–125. 21 Julie Meyer, “The Stranger and the City.” In The American Journal of Sociology 56, 5 (1951): 476. 22 Although listed as “The Paralyzed Guy” in English, the character is actually comatose according to Tsai. Therefore, I will use “the comatose man” instead of the paralyzed guy to avoid confusion. Commissioned by the 2006 New Crowned Hope Festival that celebrated Mozart’s 250th birthday, the film’s only reference to Mozart’s music appears in this 90 seconds long take, ironically having a comatose man as Mozart’s sole audience. 23 Andrew Huang, “An Interview with Tsai Ming-liang.” Taiwan News, February 18, 2005, http://www.etaiwannews.com/Peoples/2005/02/18/1108699760.htm (accessed March 20, 2006). 24 The Wayward Cloud ends with one of the most shocking scenes in the history of Taiwanese cinema: after witnessing her boyfriend raping the unconscious Japanese porn actress for 5 minutes at a porn shoot, the female protagonist ends up having her boyfriend’s ejaculating penis forced into her mouth. 25 Malia Stivens, “Becoming Modern in Malaysia: Women at the End of the Twentieth Century.” In Women in Asia: Tradition, Modernity and Globalisation, edited by Louise Edwards and Mina Roces (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000), 18–20. 26 This scene echoes the scene of Hsiao-kang washing the beloved Ah-jung’s clothes in Vive L’Amour. Interestingly, this is also one of the seven scenes cut by the Malaysian censorship bureau. Showing one man washing another man’s underwear is not allowed in Malaysia. 27 Jay Weissberg, “Review of I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, dir. Tsai Ming-liang.” Variety, September 5, 2006, http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117931476. html?categoryid=31&cs=1 (accessed July 18, 2008). 28 Han Liang-lu, “Shei de heiyanquan” (Whose Dark Eye Circle Is It?). INK: Literary Monthly (May 2007): 150. 29 Almost all of Tsai films end with a scene of a protagonist crying. The most memorable one is probably the 5-minute crying scene of the female protagonist

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Cinematic Homecomings in Vive L’Amour. The extreme close-up of the comatose man’s face—and the emptiness of his gaze—is placed in sharp contrast to the solidarity of the three strangers who sleep directly above him. Furthermore, the film also implies that the whole story is no more than a dream of the comatose man for the film begins with him lying motionless in the bed and almost ends with him in the same position. Juan Ching-yueh, “Weilai shijie de yingxiang yuyanzhe” (The Cinematic Prophet of the Future). INK: Literary Monthly (April 2007): 141. Tsai’s original idea for the last scene was to show the three of them having sex. However, he decided at the last minute to have them simply sleep together on the old mattress. The scene marks the most peaceful ending of all of Tsai’s films. The film won the Peace Award at the 2006 Venice Film Festival. The half-constructed building where Rawang is assigned to pump the water out is an actual site located near Padu Jail. It is one of the construction projects that were left abandoned due to the Southeast Asian financial crisis in 1997. After Rawang and the homeless guy move into the abandoned building, the homeless guy squats one day at the side of the stagnant water that has collected at the bottom of the building, holding a stick as if he were fishing. A large butterfly comes and lands on his shoulder. Before long, Rawang comes and squats next to him. Through Tsai’s lens, the stagnant water and the abandoned building are magically transformed into a mythical jungle paradise for two outsiders. Han Liang-lu, “Shei de heiyanquan” (Whose Dark Eye Circle Is It?). INK: Literary Monthly (May 2007): 148. “Gay Ministers Barred, Malaysia Tells UK.” BBC News, November 1, 2001, http:// news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1632012.stm (accessed March 15, 2008).

Works cited Bauman, Zygmunt. “Modernity and Ambivalence.” In Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization, and Modernity, edited by Mike Featherstone. London: Sage Publications, 1990, 143–70. —. Postmodernity and its Discontents. New York: New York University Press, 1997. Beck, Ulrich. Democracy without Enemies, translated by Mark Ritter. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 1998. Bourdieu, Pierre. The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. Cambridge, MA: Polity, 1996. Chang, Sung-sheng Yvonne. “The Terrorizer and the Great Divide in Contemporary Taiwan’s Cultural Development.” In Island on the Edge: Taiwan New Cinema and

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After, edited by Chris Berry and Feii Lu. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005, 13–26. Chow, Rey. Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. “Gay Ministers Barred, Malaysia Tells UK.” BBC News. November 1, 2001, http://news. bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1632012.stm (accessed March 15, 2008). Gopinath, Gayatri. Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005. Hall, Stuart. “Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation.” Framework 36 (1989): 68–82. Han, Liang-lu. “Shei de heiyanquan” (Whose Dark Eye Circle Is It?). INK: Literary Monthly (May 2007): 147–52. Huang, Andrew. “An Interview with Tsai Ming-liang.” Taiwan News. February 18, 2005, http://www.etaiwannews.com/Peoples/2005/02/18/1108699760.htm (accessed March 20, 2006). Iveson, Kurt. “Strangers in the Cosmopolis.” In Cosmopolitan Urbanism, edited by Jon Binnie, Julian Holloway, Steve Millington and Craig Young. London: Routledge, 2006, 70–86. Joyard, Olivier, Jean-Pierre Rehm and Danièle Rivière. Tsai Ming-liang. Paris: Dis Voir, 1999. Juan, Ching-yueh. “Weilai shijie de yingxiang yuyanzhe” (The Cinematic Prophet of the Future). INK: Literary Monthly (April 2007): 141. McLemore, S. Dale. “Simmel’s ‘Stranger’: A Critique of the Concept.” The Pacific Sociological Review 13, 2 (1970): 86–94. Meyer, Julie. “The Stranger and the City.” The American Journal of Sociology 56, 5 (1951): 476–83. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. Patton, Cindy and Benigno Sánchez-Eppler, Introduction to Queer Diasporas, edited by Cindy Patton and Benigno Sánchez-Eppler. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000, 1–14. Prashad, Vijay. Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connection and the Myth of Cultural Purity. Boston: Beacon Press, 2001. Sandercock, Leonie. Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities in the 21st Century. London: Continuum, 2003. Simmel, Georg. “The Stranger.” In Georg Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms, edited by Donald N. Levine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971, 143–9. Stivens, Maila. “Becoming Modern in Malaysia: Women at the End of the Twentieth Century.” In Women in Asia: Tradition, Modernity and Globalisation, edited by

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Louise Edwards and Mina Roces. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000, 16–38. “The World’s 40 Best Directors.” The Guardian. June 2005. http://film.guardian.co.uk/ features/page/0,11456,1082823,00.html (accessed July 20, 2006). Weissberg, Jay. “Review of I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, dir. Tsai Ming-liang.” Variety. September 5, 2006, http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117931476. html?categoryid=31&cs=1 (accessed July 18, 2008).

14

A Moroccan Homecoming: The Fabulation of Family and Home in Izza Génini’s Retrouver Oulad Moumen Stefanie Van de Peer

Introduction Moroccan cinema is as old as cinema itself. The Lumière brothers and their cameramen visited North Africa in the late nineteenth century to capture the exotic beauty of the landscape. During the silent era and beyond, the Moroccan Arab was a familiar figure in popular orientalist film narratives. However, in spite of the exceptionally well-organized infrastructure left behind by the French, postcolonial Moroccan cinema developed slowly and timidly. During King Hassan II’s despotic rule (1961–99)—a period later referred to as “Les années de plomb” or Years of Lead—indigenous filmmakers often resorted to self-censorship to survive in the hostile climate. Censorship was widespread, and state-controlled production was limited to propaganda, educational, and didactic films. Coupled with a lack of funding, these conditions prompted many filmmakers to leave the country. Bowing to external (human rights issues) and internal (demographic changes) pressure, in the 1990s, Hassan II began the slow process of democratization. Upon his death in 1999, his son Mohammed VI succeeded him. The young king’s understanding of the role of the arts in constructing national identity led to increased artistic freedom. The government-funded Centre Cinématographique de Maroc (CCM) was placed under new leadership whose international ambitions secured the country’s position on the postcolonial francophone film map.1 Since the watershed of the 1990s, two distinct tendencies can be identified in Moroccan cinema, both directly related to Morocco’s contemporary cultural

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identity as a globalizing country. First, the CCM decreed that in order to raise money to invest in Moroccan cinema, it was necessary to attract foreign production to Morocco. The country was actively marketed for its potential as the setting for epic international films, for example, The Sheltering Sky (dir. Bertolucci 1990), Gladiator (dir. Scott 2000), and The Kingdom of Heaven (dir. Scott 2005). As it had been in colonial times, Morocco became once again attractive to foreign filmmakers on account of its cheap labor, established infrastructure, and dramatic landscapes. At the same time as the CCM focused on attracting foreign investment, it also actively encouraged exiled Moroccan filmmakers to return home after three decades of oppression. Central to the CCM’s campaign was the annual Festival national du Film de Tanger. Although first held in 1982, the Festival’s organization was sporadic until the mid-1990s. With the CCM’s backing, the Festival was reenvisioned as showcase for Moroccan creativity, reflecting a new understanding of the importance of national and transnational productions in forging a new modern national identity. In contrast to the repressive cultural policies of the early Hassan II government, which enforced a false vision of linguistic, ethnic, and religious unity, Morocco’s new openness to diversity under the governments of later Hassan II and Mohammed VI encouraged more self-reflexive productions. Framing the 1994 film Retrouver Oulad Moumen by Izza Génini within this broader impulse to encourage cross-pollination and exchange between indigenous and diasporic Moroccan filmmakers, and to bring Moroccans abroad home, this chapter examines homecoming and its causes and consequences for a French-Moroccan filmmaker of Jewish heritage. Génini began her career making documentaries in France in the early 1980s before returning home to Morocco toward the end of Hassan II’s reign. Retrouver Oulad Moumen documents this initial return to her homeland and explores the reasons behind her longing for home. This chapter argues that Génini’s privileged position as a transnational French-Moroccan filmmaker precludes her from critically engaging with Morocco and its political and social struggles. Instead, her understanding of the “homeland” is distorted through the prism of idealization and nostalgia for an imagined past that focuses on family, not place. While an understanding of family as home is certainly valid, the title of the film suggests an emphasis on place: her home village of Oulad Moumen. While Génini’s film can be understood within the aesthetics and socio-political dynamics of cultural globalization—where she, like many diasporic filmmakers, returns to Morocco to revisit her roots—her

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sentimental understanding of Morocco reduces the country to a film set rather than a complex society with its own internal struggles. Her nostalgia clouds a realistic portrayal of Oulad Moumen, which she presents as a fairytale, Edenic setting for a series for family portraits. In emphasizing the returnees, rather than the place of return, she reveals both a fabulated family and fabulated place. Génini’s preference for constructing an imaginary Morocco over its political reality marks her as a diasporic filmmaker, despite her physical homecoming. As Hamid Naficy explains, the exilic filmmaker dreams of a heroic return home. She has the privilege of knowing the interstices of other cultures as well as her own and therefore constructs a homeland that can be presented to other exiles.2 Being a French-Moroccan of Jewish heritage, Génini’s double or even triple consciousness further complicates the identification of her homeland: there is a gap between the actual home (France) and the imagined homeland (the Jewish enclave in Oulad Moumen). Naficy explains that every journey for an exile is a return home: “Return occupies a primary place in the minds of the exiles and a disproportionate amount of space in their films, for it is the dream of a glorious homecoming that structures exile.”3 This disproportionate amount of space is reflected in the filmmaker’s dynamism and border crossing, which have de-territorialized the adopted home, while her journey back into time re-territorializes not the home, but the idealized concept of homeland. This happens through a physical journey, accented by melancholic memories. Génini has an obsession with territory and a preoccupation with place. All her films exclusively deal with Morocco’s past, its traditions, and her personal memories of this (constructed) country. The portrayal of Oulad Moumen in this film however suggests a boundless, timeless homeland where she is determined to present her family with its literal and metaphorical roots. In her exploration of transnational North African filmmakers, Patricia Pisters shows how the family is central to the conceptualization of the homeland. She explains that the Maghrebi-French accented filmmaker performs an individual and/or collective identity in largely autobiographical narratives. The family unit and its internal power structures act as the constructed home. In other words, in accented film, identity is performed and the family embodies a “fabulation of love” that holds the idea of the homeland in place.4 The imagined homeland becomes an enacted space, and the returned family—in enacting its love—is given the opportunity to construct an idealized, temporary, hybrid place called “home.” However, as Naficy observes, “the return to the homeland for

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the exiles does not necessarily create closure or a home.”5 This chapter shows how Génini’s return to her homeland is essentially a documentary performance, with an enacted glorious homecoming for the whole family centered on Génini’s diasporic persona. Via a look at the Moroccan censor’s issues with the representation of the country’s politics, and a brief overview of the absence and presence of women in Moroccan cinema, this chapter engages with a nostalgic documentary film in which the director’s homecoming is part of a trajectory that delineates a perpetual journey between the Moroccan home of her youth and the adopted home in France.

Moroccan cinema and censorship Under Hassan II, Moroccan nationalism was defined in terms of loyalty to both the king and Islam. Hassan’s dictatorial tendencies became obvious in the 1960s, as social unrest, economic problems and student riots in Casablanca in 1965 led him to declare a state of emergency. Throughout les années de plomb, Hassan’s regime took harsh measures against dissidents and was responsible for forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and the imprisonment of political opponents. Consolidating its power, in 1965, Hassan’s government seized control of the media. The Ministry of Information gained the right to suspend and close newspapers, film production was limited and training and support for aspiring filmmakers largely unavailable. Artists supporting revolutionary ideas such as Marxism (or any other antimonarchical movements) were arrested, tortured, and sometimes killed during these Years of Lead. Moroccan filmmakers were compelled to either apprentice themselves to foreign productions, or to flee the country, becoming part of the Beur Cinema movement.6 The role of France in contributing to Moroccan cinema cannot be ignored: Beur cinema and transnational co-productions continue to dominate European understanding of Maghrebi cinema. The activities of Moroccan filmmakers abroad stood in stark contrast to indigenous filmmaking in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. In Hassan II’s Morocco, the only acceptable films were documentaries with propagandistic or educational tendencies. Films that attempted to show aspects of contemporary reality and departed from the regime’s official message were boycotted because according to state officials, poverty, underdevelopment, and even cultural diversity did not exist in Morocco.7 As the CCM remained the only body

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for investment, self-censorship was the norm among filmmakers because of the implicit knowledge that they would not receive funding for projects that departed from the regime’s message. Even when Souheil Benbarka, a filmmaker himself, became the head of the CCM in 1986, the situation failed to improve. Censorship was imposed inconsistently and production money was divided unfairly: epic films celebrating Morocco’s rule and history or documentaries instructing people on their duties were privileged for funding over projects that demonstrated creative inventiveness or an impulse toward realism. Benbarka’s main goal was to establish Morocco as a center for foreign film production, making the country’s beauty and mystery strong selling points. Government policy focused on film’s utility as a tool for influencing perceptions of the newly formed nation and supporting its illusionary uniform national identity. By investing only in films that confirmed this vision of Morocco, the CCM limited itself to a meager cinematic output.

New Moroccan cinema in the 1990s The past two decades of Moroccan cinema have been defined by the movement of diasporic filmmakers to and from Morocco and by the idea of homeland that is a central theme of their work. The end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s proved to be a transformative period in Morocco. Hassan II took the first steps toward more transparent governance: in 1993 a new Ministry of Human Rights was formed, and that same year, Morocco endorsed the United Nations Convention against Torture. The role of the CCM evolved in keeping with this. Jamal Bahmad explains how the 1995 National Film Festival in Tangier was a watershed event in Moroccan cinema: “New directors from the diaspora, second-generation Moroccan immigrants in Europe in the majority, were invited to screen their short films in the festival. The new cineastes met their old compatriots, discussions flourished about the state of national cinema, and the Moroccan Cinema Centre promised to cast the net of its funding recipients wider to incorporate the new filmmakers.”8 Also in 1995, a cinemathèque or national film archive was established, with the aim of conserving the nation’s cinematic patrimony and acquiring new titles in world cinema.9 Moreover, filmmakers discovered, through the influx of Moroccans from abroad, the potential of international co-productions as a way through which to secure new (independent) funds. These factors, together with a growing domestic audience,

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revealed the potential for filmmakers of Moroccan descent to return to Morocco and produce and exhibit films there. This sparked a collective return home for Moroccan filmmakers. Since the early 1990s, exiled and diasporic Moroccan filmmakers started looking back at Morocco for their cultural identity. This inward gaze—replacing an outlook steadily fixed on Europe—is a signature of this new artistic process. Moroccan cities are foregrounded both visually and in terms of film narrative; Casablanca and Marrakech are prominent influences on the spatial, social, and political context of many recent films. An urban, neo-liberal reality is now the core of a growing cultural consciousness and development. Most importantly, filmmakers sought to establish a more intimate relationship with an urban, young Moroccan audience, resulting in more accessible films anchored in a recognizable Moroccan reality mixed with elements of popular cinema. Three tendencies sum up recent developments in Moroccan cinema: first, the CCM’s marketing priorities attracted international co-productions as well as Moroccans living abroad for location shooting; second, a loosening of censorship and gradual democratization encouraged exilic filmmakers to return to their homeland; and third, the need of a newly modern country to construct its national identity through a cinemathèque and a reinvigorated national film festival, brought French-Moroccan filmmakers back on their own initiative. However, it is possible that, as Valerie Orlando rightly points out, films by “Moroccans staying abroad are more apt to challenge the sociocultural mores of Morocco than those made by filmmakers who prefer to stay at home, facing intense scrutiny from government officials and traditional audiences.”10 This question confirms the likelihood that filmmakers were encouraged to return home on the one hand to inject a new creativity into a stale Moroccan industry, and on the other hand, perhaps to ensure some control over the representation of Morocco abroad. Looking at the content of the films created in the context of the cinematic return to Morocco, Will Higbee observes that during the last couple of decades, journey narratives have prevailed in French-Maghrebi cinema. Of these journey films, the most significant is the return film. The return to the homeland has become a trope in Beur cinema. Where previously the homeland had been delegated to the purely imaginary dream of return, it was now explored in more detail, not necessarily by the first generation of emigrants, but by their children and grandchildren, whose relationship with the Maghreb was increasingly complex. Examples of these films are Cheb (1991) by Rachid Bouchareb and

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Salut Cousin (1996) by Merzak Allouache, or Le Grand Voyage (2004) by Ismaël Ferroukhi and Tenja (2004) by Hassan Legzouli. This second or third generation of Moroccans selectively inherited their parents’ culture and tradition, and fragments of their language.11 The narrative of return, Higbee explains, and the longing for a cultural reconnection it expresses, was estranging to these younger generations, and broader socio-political issues needed to be addressed. In these return narratives, identity formation is contingent, unstable, and in a constant process of becoming. It is only the occasional film that succeeds in addressing the political issues of the time critically. The idea of a permanent return is not entertained but rejected, even though identity is often re-grounded in contemporary Maghrebi culture. While the physical return is apparent in the narrative structure and plotlines, it is the characters’ psychological return that remains difficult to complete. Most cinematic return journeys are either unfinished or inadequate. Questions thus remain with regard to the definitions of identity, belonging, and home, and the time and space they get allotted.12 A reconnection is dependent on personal circumstances and experiences. In some films, the hybridity of newly formed migratory identities is foregrounded, resulting in a highly complex exchange between French and Maghrebi cultures within the personalities of the protagonists. As Pisters contends, the complexity of the family and the fabulation of love inherent to that familial structure, influence the returnee’s constructed notion of what and where the homeland is exactly. The new impulse toward journey motifs and plotlines, as well as the increased consideration for the audience’s expectations, has resulted in a boost in production along with improved critical and commercial success. Morocco now produces an official average of 20 films each year. At international film festivals such as Marrakesh, Moroccan films feature prominently (in 2010, 20 Moroccan films from different eras were screened in a special edition), while the Tangier National Film Festival continues to thrive. Among the Moroccan filmmakers who have experienced a degree of global recognition are Faouzi Bensaidi (What a Wonderful World, 2007), Souad El Bouhati (Française, 2008), and Leila Kilani (Tangers, le Rève des Brûleurs, 2003; Nos Lieux Interdits, 2008; and Sur la Planche, 2012), whose films have all won major prizes. And while these films indeed portray Morocco as a neo-liberal country with space for modern young people, they also problematize Morocco as a permanent home. Many of these filmmakers are based in France and benefit from French support in funding their films, but identify themselves distinctly as Moroccan

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filmmakers, and Morocco strongly claims them as such in turn. This continued pull-push dynamic between attraction and escape, and the constant movement Morocco’s diasporic filmmaking community points to the complex context of the so-called New Moroccan Cinema and its obsession with the contested spaces of the homeland.

Moroccan women and documentary The history of cinema in Morocco delineates the struggle with national and cultural identity, mainly due to the country’s colonial experience as a Protectorate of France and Spain, but also due to post-colonial circumstances dependent on the monarchy and religion. Its position as a crossroads nation has perpetuated this duality of identity: Morocco occupies a unique position between the Arab World, Africa, and Europe and as such, its national identity has never been settled or homogeneous. This developing transcultural identity is finding full expression in the country’s cinema; while for most of the twentieth century, Morocco had by far the lowest film production levels in the Maghreb, since the late 1990s, production levels have surged as Moroccan cinema found its domestic audience, ushering in a true revolution in filmmaking. Reflecting the country’s struggles with conflicting visions of its national identity, the representation and presence of women in the Moroccan film industry has been unbalanced, to say the least. Very few women had any significant role in Moroccan cinema until the 1970s. In that decade, one young woman, Farida Bourquia, joined the filmmaking scene through a variety of roles in administration and production (scriptwriter, assistant director, production manager). Bourquia is especially prolific as a television producer. In 1975, the UN International Year of Women, she created a groundbreaking television documentary series about women in Morocco. In 1988, Farida Benlyazid, following a successful career as a screenwriter, became the first Moroccan woman to direct her own feature film: Une porte sur le ciel (A Door to the Sky). These two women now dominate the documentary scene in Morocco, with Benlyazid having produced CasaNayda and Bourquia directed Deux Femmes sur la Route (Two Women on the Road), both in 2007. In 2003, Leila Kilani joined their ranks with her significant and successful documentaries confronting political and economic inequalities. Her prize-winning documentary oeuvre is representative of the urban, realist trend in recent Moroccan cinema.

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Belyazid, Bourquia, and Kilani continue to form a confident part of Moroccan filmmaking, whereas Génini, with her didactic ethnographic films, stands out as an exilic filmmaker. While Génini fits in with the tendencies of documentary in the 1980s and early 1990s to inform authoritatively through a clear linear structure and a didactic message, her films also, unusually, emphasize Morocco’s multicultural heritage through music and ritual performances. As the first Moroccan woman dedicated consistently to independent documentary making, she celebrates her own transnational identity in her films, which are heavily influenced by a subjective point of view. When Génini started to make films, Moroccan cinema was undergoing two significant developments. First, a new tendency toward realism connected audiences more directly with the subjects in the films, and second, representations of women became more diverse as women filmmakers took up the camera. In addition, filmmakers from abroad were concurrently injecting the Moroccan film industry with new life. While documentary production was certainly not encouraged by the CCM, Génini’s documentaries, mostly nostalgic, at first sight fit in perfectly with these trends. However, she did not cross any boundaries that were drawn by the censorship board. In an interview, she points out that her documentaries were not subject to censorship, as her choice of subjects never criticized the king, Islam, or the government. She said: My relationship with the CCM has existed for several decades, without any problems. For years I even was their representative in Paris. With censorship, you have to keep in mind the subject matter of my documentaries; I have never been confronted with it. Moreover, Morocco has since long adopted the principle of freedom of expression, on the level of press as well as on the level of art. If one does not touch HM the King or Islam one is safe.13

This quotation needs to be put into context, as freedom of expression has not always been as clearly protected as Génini claims. Documentaries in the 1990s remained primarily occupied with national development issues, which through their local focus were meant to encourage national unity. Within these constraints, Génini was making films that, while not overtly going against the grain, certainly surprised by their topic: intercultural exchange and the multicultural heritage of Berbers, Jews, and Arabs in Southern Morocco, especially as reflected in the diversity of Moroccan music. This multiculturalism, however, is often taken as a given instead of being explored critically. Her approach favors music above all else: she is vehemently opposed to sociological or ethnographic documentaries

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and claims her films are not intended to be historical or anthropological. She paints a picture of a Moroccan utopia, where there is peace between different religious denominations, a peace facilitated by music. She films from a subjective point of view, and thus overlooks more pressing socio-political issues that are nevertheless subliminally present in the background in her films. Génini takes a creative and intuitive approach to the documentary: in Ecrans d’Afrique she explains that the reason she has chosen to make documentaries instead of fiction films, is that: I thought that a documentary would be easier than embarking on a full-length feature film. But coming face to face with reality, I discovered the real difficulties of documentaries that are very specific. . . . You are in a much livelier situation of creation than with fiction. Documentaries depend far more on creation than on preparation. These difficulties are stimulating and there are many moments of gratification: something extraordinary can happen, better than anything you had dreamt of.14

Génini’s discovery of the opportunities for creative thinking and spontaneous development provided by the documentary encouraged her to explore this form more completely. She has not made a fiction film yet. In another interview in Ecrans d’Afrique, she says: I like documentaries. It is a form that I appreciate, as it lets you discover things and people in a very “physical” way. The heritage of Black Africa and of the Maghreb is not well known and a great many documentaries should be made. There is no lack of subjects or ideas. The documentary is above all an irreplaceable school. The impossibility to foresee events and the limits of writing, make filming an adventure where the quota of risk cannot be calculated. This situation of “danger” requires suppleness and spontaneity from the filmmaker and makes inventiveness all the more essential at the editing stage but, in return, offers fantastic opportunities for creation.15

These interviews confirm that Génini’s approach to documentary is didactic, and largely anthropological, in spite of her claims that they are not. Born in 1942 in Casablanca, Génini emigrated in 1960 to France, where she studied literature at the Sorbonne University and became involved in festivals and the exhibition of films. In 1973, she set up SOGEAV, a distribution company (renamed OHRA in 1987 when she made her first film) devoted entirely to the distribution of francophone films throughout Africa. She mainly distributed music films and documentaries, and later focused on bringing African films to

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the attention of European audiences. The reason she did this is simple: as she acknowledges, distribution is the weakest link in the African and Arab film industry. It is important for Génini not only to see her own films screened inside as well as outside of Morocco, but also to distribute other directors’ films more widely. Génini arrived at filmmaking through producing Transes by Ahmed Al Maanouni in 1981. Transes is a film about Nass El Ghiwane, a popular Moroccan folk rock band at the time, and marks Génini’s initial steps in her reappraisal of her home country and exploration of her musical inheritance. During the French Protectorate, Génini explains, many educated Moroccans, including herself, turned their backs on their own culture, preferring to instead direct their gaze toward France. “Like others in my generation I rejected Moroccan culture because I thought it was inferior to the French. Our dreams of emancipation were directed towards the West.”16 When she finally started to look back at Morocco, she experienced an emotional reconnection with the country and especially its musical heritage. This personal itinerary has continued to define her filmmaking practice.17 Génini has an impressive filmography. She has made over 20 films, almost all dealing with Moroccan music and its multicultural origins, in films such as Aita (1987), 10 or so short films between 1987 and 1994, Retrouver Oulad Moumen (1994), Pour le plaisir des yeux (1997), and La Nûba d’Or et de lumière (2007). The majority of her documentaries deal with female performers and the very particular role these performers take up in the wider societal context. In Retrouver Oulad Moumen, Génini explores the desire to return to her origins and rediscover the Morocco her parents had left behind when she was still young. As a part of the semi-first generation of émigrés, her relationship to her homeland is fraught with inconsistencies. Her Jewish heritage adds to the complex identification of Morocco and herself in her films. Retrouver Oulad Moumen is an attempt to reinstate a Jewish-Muslim heritage into the tradition of music, song, and dance in Morocco. However, as will be argued further on, it remains a family portrait that does not engage with the political consequences of their migratory trajectory inherent to the place Oulad Moumen.

Retrouver Oulad Moumen Retrouver Oulad Moumen traces Genini’s journey back to Oulad Moumen, the village south of Marrakesh where her parents, Habiba and Yossef Edery, started

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their family in the 1920s. Génini is the youngest of the nine Edery children. In the film, she returns to Morocco for the first time since leaving the country at the age of 18. The journey motif frames an idealized homecoming. On the road, she speaks to Moroccans of all strata of society, and emphasizes the hospitality of her fellow countrymen. The film has a clear purpose: at the end of her journey, having arrived in Oulad Moumen, she organizes a reunion designed to bring her extended, geographically dispersed family back to their village of origin. At this point, Retrouver Oulad Moumen retraces the journey away from Oulad Moumen, turning the film into a saga of migration. Génini shows an ecstatic family reunion, giving both a personal view of an itinerant family’s history and a sentimental picture of an imagined Jewish-Arab-Berber coexistence in Oulad Moumen. Retrouver Oulad Moumen deals with a potentially controversial topic, as in depicting her family’s migratory trajectory; it automatically raises the question of why emigration was so prevalent among Moroccan Jews. Génini skirts the issue, however, making no effort to engage with the politics of place, or to explore the reasons behind Jewish emigration, such as increased Arabization, Islamization, and the despotism of Hassan II. However, in choosing to ignore the broader political and social dimensions of the personal story of the Génini family, Retrouver Oulad Moumen is better able to tailor itself to other developments in Moroccan cinema of the 1990s. In calling attention to the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity, along with its tradition of hospitality, the film’s positive representation of Morocco supports the government’s desire to revamp the country’s image through its cultural policy and productions. Likewise, its emphasis on the theme of homecoming corresponds with the CCM’s campaign designed to encourage young Moroccan artists living abroad to return home. In reference to fiction films, Daniela Berghahn identifies several characteristics of cinematic homecomings that parallel Génini’s aesthetic politics in her documentary. Berghahn sees three possible results of homecoming: it can act as salvation, as an ominous utopia, and as purgatory or redemption. Within these three categories, utopia, nostalgia, and fantasy feature to different degrees. Employing the concept of German heimweh or homesickness, Berghahn seeks to explain several questionable attitudes toward the homeland, and the struggle with coming to terms with the reality of place.18 In Génini’s documentary, there are obvious elements of nostalgia, as she creates an Edenic utopia in Oulad Moumen, site of the reunion of her dispersed family. In Retrouver Oulad Moumen, the voice-over—identified as belonging to her mother, fictionalized

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as a young woman—explicitly states “something told me that we would never rediscover that way of living.” The melancholy inherent to this statement goes hand in hand with the assertion that because Izza is the youngest of the family, she will have the most tentative relationship with Morocco. Nevertheless, she is the one who goes back to explore the country’s traditions and her own related past. She returns to her roots, almost literally, as she searches for the ruins of the home where she was born between the olive tree roots in Oulad Moumen. The film shows her wish to reconstruct a past for her family, with roots in Oulad Moumen and a Jewish-Muslim community. With this comes the presumption that she will be enabled, through concrete place and a fabulated familial love, to redefine herself. This is a utopian hope, and the idea of the home as a place where salvation will be enacted, remains unchallenged in the film. In fact, the place Oulad Moumen remains vaguely situated. In Génini’s search for the traditions of Jewish songs and dances, she ignores contemporary Oulad Moumen; the celebrations of past traditions obscure any subtle references to contemporary politics and social situations. From the first few minutes of the film, Génini puts herself centrally in the frame. A slow-motion, low-resolution, soft-focus sequence shows a group of people getting ready to have their picture taken. Hazy colors and contours establish the film’s melancholic tone. This self-reflexive aspect of the first few sequences continues throughout the film: the source material Génini uses is made up of photographs (sepia or black and white) and archival footage, home videos, and old family pictures. In her fictionalized voice-over, Génini’s mother tells the story of the family’s migration; this narrative is interspersed with recordings of Génini’s father’s voice recounting old stories and excerpts from the Torah. Invoking her parents in this way makes the tone of the story ever more nostalgic, as the mother mentions that she misses her children and grandchildren who live far away from her, and the father speaks from beyond the grave. The sepia color and the melancholic voice-overs extend the sentimental mood for the rest of the film. Génini’s family exemplifies diaspora. Her brothers and sisters moved to Marrakesh, to Casablanca, to Boucheron (now El Ghara), and eventually to Paris. Some continued their travels to the United States, Mexico, and Martinique. In the family portrait, they form a large group, with many members left unidentified. As a whole, they are a jovial, loud, celebratory audience. As individuals, they do not receive any attention, or any agency. The only people that benefit from that privilege are Génini herself, and her sisters. In some of her interviews, Génini

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lays out the intimate stories of her sisters’ lives. The extended family, while present visually, is ignored aurally. While Génini’s journey invoking aspects of the road movie, Retrouver Oulad Moumen subverts the genre in that the road movie usually depicts a journey away from home in search of unknown adventures, not toward the home. Here, the homeland encapsulates adventure and the unfamiliar. In order to make her journey more familiar and comprehensible, Génini often enters the frame and gets close to family members and old friends. The bond between them is emotional and intimate. She joins in the family routines when people are singing, talking, eating. The whole film has a very intimate feel, and the subjective approach adds a melancholic familiarity to her exploration of and refamiliarization with Morocco. As a tourist, an explorer, Génini remains an outsider to Moroccan society, and it is precisely this status that facilitates identification on the part of the spectator. On the one hand, Génini’s easy familiarity with the characters she meets encourages a sense of involvement; on the other hand, the film’s form makes it clear that the spectator is not a member of the family. This duality is illustrated in the scene of the family portrait. Génini instructs her family members on where to stand, when to smile, and whether to put their arms around one another’s shoulders. She positions herself in the middle. The spectator is positioned as the outsider, the owner of the gaze. In an interview Génini reveals her own surprise at seeing her family members reconnect with their past. She says: One day in March 1992, I took up the challenge of trying to reunite my scattered relatives back in Oulad Moumen, south of Marrakech, the place where my parents had first founded the family. It was as if this return to the past caused the intervening years to melt away. And yet there they were, those years, in the accounts of our Arab friends and neighbors, in the historical and family archives, those rare and precious chronicles of life shared by the Judeo-Arabic Berber culture of Morocco. . . . They were also present in the daily life of my family, which had started out from a small olive farm in south Morocco and then, through the destinies of nine children over two or three generations, had portrayed the main phases of human migration, starting from an extremely tight-knit regional existence through to a world-wide dissemination, from the knowledge of a single dialect-based language (Arabic) to a colorful multilingualism.19

But this reconnection with utopia, this Garden of Eden moment, is short-lived and the repetition of migration is certain: the families will once again spread to the far corners of the world.

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Throughout the film people emphasize the closeness of the family, in spite of the fact that they all live in separate parts of the world. Oulad Moumen is a “revelation” for all of them and Génini emphasizes the familiarity they all feel with the olive groves and the surroundings. Yet there are only ruins left of the house built by her parents, and in fact, the whole village has been wiped off the face of the earth. This, again, counts for the lack of engagement with place and a turn toward the family as “home.” They express their joy at the rediscovery of these ruins, but have their individual picnics under separate olive trees, speaking in a multitude of languages, revealing a lack of real family togetherness. The illusion of being reunited is only alive during the slow motion, soft focus depiction of taking the family portrait photograph. While the transnational nature of a migrating, diasporic people is illustrated on a personal level, it also becomes clear that this Edenic space is a momentary utopian construction, a nonexistent home that is demolished and of which nothing remains. Their unity is a fabulation. Génini clearly dreamed of what Naficy calls a “glorious homecoming” that offered her the opportunity to restructure her own and her family’s scattered identity.20 Génini sees her homecoming to Oulad Moumen purely as a celebration, a “salvation” as Berghahn says. The film is steeped in nostalgia and melancholia, with the utopia of a peaceful and happy childhood in a place where all religions are said to have existed side by side. While this is undoubtedly so historically, it is no longer the case, and this most interesting of issues is left untouched, conveniently, as if ignorance will make the harsh reality of contemporary life more bearable. Through the voice of her imagined mother, Génini’s very personal family film imagines the homeland as a “utopian, pre-lapsarian chronotope of the homeland, uncontaminated by contemporary fact.”21 While Retrouver Oulad Moumen was not appropriate for the international festival circuit, its relative success enabled the filmmaker to continue to produce her own films. The film was screened at the Institut Français in Marrakech, and won the main prize at Festival du Film d’Histoire in 1995 in France. Génini was also nominated for the 2009 Khmisa-Lesieur prize for her achievements in film and for promoting the image of a diverse and hospitable Morocco.

Conclusion Génini’s cinematic homecoming has been a fragmented, interrupted, intermittent experience, reflected throughout her whole oeuvre. In her latest film, La Nûba

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d’Or et de Lumière (2007), for example, she returns to Morocco and its tradition of the Nûba music compositions, typical of the Berber regions in Morocco and Algeria. Her devotion to the traditions of musical Morocco illustrates her insistence on the country’s cultural diversity. Génini’s emotional involvement in the films and with the subjects she approaches reflects her personal and subjective (re-)discovery of the Morocco of her youth. Hers is an entirely nostalgic look at Morocco, as she emphasizes the positive aspects of intercultural exchange through music, geographical diversity, and tolerance but ignores the political dimensions of contemporary culture in Morocco. Génini insists that her style avoids ethnography and instead underscores the creative process and the intuitive approach to her culture and environment. Génini is part of a larger constituency of Moroccan filmmakers that have accepted a hyphenated identity and a multiple consciousness. Being an integral part of the transnational community of Moroccan filmmakers then, she exemplifies the obsession with the homeland, and the inability to return permanently. Her double nationality, as is the case for so many North African filmmakers residing in France, is a constant reminder of the attraction of and anxiety for the homeland, and the difficulty of identifying where it is located. Through the fabulation of love, family, and home, Génini attempts to identify herself as Moroccan and French and Jewish. This transnational knowledge is obvious: being an outsider, she can see and reveal that Morocco is a complex, diverse nation, but as an insider, she also longs for the clarity of a unified, imagined past. Her transnationality enables her to accept Morocco’s real heterogeneity as well as its constructed homogeneity, all pieces in a mosaic that is only truly understood when observed from a relative distance.

Notes 1 I would like to express my gratitude to Rebecca Prime, Brian Jacobson, and Jamal Bahmad for their reading and feedback. Discussions with them made this chapter a great pleasure to write. 2 Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 222. 3 Ibid., 229.

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4 Patricia Pisters, “Micropolitics of the Migrant family in Accented Cinema: Love and Creativity in Empire.” In Shooting the Family: Transnational Media and Intercultural Values, edited by P. Pisters and W. Staat (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005), 209. 5 Naficy, 230. 6 “Beur” is the terminology used for people of Maghrebi descent in France, and in particular in the Parisian suburbs. The term is derived from urban back slang, in which “Arabe” becomes “Beur”. For more on this phenomenon, see Peter Bloom, “Beur Cinema and the Politics of Location: French Immigration Politics and the Naming of a Film Movement.” In Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality, and Transnational Media, edited by Ella Shohat, and Robert Stam (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003). Also see: Carrie Tarr, Reframing Difference: Beur and Banlieue Filmmaking in France (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005). 7 Sandra G. Carter, What Moroccan Cinema? A Historical and Critical Study, 1956-2006 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009), 121. 8 Jamal Bahmad, “Casablanca Unbound. The New Urban Cinema in Morocco.” Francosphères 2, 1 (2013): 77. 9 Carter, 202. 10 Valerie Orlando, Screening Morocco: Contemporary Depictions in Film of a Changing Society (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2011), xvi. 11 Will Higbee, “‘Et si on allait en Algérie?’ Home, Displacement, and the Myth of Return in Recent Journey Films by Maghrebi-French and North African Émigré Directors.” In Screening Integration: Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France, edited by S. Durmelat and V. Swamy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011), 61. 12 Ibid., 71. 13 Stefanie Van de Peer, “Interviews with Izza Genini.” Unpublished personal interviews, February 18, 2011. 14 Thérèse-Marie Deffontaines, “De la musique avant toute chose.” Ecrans d’Afrique 5–6, 3–4 (1993): 9. 15 Ibid., 15. 16 Rebecca Hillauer, Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmmakers (Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 2005), 349. 17 In 2007, Transes proved to be an important film for more than just Izza Génini and the Moroccan fans of Nass El Ghiwane: Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Fund restored the film and gave it a new life almost 30 years after it was made. 18 Daniela Berghahn, “No Place Like Home? Or impossible homecomings in the films of Fatih Akin.” New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 4, 3 (2006): 150.

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19 Portail du Film Documentaire, “Retrouver Oulad Moumen. Un Film de Izza Génini.” Film-documentaire.fr, http://www.film-documentaire.fr/Retrouver_ Oulad_Moumen.html,film,1249 (accessed April 26, 2011). 20 Naficy, 222. 21 Berghahn, 150.

Works cited Bahmad, Jamal. “Casablanca Unbound: The New Urban Cinema in Morocco.” Francosphères 2, 1 (2013): 73–85. Berghahn, Daniela. “No Place Like Home? Or impossible homecomings in the films of Fatih Akin.” New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 4, 3 (2006): 141–57. Carter, Sandra G. What Moroccan Cinema? A Historical and Critical Study, 1956-2006. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009. Deffontaines, Thérèse-Marie. “De la musique avant toute chose.” Ecrans d’Afrique 5–6, 3–4 (1993): 8–15. Higbee, Will. “ ‘Et si on allait en Algérie?’ Home, Displacement, and the Myth of Return in Recent Journey Films by Maghrebi-French and North African Émigré Directors.” In Screening Integration: Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France, edited by S. Durmelat and V. Swamy. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011, 58–76. Hillauer, R. Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmmakers. Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 2005. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. Orlando, Valerie. Screening Morocco: Contemporary Depictions in Film of a Changing Society. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2011. Pisters, Patricia. “Micropolitics of the Migrant family in Accented Cinema: Love and Creativity in Empire.” In Shooting the Family: Transnational Media and Intercultural Values, edited by P. Pisters and W. Staat. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005, 197–212. Portail du Film Documentaire. “Retrouver Oulad Moumen. Un Film de Izza Génini.” Film-documentaire.fr, http://www.film-documentaire.fr/Retrouver_Oulad_Moumen. html,film,1249 (accessed April 26, 2011). Van de Peer, Stefanie. “Interviews with Izza Genini.” Unpublished personal interviews. February 18, 2011.

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Zero Degrees of Separation: Post-Exilic Return in Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies Claudia Kotte

In a country of immigration and an officially multicultural society such as Canada, it is surprising that images of immigrants rarely figure in the collective imagination of its largely Francophone province Quebec. This lack of visibility is particularly conspicuous in Quebec cinema, a field of production that has intrigued film scholars and audiences alike. Despite the small size of its domestic market, Quebec films account for a surprisingly high percentage of Canada’s total box office and are generally considered a national cinema in themselves because of their distinct institutional and cultural development.1 If Quebec’s Haitian, Maghrebin and other ethnic communities gained a certain presence in documentaries in the 1980s, the multiethnic character of contemporary Quebec society has until recently been mostly absent in its feature films. When the Anglophone Quebecois film director Jacob Tierney, in July 2010, declared in a newspaper interview that the Quebec film scene ignored both Anglophones and immigrants, he raised the ire of more than a few Quebecois.2 In Tierney’s opinion, Quebec cinema was too preoccupied with the past, too nostalgic and navel-gazing and did not reflect Canadian society in its ethnic, religious, and sexual diversity. Quebecois film critics were outraged and accused Tierney of “Quebec bashing”; the Montreal daily La Presse eagerly provided a guide to Quebec cinema, which unintentionally proved Tierney’s point by confirming the absence of non-Quebecois both behind the camera and on screen.3 The incident was a powerful reminder of how sensitive issues of diversity and multiculturalism are in a province in which Francophone identity and the question of independence have dominated political and cultural debates for over 40 years, despite the region’s increasingly diverse demographics.4

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While feature films such as Paul Tana’s La Sarrasine (1992), Denis Chouinard’s Clandestins (1997) and L’Ange de goudron (2001), along with Robert Morin’s Le neg’ (2002), focused on immigrant characters and depicted the immigrant experience, they tended to maintain the dichotomy between the dominant culture against that of an ethnic or religious minority. As Gilda Boffa has shown, these cinematic depictions often perpetuated images of immigrants as victims, thus reinforcing dominant discourses of identity. Belonging in these films comes at the price of sacrificing one’s ethnic identity.5 Recent films such as Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies (2010), Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar (2011), Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle (2012), and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Inch’Allah (2012), however, seem to indicate a shift in the way Quebec culture defines itself as an imagined political community. Instead of revisiting the province’s past or staying within the confines of the national, these films question the binary opposition between “us” and “them” in their concern with transnational connections and international responsibilities. In what follows, I undertake a detailed thematic analysis of Incendies to show that Villeneuve’s film indicates a new cosmopolitan awareness and indeed a transnational turn in Quebec cinema. Going back to the myth of Oedipus, I discuss the ways in which Villeneuve’s film engages with its literary sources before drawing upon Hamid Naficy’s work on “accented cinema” to examine Incendies’ cinematic use of space. In its portrayal of post-exilic homecoming, the film departs from the classical topoi of Quebec national cinema, which has traditionally emphasized sites of belonging. Incendies thus projects Quebec identity onto a larger map and articulates new forms of affiliation. Moreover, in a clear move away from the sentimental family melodrama centering on a rootless foundling—a common trope in Quebecois cinema—Incendies suggests a new vision of belonging in an international community. Borrowing from Graham Huggan’s concept of the “postcolonial exotic,” I conclude by affirming the film’s willingness to engage with the Other. Refuting the accusation that Incendies participates in the commodification of cultural difference, I argue that it instead raises ethical questions that signal a new direction in Quebec cinema.

From play to film Denis Villeneuve is not a newcomer to the Quebec film scene. Born in Gentilly Quebec in 1967, he worked as an assistant to veteran Quebecois filmmaker

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Pierre Perreault before making his first feature film in 1998. Since then, he has produced four long features: Un 32 août sur terre (1998), Maelström (2000), Polytechnique (2009), and Incendies. With eight Genie Awards and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, Incendies was sold to more than 70 countries and propelled Villeneuve to international stardom. Based on the eponymous play by Lebanese-born playwright and director Wajdi Mouawad, the film follows Canadian twins Jeanne and Simon, who are commissioned by their late mother Nawal to find a father they believed dead and a lost brother whose existence they were never aware of.6 Jeanne travels to her mother’s homeland in the Middle East only to find a country ravaged by civil war and ethnic and religious conflict; her brother is initially reluctant to follow, but joins her when she seems to have reached a dead end. Oscillating between flashbacks of their mother’s past in the Middle East and the twins’ current quest, Mouawad’s play and Villeneuve’s film ask audiences to join in the search and piece together biographical fragments into a coherent narrative. The story that emerges once all the pieces are put in order is the following: Nawal grew up a Christian in an unnamed Middle Eastern country only to fall in love with a Muslim refugee and bring shame upon the family. Her brothers murder her boyfriend, and her mother takes her baby away after having marked the infant’s heel with three tattoos. Nawal flees her hometown for the capital when civil war breaks out. She is desperate to find the camp where her son has been moved and escapes persecution, violence, and death by switching between a Christian and a Muslim identity. Working under cover as a French tutor for a Christian militia leader, she kills her employer as he was responsible for massacring Muslim women and children. Nawal is subsequently sent to prison where she is raped and tortured by a man called Abou Tarek. Still in jail, she gives birth to twins, who are taken away from her and secretly raised by a nurse. After the civil war has ended and Nawal has been released, the nurse returns the children to her. Both Nawal and her children are then sent to North America to remain silent about their past. Some 20 years later, as Jeanne looks for traces of her extended family in her mother’s homeland, she learns from a former prison employee that her mother was raped and gave birth in prison. She and her brother also speak to the nurse  who once saved their life and locate the warlord who seized the camp where Nawal’s first-born—their brother Nihad—grew up. Nihad, they are told, became a warrior and eventually a torturer at the prison where their mother

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was held; indeed, he was the person who raped Nawal and fathered the twins. Jeanne and Simon’s father, in other words, is their half-brother. He, too, sought political asylum in Canada, where he now lives under a new name. Nawal had spotted him—or at least his tattooed heel—at the local swimming pool, and the shock led to her premature death. In order to fulfill their mother’s wishes, Jeanne and Simon eventually meet their father and half-brother to deliver their mother’s letter. While this summary may seem to be relatively straightforward, Incendies’ plot is, in fact, highly complex and convoluted, and the film can rightly be called a “mind-game film,” to borrow from Thomas Elsaesser. Elsaesser uses the term to denote films that dramatize unseen connections between apparently dispersed peoples and disparate situations by withholding crucial information.7 As brainteasers, they play games with both the character’s and the audience’s perception of reality. Incendies multiplies these mind games by having a character known to be unreliable—Nawal, who has suffered from trauma—instigate the film’s dramatic trajectory. As her traumatic past cannot be assimilated and integrated into a coherent narrative, it can only erupt in disjointed flashbacks. Accordingly, the film confronts spectators with fragmented bits of past and present that defy conventions of chronology. While the combination of two narrative strands was present in the play, Villeneuve augments its puzzling effect by having the actresses playing Nawal and Jeanne look so much alike that the viewer risks confounding the lives of mother and daughter. Moreover, in terms of editing, Villeneuve has ordered scenes in such a way that switches between the narrative of the past and that of the present are very subtle and often only apparent upon a second viewing. At the beginning of the chapter “Daresh,” for instance, we witness Nawal, who has just given birth, leaving her home; the scene then cuts to Jeanne, recently arrived in the Middle East and also wearing a blue jacket with her hair pinned up. It is only after a few seconds that we realize that the two characters are not the same person and the action has switched to the present. Similarly, when Simon is picked up by two armed men and taken to an unknown place, the next scene fools spectators into believing that he is being driven to a bridge where a van is waiting for him. As it turns out, however, the film cuts to Nawal’s narrative, showing how she was told by her torturer to go to “America.” The film’s editing, in other words, adds to the puzzle of chronology, names, and identities.

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Oedipal quests While it situates itself in a distinctly twenty-first-century context, complete with cell phones, satellite dishes, metal detectors and rental cars, Incendies makes no secret of returning to the generic template of Greek tragedy, and both stylistic and thematic parallels are hard to overlook. At the heart of both Mouawad’s play and the film lies the myth of Oedipus as dramatized in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, in which the protagonists embark on a quest for origins that culminates in the horrific realization that one of them has had children with his own mother. Just as Jocasta hangs herself upon realizing that she has married her own son, Nawal falls into silence and dies after discovering that her lost son was also her persecutor in prison and the father of her twins. As Aristotle famously outlined in the Poetics, Sophocles’ play advances through recognition and sudden reversal; similarly, the film’s narrative is driven by a series of revelations and the slow unraveling of identities. Moreover, just as Oedipus Rex culminates in a cathartic ending—Oedipus blinds himself and begs to be exiled—Incendies, too, ends on a note of reconciliation. Once the twins have handed Nawal’s letter to their brother/father, they are finally able to place a stone on her grave and to carve her name on her tombstone. Incendies, moreover, evokes the sense of inevitability so characteristic of Greek tragedy as the action progresses through a series of clearly marked stages, indicating a relentless forward movement: “Les Jumeaux”, “Nawal”, “Daresh”, “Le Sud”, “Daressa”, “Kfar Ryat”, “La Femme qui chante”, “Sarvan Janaan”, “Nihad”, “Chamsed-dine.” Indeed, when Simon is tempted to take a short-cut and open his mother’s letter himself, the advice he receives characterizes the action as an unremitting chain of events: “Il faut que vous compreniez que cette période est une succession de représailles qui s’emboîtent l’une l’autre dans une logique implacable, comme des additions.” [“You have to understand that this period saw a succession of reprisals embedded in one another with an implacable logic, like mathematical calculations.”] In the play as in the film, each action necessarily leads to the next so that the initial mystery cannot help but ultimately explode. The speaker of this advice, the notary Lebel, plays the role of the blind prophet, for just as Tiresias is called upon to aid in the investigation of the killing in Sophocles’ tragedy, so Lebel is asked to support his long-time assistant Nawal. Before passing away, she confides her secrets to him, asks him to write the final letters to her children, and entrusts him with the execution of her will.

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References to blindness and insight, seeing and knowing abound in Oedipus Rex and are thus taken up in Incendies, too, though more on the level of visual style than thematically. Sophocles’ play revolves around the paradox that the one who can see, sees nothing (Oedipus), while the one who cannot see, sees more clearly (the blind prophet Tiresias, and Oedipus once he has blinded himself). In what seems to be a direct nod to Sophocles’ tragedy, Simon is blindfolded when he is taken to the warlord and when he learns that Abou Tarek is indeed his father. Most importantly, both Sophocles’ play and Incendies continually pose questions of home, exile, and belonging. Oedipus may indeed be said to be one of the earliest exilic figures in literature, who, after having stabbed out his eyes, imposes on himself the penalty of exile—a fate considered worse than death in Greek tragedy. Incendies even multiplies experiences of exile as not only as Abou Tarek, but also Nawal and the twins leave the country of their origin to find refuge abroad. In the twenty-first century, however, exile is no longer a state arousing pity and fear. The twins lead an ordinary life in the country to which they emigrated and seem hardly aware of their ancestral homeland. Far from undertaking a nostalgic return to their motherland, they are travellers in a foreign country whose language and culture they do not understand. Their cinematic homecoming, in other words, is an unwitting return, a journey fraught with shock and horror as their supposed home turns out to be unheimlich or uncanny. Visually, this sense of haunting, alienation, and disorientation is conveyed by the film’s constant withholding of the establishing shot, which would normally orient spectators as to where the characters are situated in the scene. Like the protagonists, we only get a fragmented and impressionistic vision of the events and are left unsure as to how they connect. While invoking the myth of the return to origins, Incendies makes abundantly clear that the war-ravaged country visited by the twins is not a home, but rather a hostile and even threatening territory. When Jeanne tries to obtain information at her mother’s former university, the secretary openly tells her that she should leave. Similarly, the school’s concierge cuts off the conversation once Jeanne asks him about Nawal’s imprisonment at Kfar Ryat, while the women she visits in her mother’s native village refuse to speak to her once they see her mother’s photo. “You are definitely not from here,” Jeanne is told when she admits that she is not familiar with the name of the prison where the photo of her mother was taken. The twins may be searching for their roots, but they have neither familiarity nor sentimental connections with the country of their birth.

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Spatial reconfigurations To understand the spatial politics of Incendies as they relate to questions of home and exile, it may be useful to refer to Hamid Naficy’s typology of “accented films.” Naficy has coined the term “accented cinema” to define films that he considers an aesthetic response to the experience of displacement through exile, migration, or diaspora. In an attempt to capture the specificity of these films, he has developed a list of shared features including their mode of production and authorial inscription as well as thematic and stylistic preoccupations. Specifically, Naficy has identified three chronotopes or space-time representations that function as organizing structures in accented films: “open” chronotopes of nature, landscape, landmarks, and ancient monuments suggest boundlessness and timelessness and are usually reserved for the representation of idealized homeland; “closed” chronotopes of imprisonment, in contrast, stress claustrophobia and panic and are often utilized to depict life in exile and diaspora. The “thirdspace” chronotope, finally, “involves transitional and transnational sites, such as borders, airports and train stations, and transportation vehicles, such as buses, ships, and trains.”8 Even though Naficy’s taxonomy does not always do justice to the particularity and historical specificity of “accented” films and filmmakers, his analysis suggests possible routes to chart. In particular, his differentiation of spatial configurations is relevant as the depiction of territoriality and geography in Incendies gains a new significance when considered in the context of Quebec national cinema. Incendies articulates markedly different configurations of space as illustrated by the film’s powerful opening scene: the camera surveys a mountain range with swaying palm trees and cicadas in the background before slowly pulling back to the interior of a classroom in which children, under the supervision of armed men, are having their heads shaved. While the camera pulls back, the lighting changes from blazing sunlight to an almost unlit dark space in which the eyes of a frightened boy seem to be all the more piercing and relentless. Throughout the film, the open spaces in the Middle East, be they mountain ranges or cityscapes, are captured in panoramic shots, conveying tranquility, timelessness, and boundlessness. The narrow, poorly lit spaces of corridors, rooms, cars, and prison cells, in contrast, create an atmosphere of confinement, claustrophobia, and entrapment. Nawal, for example, is repeatedly trapped in houses, buses, and in prison, while her children are unrestricted in their movements by spatial, bodily, or other barriers.

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Interestingly, places in Canada are exclusively coded as third-space chronotopes, as Naficy calls them, or “non-lieux” in the words of Marc Augé.9 We see anonymous offices, hospital rooms, a public pool, a run-down factory building, a street lined with parked cars. The building in which Simon lives is a nondescript run-down high-rise with a view of a motorway, captured in the final days of winter when the last patches of dirty snow are slowly melting away. The film’s opening pan is echoed halfway through the film, shortly before Simon leaves Canada to join his sister in the Middle East, and the contrast to the opening shot could hardly be more powerful. While the opening scene was a portrayal of pastoral serenity, the panorama is now one of dull, uniform apartment blocks, gray and rainy weather, and a drab interior that is barely furnished and has nothing homey about it. Whenever the action moves away from the Middle East, what we see in Incendies is the generic, anonymous space of suburbia; it is not a home or settlement, but a space of transience, not anchored in a clearly defined territory. Indeed, the twins’ “hometown” remains unnamed, and it is only when Jeanne visits her mother’s ancestral village that spectators learn that she is from Canada. The places shown previously could be located almost anywhere in North America—or Europe for that matter. Instead of depicting the typical Montreal architecture of wrought iron staircases and balconies, churches and ice-hockey arenas, along with the vast snowy landscapes that characterize Quebec national cinema from the 1970s onward and function as a source of affiliation or belonging, Villeneuve’s film evokes a state of “deterritorialization” rather than a sense of “home.” Incendies, in other words, has no regional affiliation and attaches no importance to national belonging. It does not portray Canada or Quebec as the welcoming host society, but insists that its story transcends national borders. Similarly, by not naming the war-ravaged country in the Middle East, the film goes beyond a clearly delimited historical context and as a result, imparts its story of religious strife, civil war, incest, and trauma with a broader resonance.10 In a similar move, Villeneuve has considerably reduced the large number of slang words, Quebecois idioms, and Anglicisms that pervade Mouawad’s play and give it a distinct Quebec flavor. For example, in the play, Simon’s opening tirade against his mother abounds in typical Quebecois swear words and expressions.11 In the film, however, there are very few instances in which a character uses a word that immediately identifies him or her as Quebecois. Again, Villeneuve aims at purging the play of local references to open it up to a

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wider audience. Instead of courting and pleasing a Quebecois audience (which prides itself on its dialectal variants), he has eliminated those words that would add local color. The film departs from the established cinematographic vocabulary of the nation in yet another respect, for it reinterprets Quebec’s influential “cinéma orphelin” or orphan film genre in significantly new ways. The rootless foundling is indeed a recurring figure in well-known Quebec films, and its related dramas of finding one’s origins and intergenerational conflict dominate the classics of Quebec cinema. Films such as La petite aurore l’enfant martyre (Jean-Yves Bigras 1952) and its highly successful 2005 remake, Aurore (Luc Dionne) or Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra 1971)—repeatedly selected the best Canadian film of all time—engage with the province’s self-image in presenting the orphan as an innocent victim abandoned by its biological mother. As a mirror to Quebec society at large, the orphaned child epitomizes the trauma of loss and rupture (from the mother country), and feelings of inferiority and isolation within its Anglophone family. It is this discourse that has long shaped Quebec’s collective unconscious, structured its ethos and informed its cinema.12 In putting two semi-orphans at the center of its narrative, Incendies takes up the traditional theme of orphan cinema, yet reconfigures it in decisive ways. Both the play and the film portray a family that is clearly not Québécois de souche, that is, a family with longstanding and deeply rooted ties to Quebec. Instead, Incendies depicts the very breakdown of traditional kinship as it focuses on an incestuous relationship, thus highlighting the perversion of biological lineage so dear to the national cinema of the 1970s and 1980s. The family based on blood lines, in other words, has lost its function as a trope of belonging, and attachments no longer depend on the stability of territory and kinship. When the twins finally find their father, their reunion is not an occasion for joy, but rather for shame and unrest. Instead, it seems that the childless notary Lebel takes on the role of adoptive father. Affiliations in the film are therefore adoptive, provisional, and no longer based on kinship.

Exoticizing cultural difference For all its emphasis on exile, migration, and multiple belonging, Incendies has come under (sometimes severe) criticism for indulging in melodra-

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matic elements and blundering into the trap of orientalism in order to maximize its reach among mainstream audiences. The film’s highly aestheticized visuality—with color-saturated images, slow pans and aerial shots of vehicles traversing the desert-like terrain in the Middle East—often position spectators as tourists and exoticizes cultural difference.13 When Simon and Lebel take a walk in the village where they hope to meet Nihad, their bemused look betrays their feelings of patronizing superiority in view of such uncivilized Oriental backwardness. As played by two veteran Québécois actors, the characters Simon and Lebel could hardly be more out of place, preferring to gaze at the exotic over direct involvement.14 At other times, the film indulges in highly emotional scenes that smack of melodrama. For instance, when Nawal rides a bus disguised as a Muslim and the bus is attacked by right-wing Christians, she escapes the massacre by pulling out her crucifix while the bus is set ablaze. After the only two other surviving passengers, a Muslim mother and her child, have been shot, the camera lingers on Nawal’s profile in front of the burning bus, transforming her suffering into epic spectacle and reifying her into an aesthetic object. Similarly, the twins have been “whitewashed” and bear no visual trace of racial or ethnic difference. Accordingly, Villeneuve has thus been accused of displacing and decontextualizing political questions in favor of emotional appeal.15 The film may indeed be called an instance of the “postcolonial exotic,” a term used by Graham Huggan to designate the entanglements of exoticist discourses and their commodification in globalized consumer society. In his study of postcolonial texts and the academic institutionalization of postcolonial

Figure 15.1  Nawal (Lubna Azabal) in front of the burned-out bus shell. Incendies, 2010. Photo: © André Turpin.

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studies, Huggan has teased out the workings of exoticist representation and consumption and unveiled their complicity with the global market. As he notes, those discourses “signal the possibility of indirect access to ‘exotic’ cultures whose differences are acknowledged and celebrated even as they are rendered amenable to a mainstream public.”16 What Huggan has observed about exoticist discourses also holds true for Incendies and transnational films in general: caught in the global circuits of cultural consumption, they are bound up willy-nilly with the commodification of cultural difference and risk serving the booming alterity industry, which is eager to bank on exotic images and the spectacle of cultural difference. While Naficy located accented film-making in the interstitial and marginal spaces of national cinemas, transnational cinema may today be said to firmly occupy the mainstream, as the film industry—for reasons of profitability—has opened up to a global audience.17 In Canada, where filmmaking is largely dependent on government funding and where film funding policies demand cultural products that can compete with those of its southern neighbor, it does not come as a surprise to see Incendies bow to these demands. And yet, as Huggan has pointed out, the postcolonial exotic is not just a salestag; cultural products may also use tactics of resistance to call into question preconceived notions of otherness.18 Applying the concept of the postcolonial exotic to Villeneuve’s film, I contend that Incendies succeeds in sustaining a critique of exoticism and challenging patterns of commodification. For despite Villeneuve’s engagement with the (highly marketable) puzzle film genre, Incendies is not simply a gratuitous cinematic cerebral game nor a self-congratulating celebration of image and spectacle. Unlike other mind-game films such as Babel (Alejandro González Iñárritu 2006), Incendies does not aim to celebrate global interconnectedness through a network narrative driven by chance encounters in a global village. Nor does it use its exotic Middle Eastern locations and foreign actors solely for purposes of Orientalist glamour. Instead, the film insists on the legacy of a violent war and the lasting effects of religious strife. As David Pike has observed, its entire plot has been set up to prepare us for the final revelation, Nawal’s letter to Nihad, but the letter’s message runs counter to what we expect.19 It is not a cry for revenge or punishment, but a message of reconciliation and forgiveness, aiming to end the cycle of violence and hatred. While spectators may eventually untangle the film’s convoluted narrative, they can hardly leave the film with a sense of pleasure or satisfaction, for questions of ethics remain ambiguous and unsettling. How is one to judge Abou Tarek’s escape and new

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existence? And how many more pasts may still lie buried because the traumatic effects of civil war prevent them from surfacing? Ultimately, therefore, the post-exilic return in Incendies examines questions of transnational identification that go beyond local perspectives. The film expressly detaches itself from the national and opens up a new chapter in Quebec cinema as it challenges the traditional discourse of home and identity and the exclusionary practices that go with it. By commemorating the victims of a civil war and empathizing with their trauma, it articulates a new version of interconnectedness and solidarity. Quebec’s characteristic slogan “Je me souviens”—“I remember”— takes on new meaning as the film reminds the province of its international affiliations and the often suppressed history of its immigrant population. By recovering the trauma of the immigrant other, Incendies reflects a new cosmopolitan awareness that takes account of contemporary realities and leaves behind the traditional codes of belonging. In favoring associations and loyalties beyond the national, the film carves out new spaces of solidarity and calls for broader allegiances in a globalized world.

Notes 1 Bill Marshall, Quebec National Cinema (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 2000). 2 La Presse. July 6, 2010, http://moncinema.cyberpresse.ca/nouvelles-et-critiques/ nouvelles/article/11984-jacob-tierney-les-anglos-et-les-immigrants-sont-ignores. html (accessed January 7, 2012). 3 http://www.lapresse.ca/cinema/nouvelles/201207/17/01-4548701-petit-guidedu-cinema-heterogene.php (accessed January 14, 2013). In a similarly revealing move, the filmmaker Hugo Latulippe rejected Tierney’s accusations claiming that immigrants and Anglophones themselves were to blame if they did not succeed in Quebec society. 4 In 2006, the percentage of visible minorities in Quebec amounted to 8.8 percent (http://www.micc.gouv.qc.ca/publications/fr/recherches-statistiques/FICHE_ syn_an2011.pdf). In a 2011 report, demographer Marc Termote predicted that Quebec-born francophones in the province will be overtaken as a majority by immigrants by 2031. 5 Boffa holds that “these representations of immigrants, in spite of an aim to engage critically with the political implications of this lack of visibility, often serve to feed and repeat the dominant discourses about identity, borders, belonging, territory

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and nation-building that create the very oppression they are denouncing by reinforcing dichotomous ideas about these concepts.” See her essay “The Fatality of Origins in Quebec Cinema.” Synoptique 13 (February 2009), http://www. synoptique.ca/core/articles/boffa_fatality_origins/ (accessed June 7, 2012). Wajdi Mouawad, the author of the play Incendies, has also complained about the melodramatic, nostalgic streak in Quebec cinema, which he interprets as a “kind of panic” of Quebec culture, a nostalgia for the good old days when the Québécois were still among themselves. See his interview with Jean-Francois Côté in Architecture d’un marcheur. Entretiens avec Wajdi Mouawad, 45–6 and 67–8. See Thomas Elsaesser’s essay “The Mind-Game Film.” In Puzzle Films: Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema, edited by Warren Buckland (London: Blackwell, 2009), 13–41. See Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 154. Marc Augé defines non-places as follows: “If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-.place.” Nonplaces: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, translated by John Howe (London: Verso, 1995), 77–8. Even though critics have complained about Villeneuve’s simplistic political statements, Incendies in my view does not aim to convey a political message. Villeneuve himself has stated that his aim was to explore the theme of rage and anger; similar to Costa Gravas’ Z, he wanted to locate the film’s action in an imaginary space “so as to free it from any political bias. The film is about politics but is also apolitical.” (Official press kit, http://www.sonyclassics.com/incendies/ presskit.pdf, accessed January 11, 2013). See Simon’s first scene in Wajdi Mouawad, Incendies, 14. The term “orphan cinema” has been developed by scholars such as Christiane Tremblay-Daviault and Heinz Weinmann, who have interpreted the dysfunctional parent-child relation as indicating Quebec’s troubled relation to its colonial parents (France, English-speaking Canada, and the United States). The filmmaker was keenly aware of the danger of exoticization as he admitted in an interview with the BFI: “The hardest thing was working in a milieu outside my own. . . . I’d been to the Middle East before, but I still felt like a total tourist—unlike Wajdi, who was born in Lebanon and had left with his family during the civil war. I think that’s why I approached the story from the angle of the family: like me, the twins are outsiders in this Arab culture. . . . I wanted to show the victims’ point of view and not make the action exciting. . . . I tried

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Cinematic Homecomings never to fall into the trap of exoticism.” Quebec critic Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan has, however, criticized him for precisely that. He even accuses him of projecting a touristic vision in his entire cinematic oeuvre: “sa caméra transforme des événements tragiques en spectacle, sans pour autant développer un vrai regard sur le monde. . . . De ses premiers clips pour la Course Europe-Asie (où il filmait des nomades des plaines de Mongolie comme si c’était de la science-fiction) jusqu’à Incendies (2010), il y a chez lui une vision touristique du monde, avec tout ce que ça suppose de mauvaise conscience” (see his comments in “Table ronde sur le renouveau du cinéma québécois” in Nouvelles Vues). The notary Lebel is played by Rémy Girard, who has appeared in some 50 Quebecois films and countless television series in the course of his career and is the most frequently nominated actor in the history of the Canadian Genie Awards. Maxim Gaudette, who plays the twin brother, has appeared in well-known television series and also played the lead in Denis Villeneuve’s previous film Polytechnique (2009), a performance that earned him both Jutra and Genie Awards. For a critique of the film’s exoticized representation of the Other, see also Stéphanie Croteau, “Incendies: Quand la douleur perd ses repères.” Hors Champ, May 2, 2011, http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/QUAND-LA-DOULEUR-PERD-SESREPERES.html (accessed January 13, 2013). See his Preface in The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 155. In her typology of cinematic transnationalism, Mette Hjort stresses that the category of the transnational need not be a virtue; it may also simply be a strategic choice to pool monetary resources or reach a global audience. Hjort has thus coined the term “opportunistic transnationalism” to designate films that give “priority to economic issues to the point where monetary factors actually dictate the selection of partners beyond national borders.” (19) Moreover, what she labels “globalizing transnationalism” is commercial in thrust and aims at globally marketable genre- or star-based films to recuperate the high costs of supposedly unavoidable international co-productions. Huggan argues that the postcolonial exotic can be repoliticized to “unsettle metropolitan expectations of cultural otherness and to effect a grounded critique of differential relations of power” (ix–x). Even though writers, artists and, by extension, filmmakers may capitalize on the exotic appeal of their works, they can do so strategically in order to sustain a critique of exoticism and challenge commodified notions of otherness. David Pike, “Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies.” Bright Lights, 74 (November 2011), http://brightlightsfilm.com/74/74incendies_ pike.php (accessed January 14, 2013).

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Works cited Augé, Marc. Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, translated by John Howe. London: Verso, 1995. Boffa, Gilda. “The Fatality of Origins in Quebec Cinema.” Synoptique 13 (February 2009), http://www.synoptique.ca/core/articles/boffa_fatality_origins/ (accessed June 7, 2012). Côté, Jean-Francois. Architecture d’un marcheur. Entretiens avec Wajdi Mouawad. Montréal: Leméac, 2005. Croteau, Stéphanie. “Incendies: Quand la douleur perd ses repères.” Hors Champ. May 2, 2011, http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/QUAND-LA-DOULEUR-PERD-SESREPERES.html (accessed January 13, 2013). Dequen, Bruno et al. “Table ronde sur le renouveau du cinéma québécois.” Nouvelles Vues. revue sur les pratiques et les théories du cinéma au Québec, http://www. nouvellesvues.ulaval.ca/le-renouveau-dirige-par-jean-pierre-sirois-trahan-etthomas-carrier-lafleur/table-ronde-sur-le-renouveau-du-cinema-quebecois-avecmartin-bilodeau-philippe-gajan-marcel-jean-germain-lacasse-sylvain-lavalleemarie-claude-loiselle-et-jean-pierre-sirois-trahan-organisee-par-bruno-dequen/ (accessed January 13, 2013). Elsaesser, Thomas. “The Mind-Game Film.” In Puzzle Films: Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema, edited by Warren Buckland. London: Blackwell, 2009, 13–41. Hjort, Mette. “On the Plurality of Cinematic Transnationalism.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Nataša Durovicová and Kathleen Newman. New York: Routledge, 2010, 12–33. Huggan, Graham. The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. Marshall, Bill. Quebec National Cinema. Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 2000. Mouawad, Wajdi. Incendies. Montréal: Leméac/Actes Sud, 2003. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. Pike, David. “Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies.” Bright Lights 74 (November 2011), http://brightlightsfilm.com/74/74incendies_pike.php (accessed January 14, 2013). Termote, Marc avec la collaboration de Frédéric Payeur et de Normand Thibault. Perspectives démolinguistiques du Québec et de la region de Montréal (20062056). 2011, http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/etudes2011/20110909_perspectives_ demolinguistiques.pdf (accessed January 14, 2013). Tremblay-Daviault, Christiane. Un cinéma orphelin. Structures mentales et sociales du Cinéma Québécois, 1942-1953. Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1981.

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Villeneuve, Denis. Interview. “Blood lines. Denis Villeneuve on Incendies,” http://old.bfi. org.uk/sightandsound/featuresandinterviews/interviews/incendies-denis-villeneuve. php (accessed January 14, 2013). Weinman, Heinz. Cinéma de l’imaginaire québécois. De La petite Aurore à Jésus de Montréal. Montreal: l’Hexagone, 1990.

Afterword The Unattainable Chronotope: Exile in Global Cinema Dina Iordanova

A Turkish poet in exile restlessly walks the wintry dunes of Eastern Frisia on Germany’s North Sea coast. With him is the free-spirited German woman who loves him. Yet he cannot open up for her, he cannot be here and now. He always carries along the baggage of his sadness. In his mind, he lives somewhere else— in a place where he cannot be, in a place that may not even exist anymore. It is the image of this striking loner from Tevfik Baser’s Farewell Stranger (1991) that circumscribes my notion of “exile.”1 But there is one other film I am also thinking about, Aditya Assarat’s Hi-so (2010). In it, a young cosmopolitan Thai émigré actor has returned from America to be in a movie. The shoot is over, and he has come to Bangkok for a few days, staying in the apartment that was the site of his childhood. Yet the “home” he yearned to return is not welcoming or cozy. There is no one around. The building is scheduled for demolition. The apartment is nothing but a series of empty rooms where objects, once meaningful and prized, have gathered dust and seem impossible to relate to. Warm winds rush up and down hollow staircases. The actor seeks out his girlfriend’s body in the dark, for a fleeting moment of solace. ••• The protagonists in both these films are exilic in their own right: they are in exile because they are not able to be where they imagine they need to be. They are present yet detached from their immediate surroundings. They reach out to people yet cannot connect. Their emotional lives stay suspended in perpetual

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longing for the unattainable. They fantasize about return yet know that return is not really possible. Individuals, in general, may have an “innate capacity to transform over­ whelming experiences” (Levine 1997), yet these protagonists live in adjournment, in a state where fight or flight has been superseded by freezing—the immobilizing hyperarousal that stops them from getting on with their life. They may come from completely different cultural backgrounds and yet they are the same in their paralyzing experiencing of pain, grief, and dissociation. The exilic feeling is trauma that one does not attempt to heal. But one also realizes that the place of longing is idealized and perhaps no longer exists. It is, then, not about linking with a place and not about rewinding to a lost point in time, but about reconnecting with oneself, about healing from within. Suppressed longing has contracted the muscles around the eyes and keeps the jaws tense. Bodies are perpetually vigilant. Exiles live with the feeling of being incomplete, of being a stranger everywhere, of being adrift. They may be attractive and funny, laughing and making jokes, but it is all on the surface only. They reach out while remaining closed and know it is not possible to open up and relax. They are shut deep down within themselves and cannot connect. They fear intimacy. ••• The exilic protagonist is displaced. He would feel equally terrible anywhere; he cannot embrace his surroundings—whether the bridges on the Seine in Fernando Solanas’ Tangos: The Exile of Gardel (1985) or the lonely North Sea beaches in Farewell Stranger—as these can be nothing but a backdrop to his seclusion. It is this feeling of disassociation from the environment that gives the quality of the exilic landscape found in films; it is the protagonist’s inability to relate that gives any setting an eerie, alienated quality. There is no need for the exilic landscape to be a panorama of desolation and ruins. It may be some large uninhabited apartment building, like the one in Hi-So. Or it may be the neon lights of Taipei, the “home” to which Yiu-fai returns at the end of Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together (1997)—a place where he is as much a stranger as he was in Buenos Aires. The women from Patrizio Guzman’s Nostalgia for the Light (2010) have exiled themselves to Chile’s Atacama desert, where they rummage in ceaseless effort to piece together the scattered body parts of their loved ones. They cannot possibly

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connect with the inhospitable terrain yet they remain confined within it, exiles in their own country. ••• Exilic protagonists compulsively display discomfort with the proximate milieu; the rebellious couple from Tony Gatlif ’s Exiles (2004) are not happy in Paris, so they journey down to the Maghreb in search of an imaginary promised land, their ancestral “home.” The Kurdish political émigrés in Javier Corcuera’s The Back of the World (2000) feel disoriented and foreign in their North European homes, filled with anxiety streaming from an idealized image of the unattainable homeland that they keep alive. Their restlessness is driven by underlying grief; their bodies “remember,” again and again, the elusive trauma of displacement (Rothschild 2013). They live elsewhere, dissociated in body and mind from where they are at present.2 It is not possible to return; the choices are to keep wandering or make a commitment to the here and now. And they try to bond, often by being compulsively sexual and “acting out,” engaging with other bodies as solution to solitude. But their relationships are damaged. It is always about “sleeping with strangers,” as in Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006). Like other psychological conditions, exile has its own body language, which the cinema reveals. The exilic protagonist is always alone. In his walks on the beach, the loner in Farewell Stranger feels “like a dog” in his sense of physical and mental isolation.3 He is trying to relate to his surroundings but he cannot, as he does not acknowledge what some have termed “the power of now”; he lives in his mind, in places and moments that are out of reach, far away. Even when surrounded by people—family, friends, lovers—he is elsewhere, living in a fantasy bond with other people and places.4 On arrival at the revered destination, the exilic protagonist may or may not realize that return and reconnecting are impossible. She is condemned to never belong, not even in the abode of her dreams. ••• The traumatic dimension of exile takes on a whole new meaning in three new films, all reenacted documentaries involving real family members of the filmmakers, who are themselves second-generation, Western-born, exiled

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Palestinians. All three films chronicle displays of depression and obsessive disorders—aspects of exile that traditionally remain overlooked. In The Turtle’s Rage (2012) made in Germany by Pary El-Qalkili, the filmmaker follows around her Palestinian father, a charming but angry and inflexible man, and talks with him about her broken dreams and her alienated mother. In A World Not Ours (2012) made internationally by Danish-based Dubai-raised Mahdi Fleifel, the director features his grandfather, uncle, and close friend, all living at a refugee camp in Lebanon—each claustrophobic, mad, and frenzied in his own way. In My Father from Haifa (2009), the Zentropa-produced Danish documentary by Omar Shagrawi and featuring his Palestinian father, the suffocating distress that the old man emits puts strain on the filmmaker’s siblings. These secondgeneration Palestinians provide similar observations on the psychological effects of the exilic restlessness and suffering their parents live with and pass on to their spouses, children, and grandchildren. There is plenty of evidence of impaired family relations, misery, melancholy, and hopelessness that affects everybody around. In A World Not Ours, Mahdi Fleifel repeatedly uses a quote from Ben Gurion, one of Israel’s founders: “The old will die and the young will forget,” a statement made at the time of the original expulsion of the Palestinians. These new films, more than any other films made so far on the Palestinian topic, show that the persistent concern is not about the keys to the lost houses that the families still keep. It is more about staying exilic, about the unforgiving demand to not yield issued by the older to the younger generation (who do not necessarily see themselves as exiles but are under pressure to feel this way), and the resulting stress and frustration. Yes, “the old” will die. But will “the young” forget? The evidence put forth in these films suggests that the young are faced with a serious dilemma—to forget or not, to let go or withstand, to continue experiencing themselves as exiles or give up and live their lives. ••• Using the concepts of “accented cinema” and “interstitiality,” Hamid Naficy outlined a wider phenomenon of migrancy in filmmaking (2001); it was only in his early work, an ethnography of Iranian émigré television in Los Angeles, that the focus of his investigation was on exiled intellectuals (1993). I have also had the chance to observe, along the lines of Naficy’s early inquiry, what happened to East European directors who left during the years of communism.

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Those who maintained the “exilic” stance could not continue working in the West and gradually perished, destroyed by engulfing bitterness. Those who remained in the public eye—people like Milos Forman, Roman Polanski, or Andrei Konchalovsky—thrived mainly because they were able to shed off the exilic baggage and open up to new topics, there and then. The same is true for the trajectories of directors who fled adverse political circumstances—Chileans, Kurds, Bosnians. Many of the Iranians, now settled across North America and Europe, still maintain the “exilic” perspective.5 But not every displacement is exile. Migrating can mean many other things. What distinguishes the émigré, the forced or economic migrant, or the refugee from the “exile”? Could it be that the exilic condition brings about sadness and a feeling of an irreversible detachment, whereas migration can bring about celebratory excitement and the feeling of opening up? The essays in this book talk of “home” and “homecoming,” of “return” and the “illusion of return,” of “longing and belonging” and “nostalgia,” but also of “stubborn cosmopolitanism” and “sleeping with strangers.” And they all show that it is not only about the loss of home, it is about the loss of an idea and connection, about withdrawing and closing within oneself. One can return “home,” as the protagonist in Hi-So does, and remain exiled while emptiness rushes through all defenses. And one can be exiled without ever leaving home. Exile is the blurry sadness, the prevailing awareness of loss, dissociation, and irreversible upset. It is the unattainable chronotope.

Notes 1 Turkish-German director Tevfik Baser’s two earlier films, 40 Square Meters Germany (1986) and Farewell to False Paradise (1991) also dealt with matters of isolation and alienation. By placing women in the center of the narratives, however, the director explored more the difficulty in adapting and matters of patriarchy. It is only in this third film that he comes to touch on matters of exile. 2 “As evidence of the central importance of dissociation in traumatic stress disorder has continued to accumulate, it has also become apparent that dissociation offers a window into consciousness, memory and the links between body and mind.” (Herman 1992: 240) 3 Andreas Kilb, “Wie Ein Hund: Tevfik Baser’s dritter Spielfilm.” Zeit Online, August 23, 1991. Available Online: http://www.zeit.de/1991/35/wie-ein-hund (March 10, 2014).

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4 The ‘far flung family’ is a phenomenon of a different order (Berghahn 2013). Most sensitively depicted in Clara Law’s Floating Life (1996), many of these dispersed families make an effort to stay connected, securing “face-time” either through dedicated family Web sites or through ephemeral contacts over Skype, as featured in a number of recent documentaries. 5 Hossein Mahini, an exiled Iranian filmmaker living in Sweden, started the Exile Film Festival/The World is My Home (http://www.exilefilmfestival.com/) in Gothenburg in 1993. The festival was originally focused on the work of exiled Iranians but has grown over the years and its 11th edition in 2013 featured 68 films from a variety of countries.

Works cited Berghahn, Daniela. The Far-Flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2013. Herman, Judith L. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books, 1992. Kilb, Andreas, “Wie Ein Hund: Tevfik Baser’s dritter Spielfilm.” Zeit Online, August 23, 1991. Available Online: http://www.zeit.de/1991/35/wie-ein-hund (March 10, 2014). Levine, Peter A. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma. The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1997. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. —. The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Rothschild, Babette. The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. London and New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2013.

Filmography 40 Quadratmeter Deutschland/40 Square Meters Germany (Tevfik Baser, West Germany, 1986). A World Not Ours (Mahdi Fleifel, UK/Lebanon/Denmark/UEA, 2012). Abschied vom falschen Paradies/Farewell to False Paradise (Tevfik Baser, West Germany, 1989). Chun gwong cha sit/Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong/Japan/South Korea, 1997).

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El exilio de Gardel: Tangos/Tangos: The Exile of Gardel (Fernando Solanas, France/ Argentina, 1985). Exils/Exiles (Tony Gatlif, France/Japan, 2004). Fra Haifa til Nørrebro/My Father from Haifa (Omar Shagrawi, Denmark, 2009). Fu sheng/Floating Life (Clara Law, Australia, 1996). Hei yan quan/I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Malaysia/China/Taiwan/ France/Austria, 2006). La espalda del mundo/The Back of the World (Javier Corcuera, Spain, 2000). Lebewohl, Fremde/Farewell Stranger (Tevfik Baser, Germany, 1991). Nostalgia de la luz/Nostalgia for the Light (Patricio Guzmán, France/Germany/Chile/ Spain/USA, 2010). Schildkrötenwut/The Turtle’s Rage (Pary El-Qalkili, Germany, 2012).

Contributors Kai-man Chang is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Tulane University, where he teaches contemporary Chinese cinema, martial arts genre, film analysis, and modern Chinese literature. His articles on the representations of gender and sexuality in Taiwan New Cinema have appeared in journals such as Film Criticism and Post Script. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Intimate Displacements: The Cinema of Tsai Ming-liang. Milla Fedorova is an associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages, Georgetown University. Her area of expertise is Russian twentieth-century literature (including its marginal genres, such as sci-fi and crime fiction), film, and internet. Her book Yankees in Petrograd, Bolsheviks in New York (DeCalb: NIU Press, 2013) examines the myth of America as the Other World in Russian literature and film. Currently, she is working on a book about post-Soviet film adaptations of Russian literature. Peter Flynn, PhD teaches film history and media production at Emerson College. He is the writer/director of the documentary film Blazing the Trail: The O’Kalems in Ireland and co-producer of the two-disc DVD set, The O’Kalem Collection, 1910–15. The co-founder/director of the Boston Irish Film Festival, he has published in Cinema Journal and The Moving Image and is currently directing The Dying of the Light, a feature-length documentary film on the death of commercial film projection. Malini Guha is assistant professor of Film Studies at Carleton University. She received her PhD at the University of Warwick in the Department of Film and Television Studies. She is currently working on a new research project on Kolkata in the cinema; her manuscript on cinematic Paris and London as “migrant cities” is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press. Matthew Holtmeier is visiting assistant professor of Film Studies at Western Washington University. He is interested in world cinema, film, and contemporary

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political movements, and the cinematic production of subjectivity. More information can be found at www.matthewholtmeier.com. Dina Iordanova is professor of Global Cinema and chair of the Department of Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, where she also directs the Centre for Film Studies. A leading authority on transnational cinema, global film industries, and film festivals, her publications include Cinema of the Other Europe: The Industry and Artistry of East Central European Film (Wallflower Press, 2003), and The Film Festival Reader (St Andrews Film Studies, 2013). Mariana Johnson is an associate professor in the department of Film Studies at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, teaching courses in Latin American cinema and the history of documentary. She received her PhD in Cinema Studies from New York University. A Fulbright scholar and Film Society of Lincoln Center Fellowship recipient, her work on Cuban cinema has been published in book chapters and in journals such as The Moving Image, Jump Cut, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, and Television and New Media. Claudia Kotte teaches Canadian Literature and Film at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her introduction to Canadian Film, Kanadischer Film: Geschichte, Themen, Tendenzen (in cooperation with Markus Heide), was published in September 2006. Silvia Kratzer is a professor of Film, Television, and Digital Media and teaches at UCLA, Chapman University, and Pepperdine University. Her publications focus on the issues of exile and transnational cinemas as well as documentary film. Professor Kratzer is the founder of the New Hollywood Film School, on online community for film students providing film-related courses and networking opportunities within the film industry. Martina Moeller is a DAAD lecturer at the Université Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco. Her PhD was published under the title Rubble, Ruins and Romanticism: Visual Style, Narration and Identity in German Post-War Cinema by Transcript Verlag (Germany) in 2013. José Miguel Palacios is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, where he is writing a dissertation on Chilean exile cinema. His work has appeared in Revista de Comunicación y Medios, Cuadernos

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de la Cineteca Nacional, La Fuga, The Brooklyn Rail, and in the collection New Documentaries in Latin America (Palgrave, 2014). Catherine Portuges is professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is the director of the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, and Curator of the annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival. Her books include Cinemas in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 (with Peter Hames, Temple University Press, 2013) Gendered Subjects: The Dynamics of Feminist Teaching (with Margo Culley, Routledge, reissued 2012); and Screen Memories: The Hungarian Cinema of Márta Mészáros (Indiana, 1993). She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for “The Subjective Lens: Post-Holocaust Jewish Identities in Hungarian Cinema.” Rebecca Prime, PhD is film historian whose research interests include ethnographic film and transnational American and European cinema. She is the author of Hollywood Exiles in Europe: the Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2014) and has published in journals including Film History and Post Script. A Fulbright scholar, she holds degrees from Columbia University, New York University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Ido Ramati is working on his doctoral dissertation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published on the topic of Israeli Cinema within the context of cultural implications of the Holocaust implying theoretical insights drawn from Trauma Studies. He is currently engaged in studying the history of early media technologies in modern Hebrew culture. Stefanie Van de Peer is a teaching fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Her research focuses on Arab Women’s filmmaking in a framework of postcolonial, gender, and trauma studies. Her publications include the edited collection Art and Trauma in Africa (I.B. Tauris, 2012); her monograph, Pioneering Women of Arab Documentary is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press. We Jung Yi is visiting assistant professor of Modern Korean Studies at New York University’s Department of East Asian Studies. She received her PhD in Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture from Cornell University. Her research interests include Korean literature and film; Asian diasporic history and culture; trauma and memory studies; and theories of globalization, translation, and media. She is currently working on a book manuscript about Korean War literature and film.

Index accented cinema  4, 109, 288, 293, 306 African context, narratives of return  230–2 African modernity  230–2 politicized impetus of African cinema  231–2 postcolonial  232 Akin, Fatih  111 Head On  111, 116–19 Soul Kitchen  111, 113–16 see also Turkish Diasporic cinema Alarcón, Sebastián  151 Allen, Debi  60 Allouache, Merzak Salut Cousin  275 American filmmakers living in exile  5–6 Ancelovici, Gastón  151 Anderson, Benedict  131–2 Appadurai, Arjun  3, 131, 183 framework of Cuban case  132 Assarat, Aditya Hi-so  303 assimilation  24, 37 Salka Viertel’s Sunday night cultural gatherings  37 Baizai, Bahram  184 Baky, Josef von  194 And Above Us The Sky/Und über uns der Himmel  194 Balabanov, Aleksei  91 Brother 2  90–2, 94, 97–101 War  92 see also Russian films Balci, Kadir  111 Turquoise  111, 120–4 see also Turkish Diasporic cinema Baldwin, James  63 banishment of exile  1, 130, 152 Barbeau-Lavalette, Anaïs Inch’Allah  288 Barra, Pablo de la  151

Baser, Tevfik Farewell Stranger  303 Bates, Aaron  82 Bauman, Zygmunt  254 Postmodernity and its Discontents  254 Beck, Ulrich  254 Benbarka, Souheil  273 Benlyazid, Farida CasaNayda  276 Une porte sur le ciel (A Door to the Sky)  276 see also Moroccan cinema Bensaidi, Faouzi What a Wonderful World  275 Berghahn, Daniela  280 Berry, John  5, 52 black family life, representation of  59 Claudine  52–4, 58–64 communist background of  53–4 East Side/West Side, episodes of  62 European career  54 failures  60 influence of neorealism  62 professional rehabilitation  54 support for racial equality and Civil Rights movement  64 Tamango  54, 63–4 From this Day Forward  62 US homecomings  54 Bertellini, Giorgio  19 Bertolucci, Bernardo Sheltering Sky, The  270 Bigras, Jean-Yves La petite aurore l’enfant martyre  295 blacklisted American filmmakers, homecomings of  51–2 see also Berry, John; Dassin, Jules blaxploitation genre black casts  62 noir style  62 stereotypical depictions of blacks  65 see also Berry, John; Dassin, Jules

314

Index

Boffa, Gida  288 Bogart, Humphrey  43 Booker, T.  61 Bouchareb, Rachid Cheb  274 Indigènes/Days of Glory  2 Bouhati, Souad El Française  275 Bourquia, Farida  276 Deux Femmes sur la Route (Two Women on the Road)  276 see also Moroccan cinema Boym, Svetlana  91 Braun, Harald Zwischen gestern und morgen/Between Yesterday and Tomorrow  191 Brecht, Bertold  37, 40, 44 Brown, Sharon  59 Bush, Stephen  29 Carroll, Diahann  59–60 Castro, Fidel  129 Celtic Revivalist movement  20 Centre Cinématographique de Maroc (CCM)  269–70, 272 Chanan, Michael  131 characters and plot Bold Emmett, Ireland’s Martyr  27–8 Head On  111, 116–19 Hyenas  238–41 I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone  251, 305 Incendies  288–98 For Ireland’s Sake  26–7 Lad from Old Ireland, The  23–4 Last Illusion, The  192–3, 197, 199–204 My Father  81–5 Our School  74–81 Prince Ehtejab  169, 173–4 Retrouver Oulad Moumen  270 Rory O’More  21, 26–7 Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine  169, 174, 178–83, 185 Soul Kitchen  111, 113–16 Tall Shadows of the Wind  169, 172, 174–8 Touki-Bouki  229 Turquoise  111, 120–4 Up Tight  51–5, 57–8, 60–3

Walk on Water  210–11, 217 Window to Paris  90–1, 93–4, 97–8, 100–2 see also O’Kalem films Chilean exile cinema act of homecoming  147 art as a form of cultural resistance  159 Chilean directors exiles in countries  149 convergence of media and literary genres in  160–1 exile, perception of  152–3 exilic subjectivity  153 films produced inside and outside of Chile  151 forms of civic, artistic, and political organization  159 homecoming documentaries  148, 153 location  151–2 Los puños frente al cañón/With Fists Against Cannons  151 nostalgia  156 number of films  151 process of homecoming  153 Queridos compañeros/Dear Comrades  151 role of language and discourse  157 significance of return  152 solidarity of multifarious networks, influence of  147, 149–51 years preceding Allende’s election  148–9 Chouinard, Denis Clandestins  288 L’Ange de goudron  288 cinema of transvergence  109 cinematic transnationalism  5–6 Civil Rights movement  52–3 civilizational boundaries  183 Clark, Jack J.  21, 23 Gene Gauntier Feature Players (GGs)  22 Smuggler’s Lass, The  27 Columbia Pictures  56 Constantine, Eddie  54 Corcuera, Javier Back of the World, The  305 Cremata, Juan Carlos  141 Viva Cuba  141

Index critical transnationalism  2 Cuban exile film  131 Casa Vieja/Old House  142 characters’ ideological and national positions  135–6 cinematic engagement with Cuba’s “others”  133 Cuban national identity  143–4 Cuban Revolutionary ideology in  143 discourse of Cuban nationalism  137 exilic traits in  139–4 Lejanía  130, 133–5, 143 Memorias del subdesarrollo/Memories of Underdevelopment  132 national-exile relationship, dynamics of  133–5 nostalgia  135 Objetos personales/Personal Belongings  142 staying-vs.-leaving  141–2 textures, haptics, and spatial gaps in  138–9 transnational sensibility, expression of  137–8 Cuban national and exile communities  129–30 cultural identity  1 Dabashi, Hamid  176 Dandridge, Dorothy  63 Dassin, Jules  5, 51 accusation of stirring racial tension  65 “bad guys,” representation of  64 career in France  62 Celui qui doit mourir/He Who Must Die  54 communist background of  53–4 contemporary adaptation of The Informer  55–7 dedication to location shooting  64–5 depiction of black community  55–6 Du Rififi chez les hommes/Rififi  54, 64 influence of neorealism  62 La Loi/The Law  54 Naked City, The  54, 62 Never On Sunday  54 Night and the City  62 noir style, use of  62

Thieves Highway  54 Up Tight  51–5, 57–8, 60–3 US homecomings  54 Davis, Ossie  58 Dee, Ruby  56 Denham Studios  39 diasporic cinema  3–4 Díaz, Jesus Lejanía  130, 133 Dietrich, Marlene  38 Dionne, Luc Aurore  295 displacement  153, 162, 184, 199, 293, 305, 307 displacement and migration, experiences of  73 Donaldson, Arthur  21 Douglas, Kirk  43 Ebony  60 Eisner, Lotte  193 Eleftheoritis, Dimitris  231 Cinematic Journeys: Film and Movement  231, 245n. 4 El-Qalkili, Pary Turtle’s Rage, The  306 Elsaesser, Thomas  193, 290 emigrant nostalgia  97 European cinema  51 European national cinema  111 European racial discourse  63 exile, conceptualizing  35, 303 assimilation  37 challenges to exiles  35 command of English  35 exiles’ fears  4 exilic consciousness  3 exilic feeling  304 exilic protagonist discomfort with proximate milieu  305 feeling of disassociation of  304 psychological conditions of  305 Ezra, Elizabeth  2 Falardeau, Philippe Monsieur Lazhar  288 Famous Players company  23

315

316

Index

Farmanara, Bahman cinematic homecoming  169 documentary on Iranian burial rites  179–82 emphasis on Kafka  180–1 House of Ghamar Khanum, The  169 nature of subjectivity  180–3 negotation with censorship  174–8 Prince Ehtejab  169, 173–4 reasons to leave Iran  176–7 return to filmmaking in Iran  178–9 Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine  169, 174, 178–83, 185 Tall Shadows of the Wind  169, 172, 174–8 Farnum, Allen  21 Farrokhzad, Forough House is Black, The  172 Ferroukhi, Ismaël Le Grand Voyage  275 film studies  1–2 transnational cinema  2 Fisher, Jamey  199 Fleifel, Mahdi A World Not Ours  306 Flynn, Peter  6 forced displacement/exile  1, 38, 147, 158, 199–201, 209 Forman, Milos  307 Fox, Eytan  209 Fox studios  56 Frank, Manfred  199 French film industry  52, 54, 56 Freud, Sigmund  255 Gabin, Jean Le jour se lève  62 Gadijo, Samba  231 Gatlif, Tony Exiles  305 Gauntier, Gene  18, 20 Blazing the Trail  19–20, 30 Gene Gauntier Feature Players (GGs)  22 Lad from Old Ireland, The  17, 20–1 memoirs  19–22 O’Kalem Collection, The  19 Gene Gauntier Feature Players (GGs)  22 Come Back to Erin  22

A Daughter of Erin  22 failure of  22–3 For Ireland’s Sake  22, 26–7 Irish-themed films  22 Ulster Lass, The  22 Génini, Izza Aita  279 approach to documentary  278 biography  278–9 construction of imaginary Morocco  271 documentaries of  277–8 filmography of  279 La Nûba d’Or et de lumière  279–83 Pour le plaisir des yeux  279 reasons behind Jewish emigration  280 Retrouver Oulad Moumen  270, 279–83 SOGEAV 278 territory and place, use of  271 Transes  279 triple consciousness  271 understanding of family as home  270 see also Moroccan cinema German rubble films  191 American way of life, representation of  198 assimilation issues  197–9 autobiographical experiences as a returning emigrant  194–6 Baky’s films  194 competing victimization, concept of  193–4 identity issues  196–7 “inner” and “outer” emigration  193–4 landscape, representation of  200 Last Illusion, The  192–3, 197, 199–204 musical motifs  197–8 portrayal of German postwar society  192 traumatic experiences of war and Nazism  199–200 visual design in  198 Ghobadi, Bahman Half Moon  179 Nobody Knows About Persian Cats  184 Gilroy, Paul Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, The  230

Index Gluzman, Michael  217 Goldwyn, Samuel  38 Golestan, Ebrahim  172 Golshiri, Houshang  173 Gonçalves, Rodrigo  149 Gong, Euncheol  82 Gorchakov, Andrei  92 Govorukhin, Stanislav Voroshilov’s Sharpshooter  92 Grant, Valentine  23 Green Movement  185 Guevara, Che  129 Gurion, Ben  306 Guzmán, Patrizio Battle of Chile, The  151 Nostalgia for the Light  304 Hagin, Boaz  213 Hansen, Miriam Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Cinema  19 Harrow, Kenneth W.  232 Higbee, Will  2, 109 Hjort, Mette Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader  1 Hofer, Johanna  192 Hokkaido Chosun School (Our School)  85, 86 audio-visual markers of Korean ethnicity  76–7 daily lives of Chosun School’s thirdand fourth-generation  76 discrimination against Zainichi in Japanese society  76 familial relationship  80 Fujishiro’s “assimilation” to the school  77 in-between status of Chosun students  79 interplay between exiles and nationals in  79–80 “Korean 100%” campaign  77 language issues with Myung-jun Kim  77–8 Myung-jun Kim’s role as a mediator two Koreas  78 non-Zainichi characters  77

317

Ryosil’s Koreanization  77 South Korean audiences’ attitudes toward the Chosun students  78 students’ collective life in school  80 vision of education and Korea’s forgotten colonial past  75 Hollister, Alice  21 Hollister, George  20 Hollywood blacklist  51 movie industry  34 outsiders  5 home  1 homecoming  1 homecoming narratives see return, narratives of Houston, Whitney  60 Huggan, Graham  296–7 Huntington, Samuel  170–1 Foreign Affairs  170 identity  39–40, 109, 250 in Cuban exile film  143–4 Francophone, in Quebec cinema  287 issues in German rubble films  196–7 Korean identity vs. Chosun identity  76–7, 79 as “other” and the “foreign”  41, 43 in Turkish Diasporic cinema  119–21, 123 Illimani, Inti Vuelvo/I Return  159 imagined communities/imagined worlds  131–2 imagined homelands  6–7, 271 immigrant cinemas  109–10 see also Turkish Diasporic cinema immigration quotas, imposition of  37–8 IMP Seamus O’Brien  30 Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC)  130 internal exiles  6 International Herald Tribune  54 Iran, filmmaking environment in  169 censorship and “new waves” in  171–4 cinematic homecoming as theme  183–5 entertainment-focused “Film Farsi”  173

318

Index

Iranian culture as religious sentiment  171 Islamic-Iranian subject  183 negotation with censorship  174–8, 184 popular rejection of Westernization and acceptance of Islamic Revolution  172 prerevolution films  173 production of minority subjects  183–5 see also Farmanara, Bahman Ireland and the Irish in American cinema, representation of  16 film trade journals  19 Irish life in  1910s  18 O’Kalem Collection, 1910–1915, The  19 O’Kalem films  17–19 Irish in America in 1840s  16 anti-Irish sentiment and  16 nostalgia of  16 Israeli films Altneuland  216–19 heterosexuality  218–19 Holocaust, effects of  212–13 masculinity and feminity  216–17 negative symbiosis, concept of  215–16 relationship between Israelis and Germans  215–16 trauma and recovery  211–15 Walk on Water  210–11, 217 Zionist movement  216 Israeli-German relationship  209 Italian postwar cinema  63 Japanese colonization  73 Jelinek, Elfriede  43 Jessner, Leopold Backstairs/Hintertreppe  192 Jewish exiles  37 see also Korda, Alexander; Lorre, Peter Jewish migrations  45n. 2 Jewison, Norman In the Heat of the Night  55 Jones, James Earl  59 July Revolutionary Movement  129 Jutra, Claude Mon oncle Antoine  295

Kafka, Franz  180–1 Kalem Film Company  6, 17, 19 see also O’Kalem films Kalem Kalendar, The  19 Karloff, Boris  43 Kar-wai, Wong Happy Together  304 KATUSA (Korean Augmentation Troops to the United States Army)  83 Käutner, Helmut In jenen Tagen/In Those Days  191 Kiarostami  182 Certified Copy  183 Close-Up  182 Like Someone in Love  183 Taste of Cherry  179 Kilani, Leila Nos Lieux Interdits  275 Sur la Planche  275 Tangers, le Rève des Bruleurs  275 Kim, Myung-jun  77 Kimiai, Masud  172 Kimiavi, Parviz  184 Kitzmiller, John  63 Klein, Christina  83 Kline, George  19 Konchalovsky, Andrei  307 Korda, Alexander  5, 38 anti-Semitism and cultural prejudice, impact of  39 blockbusters  39 career biography  38 experience as an émigré, influence of  39–40 Four Feathers, The  38 That Hamilton Woman  39 ideas about filmmaking  39 identity as a Jewish exile  39–40 London Films, establishment of  38 Marius  38 Private Life of Henry VIII, The  39–40 Scarlet Pimpernel, The  39 Things to Come  39 Third Man, The  38 Korda, Vincent  40 Korda, Zoltan  40

Index Korean adoptee’s homecoming experience (My Father)  81–7 influence of Korea’s patriarchal family system and sexual moralities  83 male-centered military experience  83–4 mediation between birth father and adoptive father  84 melodramatic reunion  84–5 outline of the plot  82–3 protagonist, characterization of  82–4 reference to Koreans’ anti-Americanism  83 split identities of protagonist  84 Korean films desire for homecoming, theme of  73 in-between status of Korean diaspora  75–6, 79, 81 Korean diaspora, stories of  73–4 My Father  74, 81–5 Our School  74–81 political issue of Korea’s division in  78 representation of Korean diaspora  85–7 return of dongpo  74 self-exploration of Korean diasporic subjects  74 South Korean cinema, 1990s  73 struggle of minority subjects from a dongpo’s perspective  81 Zainichi  74 see also Hokkaido Chosun School (Our School) Korean War (1950–3)  73 Kortner, Fritz  192 Kramer, Stanley Guess Whos Coming to Dinner?  55 Kratzer, Silvia  6 LaCapra, Dominick  212 Lad from Old Ireland, The  23–4 characters and plot  23–4 Lang, Fritz  36, 40 Laughton, Charles  38, 40 Lean, David  40 Leigh, Vivien  38 Leni, Paul Backstairs/Hintertreppe  192

Lim, Song Hwee  2 Littín, Miguel Acta General de Chile/General Statement on Chile  153 General Statement on Chile  156 Long, Samuel  19 Lorre, Peter  5, 38, 40–5 Leagues Under the Sea  43 as an actor  40–1 Beast with Five Fingers, The  41 Beat the Devil  43 career as supporting roles  41 Casablanca  41 cinematic career  40 collaboration with Brecht  44 contract with Columbia Pictures  41 Cross of Lorraine, The  41 Der Verlorene/The Lost One  41–3 as a director  41–3 High and Low  41 in Hollywood  41, 43 identity as “other” and the “foreign”  41, 43 M  41 Maltese Falcon, The  41 Man Who Knew Too Much, The  41 Mask of Dimitrios, The  41 prewar expressionist cinema, influence of  43 return to Hollywood  44 in role of Nazis  44 White Devil, The  40 Losey, Joseph  51–2 Lott, Eric  63 Löwenstein, László see Lorre, Peter Lübbert, Orlando  151 Lubitsch, Ernst To Be or Not to Be  40 Lugosi, Béla  43 Maanouni, Ahmed Al Transes  279 McCarthy-era  36, 57 McGowan, J. P.  21 Makhmalbaf, Mohsen  179 Marriage of the Blessed  179 Makhmalbaf, Samira  182

319

320

Index

Mambety, Djibril Diop  229 Hyenas  238–41 Touki-Bouki  229, 233–8 Mamin, Yuri  91 Window to Paris  90–1, 93–4, 97–8, 100–2 see also Russian films Mapes, Agnes  21 Marguerite  30 Marion, Frank  19 Marks, Laura Skin of the Film, The  144 May, Karl  112 Mayer, Louis B.  38 Mayfield, Julian  56 Mehrjui, Dariush  172 Cow, The  174 Mercouri, Melina  55 The MGs  61 Mikhalkov, Nikita Barber of Siberia, The  92 Milestone, Lewis  38 Ming-liang, Tsai  250 awards  252 biography  251 diasporic experience of being an insider and outsider  253–5 domestic spaces, connecting with food and liquid  258–60 on estrangement of home-space  256–8 exploited foreign laborers, film on  256 Face  251–2 film career  251–2 Goodbye, Dragon Inn  252 heterosexual and homosexual desires, context of  260–2 Hole, The  252 I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone  251–2, 256, 258–9, 305 Instant Bean Sauce Noodle  251 loneliness and alienation  251–2 mattress, significance of  260–2 minimalist style  251 negotiation with censorship bureau and production network  252 Rebels of the Neon God  250, 252, 256 relationship with Taiwanese government  252

River, The  252, 256 A Sealed Door in the Dark  251 sound design  261 stranger, concept of  251, 255 Stray Dogs  252 Vive L’ Amour  252 A Wardrobe in the Room  251 Wayward Cloud, The  252, 256 What Time Is It There?  252, 256 Moreno, Jacob  40 Morin, Robert Le neg’  288 Moroccan cinema in 1990s  273–6 Beur Cinema movement  272 censorship in  272–3 content of cinematic return journeys  274–5, 279–83 epic international films  270 by exiled Moroccan filmmakers  270 foreign investments in  270 intercultural exchange and multicultural heritage in  277–8 during King Hassan II’s despotic rule  269, 272 marketing priorities of CCM  274 Moroccan women and documentary  276–9 official average of film production  275 portrayal of Morocco as a neo-liberal country  275 see also Benlyazid, Farida; Bourquia, Farida; Génini, Izza Mosjoukine, Ivan  40 Mouawad, Wajdi  289 Mouesca, Jacqueline  152 Moumen, Oulad  279–80, 283 Moving Picture World  19–20, 22, 28, 30 Moynihan, Daniel Patrick  61 Murnau, F. W. Satan/Satanas  192 Murphy, David  231 Murphy, Joe  22 The Kerry Gow  22 Naficy, Hamid  1, 152, 155, 173, 184, 229, 271, 288, 293, 297, 306 accented style  130

Index An Accented Cinema  4 An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking  130 Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place  4 Nahum, Jacques  64 national allegory  133–40 national belonging  1 National Socialism  34 nationalism  131 neorealist films  62–3 New York Dramatic Mirror  19–20, 22 Nguyen, Kim Rebelle  288 nickel theatre  16 noirs  62–3 treatment of race in  63 “whiteness” of  63 non-ironic nostalgia  97 Nordau, Max  216 nostalgia-prone imagination of exile  6–7 O’Kalem films  17–18, 31 accuracy and authenticity of  29–30 adaptations of popular stage plays  22 ads on films  29 America as land of freedom and opportunity  24, 26 Arrah-na-Pogue  21 audiences of  19 categorization of  23 cinematic mythology in  18 Colleen Bawn, The  21, 29 Come Back to Erin  25 Cracker’s Bride, The (1909)  20 Dublin Horse Show, The  28 employees  20 European tour  20–1 Far from Erin’s Isle  25 five-reel feature film  22 founders  19 gender constructions  25 Girl Spy, The (1909)  20 growth  21 His Mother  21, 24 immigrant movies  24–5 Ireland as location, reasons for choosing  20

321

Ireland the Oppressed  27 Among the Irish Fisher Folk  28 Irish Honeymoon, The  20, 28 Irish in America, The  25 Irish scenery  28–9 Lad from Old Ireland, The  20–1 Lad from Old Ireland, The  23–4 Lady Peggy’s Escape  22 Little Spreewald Madchen, The  20 location shooting  20 From the Manger to the Cross  22 Mayor from Ireland, The  25 narrative of exile and return in  18 New York location  25 O’Kalems Visit to Killarney, The (nonfiction)  28 one-, two-, and three-reelers films  21 O’Sullivan tavern, significance of  21 possibility of a cinematic homecoming and revisiting past  18–19 rebel films  27 return journeys  25 Rory O’ More  21, 26–7 salary disputes and struggles  22 Shaughraun, The  22 target audience  20 three-reel adaptations  21 three-reel features  29 transatlantic crossings as a man’s business  25 travelogues  28 trip to Holy Land  22 Ulster Day in Belfast  28 Ulster Lass, The  29 Wives of Jamestown, The  22 You Remember Ellen  21, 28 Olcott, Sidney  17–18, 20–1, 31 artisanal mode of production  23 Bold Emmett, Ireland’s Martyr  27–8 depiction of Irish problems  28 Gene Gauntier Feature Players (GGs)  22 Lad from Old Ireland, The  17, 23–4 SidFilms  23 Olivier, Laurence  38 Ophüls, Max  44 Oppenheim, James  16 oppositional consciousness  262

322

Index

Quebec cinema aestheticized visuality in  296 emphasis on exile, migration, and multiple belonging  295–8 exoticization in  295–8, 299n. 13 Francophone identity  287 multiethnic character of contemporary Quebec society  287 orphan film genre  295 of post-exilic return  298 space-time representations  293–5 see also Villeneuve, Denis Queer Diasporas  250

return, narratives of  3 African context  230–2 allegorical representation of return journey  238–43 class mobility  236–7 comparison of life in exile and at home  234 cosmopolitan elite, role of  236–7 depiction of female dissidence  242–3 false consciousness  234 flashbacks, use of  234 mode of continuity between the past and present  234–7 Senegalese migration to France  233–8 subjectivity  235 Riazanov, Eldar Inhabited Skies  92 Robinson, Arthur Warning Shadows/Schatten  192 Rory O’ More  26–8 plot  26 protagonist  26 Rowden, Terry  2 Ruiz, Raúl Cronica del salitre/Chronicle of Saltpeter  158 Dialogues of Exiles  154 El retorno de un amateur de bibliotecas/The Return of a Library Lover  148, 153 Return of a Library Lover, The  154–7 Russian films capitalism  95 characterization of modern nostalgia  91, 96–8 complex systems of doubles juxtaposing Self and Other  100–2 foreign countries as a place of alienation  91, 95–6 music and eroticism  98–100 nostalgia, protagonists and their plots  92–5 periods of Russian history  90–1 protagonists’ return home  90, 95

racial equality  54 Reed, Carol  40 restorative nostalgia  97

Said, Edward  35, 153 Sánchez-Eppler, Benigno  250 Sandercock, Leonie  254

orphan film genre  295, 299n. 12 O’Sullivan, Patrick  21 O’Sullivan tavern  21 Pabst, G. W. 41 Pandora’s Box/Die Büchse der Pandora  193 Pahlavi Dynasty  172 Panahi, Jafar  182 Paramount Pictures  51, 55–6 Parker, James  82 Parra, Violeta Volver a los diecisiete/To be seventeen again  160 Patton, Cindy  250 Peebles, Melvin van  58 Pérez, Fernando  142 Perreault, Pierre  289 Pick, Zuzana  149, 151 Pisters, Patricia  271 plot and characters see characters and plot Polanski, Roman  307 Portuges, Catherine  5–6 Powell, Michael  40 Prashad, Vijay  255 Preminger, Otto  38 Pressburger, Emeric Red Shoes, The  40 Price, Vincent  43

Index Sandoval, Chela  262 Sapiaín, Claudio Eran unos que venían de Chile/They Were the Ones who Came from Chile  153 Satrapi, Marjane Persepolis  184 Schünzel, Reinhold Catherine the Great/Katharina die Große  192 Scott, Ridley Gladiator  270 Kingdom of Heaven, The  270 Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky  217 seghyehwa  73 Selznick, David O.  38 Sembene, Ousmane  229 Black Girl  229, 233–8 Moolaadé  229, 238–9, 241–2 Shagrawi, Omar My Father from Haifa  306 SidFilms  23 Bold Emmett  23 Bold Emmett, Ireland’s Martyr  27–8 five-reel feature films  23 An Innocent Lie  23 Ireland’s Martyr  23 Irish in America, The  23 Simmel, Georg  253 Siodmak, Robert  36 Smuggler’s Lass, The  27 social cinema, themes, style, and genre  60–5 Claudine  52–4, 58–64 Cleveland’s urban wasteland  61 racial problems  67n. 6 Up Tight  51–5, 57–8, 60–3 On the Waterfront  61 sociocultural reality of reverse migration  3 Soloviev, Vladimir House Under Starry Sky  92 Staudte, Wolfgang Murderers Are Among Us, The  199 stranger, concept of  251, 253–5 foreign land to experience of strangeness  255 Sung-sheng, Chang  252

323

Tana, Paul La Sarrasine  288 Tarkovsky, Andrei  90–1 Nostalghia  90, 92–3, 98–102, 105n. 8 see also Russian films third-space chronotopes  294, 299n. 9 Thissen, Judith  19 transatlantic emigration dramas  6 transnational cinema affiliation between non-Western, global, or world cinema and  2 diasporic cinema and  3 mainstream filmmaking  2–3 parameters of  3 Transnational Cinemas  2 transnational cultural exchanges  3 transnational Hollywood  35–6 assimilation  37 films as expressions of anxiety and despair  36 Hollywood as a place for freedom  36 immigration quotas, imposition of  37–8 insecurities of émigré directors  36–7 Jewish émigré directors  37 traumatic dimension of exile  304–6 Trauner, Alexander  61 Truffaut, François  64 Turkish Diasporic cinema Belgian-Turkish filmmaker  120–4 commonalities with the American Western genre  112, 125n. 7 cultural division between home and foreign land  122–3 departure and arrival, concepts of  111 “displacements,” forms of  110 endings and death, representation of  116–17 and European film movements  109 experience of liminality and hybridity  109 far-sickness  111 Fernweh/hajj, role in contemporary Germany’s multicultural society  111–13 German culture and society  112–13 “German home-cooked” food (Soul Kitchen)  113–16

324

Index

Head On  111 Heimweh or homesickness, concept of  112–13 identity  119–21, 123 landscape, landscape depiction  120 language and music comment on the characters’ dilemmas  119 marriage and role of wife  116–18 music, role of  119, 122 mythical/spiritual home  112–13 return to tradition  120–1 reversal of expectations and transgresses boundaries  115–16 Soul Kitchen  111 Turkish-German filmmakers  113–20 Turquoise  111 Turovskaya, Maya  95 Vásquez, Angelina Fragmentos de un Diario Inacabado/ Fragments from an Unfinished Diary  148, 153, 157–62 Viertel, Salka  37 Vignola, Bob  21 Villeneuve, Denis biography  288–9 emotional scenes  296 Incendies  288–98

Maelström  289 myth of Oedipus, use of  291–2 pastoral serenity, portrayal of  294 Polytechnique  289 space-time representations  293–5 state of “deterritorialization” in films  294 Un 32 août sur terre  289 use of Quebecois idioms  294 see also Quebec cinema Völker, Klaus  194 Walker, Janet  214 Warners Features  22 Weinstein, Hannah  58 White Revolutionaries  39 Wilder, Billy  36, 38, 44 Williams, Patrick  231 Wright, Richard  63 Yankee Film Company Colleen Bawn, The  30 Yi, We Jung  6 Yosef, Raz  213 Zeydabadi-Nejad, Saeed  170, 176 Zinnemann, Fred  36 Zionism  209–10, 216–19

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