About this Project
Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe is an international Research Network which brings together researchers who, in consultation with filmmakers, representatives from the film and media industry and the cultural sector, explore the evolution of migrant and diasporic cinemas in contemporary Europe over the past twenty-five years
The Network examines how films of migrant and diasporic filmmakers have redefined our understanding of European identity/ies as constructed and narrated in European national cinemas. It seeks to identify the numerous ways in which multi-cultural and multi-ethnic presences and themes have revitalised contemporary European cinema by introducing an eclectic mix of non-Western traditions and new genres.
With European cinemas becoming increasingly determined by multicultural and multiethnic presences and themes, critical paradigms which examine these cinemas in terms of their national specificity do not adequately address the shift from the national to the transnational which has occurred during the past twenty-five years. This shift has been fuelled by the ongoing process of European integration, the geopolitical changes following the collapse of communism and the arrival of labour migrants and asylum seekers desiring access to what they perceive as the politically and economically stable heartland of Europe. These wider socio-political processes have meant that the concept of European identity and nationhood is becoming ever more contested and fluid. This is reflected in a growing number of films made by migrant and diasporic filmmakers which challenge traditional concepts of national identity and/or ‘Europeanness’.
As a result of these changes, the cultural spaces occupied by migrants are gradually shifting from the margins to the centre as representations of migrant and diasporic identities are assuming a more prominent position in cinema. Recent examples of German Turkish, Asian British and French beur and banlieue cinema have won considerable public and critical acclaim and have captured mainstream audiences. However, migrant and diasporic cinema in contemporary Europe is by no means limited to these high-profile groups. Of equal significance are the films of transnationally mobile filmmakers from the former Soviet bloc countries and the Balkans who are now working in the heartland of the old ‘Western’ Europe.