Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe


Accented cinema

Language: English

The term 'accented cinema' was coined by Hamid Naficy, who defines it as an aesthetic response to the experience of displacement through exile, migration or diaspora. Accented cinema comprises different types of cinema made by exilic, diasporic, and postcolonial ethnic and identity filmmakers who live and work in countries other than their country of origin (Naficy 2001: 11ff). The distinction between the sub-categories of exilic, diasporic and postcolonial ethnic films is ‘based chiefly on the varied relationship of the films and their makers to existing or imagined homeplaces’ (Naficy 2001: 21).  What lies at the bottom of all accented films is that they reflect the ‘double consciousness’ (Naficy 2001, 22) of their creators. Accented films are often bi- or multi-lingual and blend aesthetic and stylistic impulses from the cinematic traditions of the filmmaker’s home and adopted countries. 

Naficy uses the linguistic concept of accent as a trope to highlight that the kind of cinema he identifies as 'different' from the standard, neutral and value-free dominant cinema produced by the society's reigning mode of production. This typifies the classical and the new Hollywood cinema, whose films are realistic and intended for entertainment only, and thus free from overt ideology or accent. By that definition, all alternative cinemas are accented, but each is accented in certain specific ways that distinguish it. [Accented cinema] derives its accent from its artisanal and collective production modes and from the filmmakers' and audiences' deterritorialized locations. Consequently, not all accented films are exilic and diasporic, but all exilic and diasporic films are accented. If in linguistics accent pertains only to pronunciation, leaving grammar and vocabulary intact, exilic and diasporic accent permeates the film's deep structure: its narrative, visual style, characters, subject matter, theme, and plot' (Naficy 2001, 23). 

The majority of the films listed on this website could be classified as 'accented cinema' in terms of their aesthetic sensibilities and thematic concerns. That is why it would be inappropriate to choose one particular film as an example.


Naficy, Hamid (2001),  An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, Princeton, N. J.

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 28 Sep 2006 • Comment on this term

Next term: Beur cinema

Designed by PageToScreen