Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Anita & Me

Metin Hüseyin (2002)

United Kingdom

Genre: Coming-of-age story

Based on Meera Syal's autobiographical novel, 'Anita & Me centres on the bright 12-year-old Meena (Chandeep Uppal) growing up with her Punjabi parents in a small town in the Midlands in 1972. She has two immediate ambitions - to have her romantic fiction published in the girls' magazine Jackie and to become a member of 'the wenches', a girl gang led by the aggressive, loose-living blonde British neighbour, Anita (Anna Brewster). She achieves both, though the relationship with Anita is poorly handled, especially the breach between them caused by a spot of 'Paki-bashing' initiated by Anita's boyfriend.' (Philip French, The Observer, 24/11/2002)

The pivotal scene in this coming-of-age film is the summer fair where Meena finds out that Anita has been involved in a 'Paki-bashing' incident that resulted in the death of one Meena's relatives. This shocking revelation results Meena re-assessing her loyalties and her identity. She no longer aspires to being one of 'the wenches' and even learns some Punjabi from her visiting grandmother.She even passes the entrance exams for a girl's grammar school and the family moves house, leaving Anita and her gang behind. Even though the films ends with Anita and Meena superficially making up, ultimately Meena realises that they are—and always were—worlds apart. 

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 19 Dec 2006 •





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