From <i>Boyz</i> to the banlieue: Race, nation, and mediated resistance
Following the release of Mathieu Kassovitz's film La Haine (1995), critics began to draw comparisons between La Haine and American films dealing with similar themes and content. However, other critics argued that there were important deviations between the socio-cultural contexts that informed the two bodies of films. This project takes as its starting point the controversy surrounding the relationship between the American new ghettocentric film and the French banlieue film. By creating an artificial divide between these two bodies of films, critics fail to acknowledge the shared experiences of characters within both the new ghettocentric film and the banlieue film. Further, given the ways in which both are often talked about as a representation and an extension of the lived realities of people of the African diaspora, both groups of films offer a potential commentary on experiences related to race, immigration, and assimilation in France and the United States. Consequently, this project examines these two bodies of films focusing on their shared similarities and considering the ways in which they respond to their particular socio-cultural contexts. As part of this analysis, I argue that both the American new ghettocentric film and the banlieue film grow out of a shared set of circumstances and are ultimately part of a shared cinematic movement and mode of production. Such an examination opens up the possibility to consider the ways in which strategies of representation and resistance might translate from one transnational context to another and ultimately be shared between the two.
Motion picture criticism
0900: Film studies