"Interstitial Spaces and Sites of Struggle": Displacement, Identity, and Belonging in Contemporary French Accented Cinema

  • Sheila Petty University of Regina
Keywords African diaspora, Maghrebi, France, cinema, migration turn
Keywords African diaspora, Maghrebi, France, cinema, migration turn


This essay focuses on three “accented cinema” films that creatively blend the autobiographical, performative, fictional, and documentary to interpret how identities are created at the intersection of displacement and belonging and are shaped by selective and multiple affinities to colonial cultures, ancestral cultures, and adopted host cultures. The films represent historical “moments” and follow a historical chronology, highlighting the permanency of being displaced and displacement in France, the said Republic of Equality. Watani: un monde sans mal (Watani: A World Without Evil, 1998) by Med Hondo depicts several racist incidents in Paris, including the Sans-Papiers Affair of 1996; La Marche (The Marchers, 2013) by Nabil Ben Yadir recreates the 1983 Marseilles to Paris “Marche Pour l’Egalité et Contre le Racisme”; and Paris Stalingrad (2019) by Hind Meddeb and Thim Naccachechronicles refugees struggling to make a home for themselves in street camps in the Stalingrad district of Paris.

Author Biography

Sheila Petty, University of Regina

Dr. Sheila Petty is Professor of Film Studies and SaskPower Research Chair in Cultural Heritage at the University of Regina in Canada. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


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