Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe


Cinema of duty

Language: English

Sarita Malik uses the term ‘cinema of duty’, originally coined by Cameron Bailey, who defined it as a social-issue-based cinema with a documentary-realist aesthetics and  ‘firmly responsible in intention – [it] positions its subjects in direct relation to social crisis, and attempts to articulate ‘problems’ and ‘solutions to problems’ within a framework of centre and margin, white and non-white communities’ (Bailey cited in Malik 1996, 203-204).  Though similar to the Turkish German ‘cinema of the affected’, the ‘cinema of duty’ films Pressure (Horace Ové, 1975) and Step Forward Youth (Menelik Shabazz, 1977) did not simply reproduce the ethnic or racial stereotypes but were instead ‘important for the way in which they “answered back” to what Jim Pines has called the “official race relations narrative” ….by offering an alternative view of the diasporic experience’ (Malik 1996, 204). Black and Asian British filmmakers challenged the racial stereotypes which dominated the media and, from the mid-1980s onwards, aimed to re-articulate Black British identities and address both inter- and intra-communal issues, using realist as well as non-realist aesthetics.

Cf. also Cinema of the affected

Example film: Pressure


Sarita Malik (1996), 'Beyond "the cinema of duty"? The pleasures of hybridity: Black British film of the 1980s and 1990s', in: Andrew Higson (ed.), Dissolving Views: Key Writings on British Cinema, London: Cassell, pp. 202-215.

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 01 Feb 2008 • Comment on this term

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