Accented Cinema

Accented Filmmakers- from the Third World or post-colonial countries that live now in cosmopolitan places; not fully immersed in one country or culture- stuck in between.

  • work independently from the studio
  • Not a film movement or a group of filmmakers as a whole
  • “They have earned the right to speak and have dared to capture the means of representation” (979).
    1. Exilic Filmmakers- banishment for a particular offense (internal or external)
      1. internal- restrictions, censorship, and deprivation in their country-some want to stay to make a difference for the cause and fight
      2. mostly talks about external exiles- left their homeland willingly or forced, and still have a relationship with their people/want to go back.
      3. Memorialize their homeland through film- “Exilic banishment encourages creativity” – authorship
      4. exiles are “both and neither” → hybrid or fragmented
    1. Diasporic Filmmakers- begins with trauma or disruption- and involves the scattering of populations to outside places
      1. different from exile because the dispersion is sometimes because of work, trade, or imperial desire.
      2. collective- a group of people in diaspora – maintain a “long-term sense of ethnic consciousness and distinctiveness
    1. Ethnic Filmmakers- postcolonial are both exilic and diasporic, but differ from the poststudio American ethnics.
      1. immigrants themselves or born to non-white, non-Western
      2. focus more on their racial and ethnic identity within their host country
      3. hyphen- people are subordinate (African-American, Latino-American)- equal but not quite.
      4. the discourse of these films are narrowed- audiences read the films in terms of their ethnic content instead of their authorial vision or style.

“Exilic cinema is dominated by its focus on there and then in the homeland, diasporic cinema by its vertical relationship to the homeland and by its lateral relationship to the diaspora communities and experiences, and postcolonial ethnic and identity cinema by the exigencies of life here and now in the country in which they reside”(983).

  1. The Stylistic Approach- films are classified into categories which can limit the potential meanings of the film.
  2. “ideological constructs masquerading as neutral categories”
    1. “accented style”- the group style- consistent use of technique across the work’s of several directors → this book’s main focus
    2. encompasses characteristics common to the works of differently situated filmmakers involved in varied decentered social formations and cinematic practices across the globe. (986).
    3. components of accented style = visual style, narrative structure, character development, subject matter, theme, and plot, structures of feeling exiled, location, and distribution.

III.  Accented Style- displaced filmmaker’s style shows their dislocation in film as well as shows them as authors. They have a double consciousness- the voices from cinematic traditions and voice from exile and diasporic tradition

  1. Language, Voice, Address- it is impossible to speak without an accent; accent is one of the “most intimate and powerful markers of group identity and solidarity, and difference and personality.
    1. all exilic and diasporic films are accented- pronunciation is to structure- its narrative, visual style, characters, subject matter, theme, and plot.
    2. character’s literal accent in these films is ethnically encoded
    3. accented filmmakers insist on writing dialogue in their original language- loss of accent or language once exiled is a big fear.
    4. often multilingual, with voice-over narration, and subtitles
  2. Border Effects, Border Writing
    1. unpack paragraph starting with, “Since border subjectivity…” (991).
    2. what is a “shifter”? What is it’s relation to accented cinema?
    3. many accented filmmakers are shifters themselves- base films on their border crossing experiences- fear of illegality and conflicted identities
  3. Themes
    1. Journeys are a major theme of accented films
    2. motivation, duration, and direction
    3. types: return journeys or escape journeys
    4. also metaphorical or philosophical journeys of identity
  4. Authorship and Autobiographical Inscription
    1. construction of both the author and spectator
    2. “Accented film authors are literally and figuratively everyday journeymen and journeywoman who are driven off or set free from their places of origin, by force or by choice, on agonizing quests that require displacements and emplacements so profound, personal, and transformative as to shape not only the authors themselves and their films but also the question of authorship” (993).
    3. authorial and autobiographical which makes them unique
  • accented style is not a recognized film genre
  • accented style is not hermetic, homogenous, or autonomous- it evolves and changes

Discussion Question: On page 978

What does Naficy mean  by his suggestion that mainstream Hollywood films are “accent free”?

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