Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe


Migrant and diasporic filmmakers

Language: English

We contend that the collective memory or the postmemory of the migratory experience has had a profound impact on the aesthetic sensibilities of migrant and diasporic filmmakers and on the formation of their cultural identity. We conceive of European migrant filmmakers as first generation immigrants who relocated to what has been referred to as the 'old Europe' (and, in a colonial context, the 'mother country' or 'metropolitan centre') in search of education or training, better economic or professional conditions or a safer and more stable socio-political environment. Diasporic filmmakers are the offspring of migrants; they were born and/or raised in the 'destination' country and have no first-hand experience of migrating. Their familiarity with their families’ country and culture of 'origin' is indirect or even restricted; the memory of migration and dispersal is passed on through oral history, family photos and home videos and many other representational forms of mediation. Marianne Hirsch, who coined the term ‘postmemory’ for the second and further generations, describes it as a form of memory that is ‘mediated not through recollection but through an imaginative investment and creation. […] Postmemory characterizes the experience of those who grow up dominated by narratives that preceded their birth’ (Hirsch 1997: 22-23). It is ‘distinguished from memory by generational distance and from history by deep personal connection’ (Hirsch 1997: 22).

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Daniela Berghahn and Claudia Sternberg, 'Locating migrant and diasporic film in contemporary Europe', in: Daniela Berghahn and Claudia Sternberg (eds.), European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe, London: Wallflower Press, forthcoming 2009. 

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 29 Jan 2008 • Comment on this term

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