Where do spaces of the home figure in contemporary studies of transnational, migrant, and diasporic cinema? According to Hamid Naficy, “accented,” exilic, and diasporic cinema primarily evokes a state of “permanent deterritorialization,” producing cinematic languages of discontinuity and fragmentation. The liminality, or in-between-ness, of transnational spaces and subjects is seen as a productive ground for the representation of “a contentious state of syncretic impurity.” This essay argues that, in attending primarily to the productive spaces (or nonspaces) of the in-between, there is a danger of underplaying, reifying, or of just not looking at the spaces of belonging and inhabitance that are also characteristic of an era of transnational migration. As a result, theories of transnational and diasporic cinema run the risk of closing down spaces for considering the complexities and pleasures of the work of inhabitance. They may also overlook the investment in the reproduction of a more complex sense of “homeplace,” to use bell hooks's term, that migration, diaspora, and transnational experiences might also involve. So, where Naficy speaks of the suitcase as a potent symbol of “exilic subjectivity”— containing souvenirs from the homeland, but primarily signifying travel and a provisional life—I want to ask what happens when someone takes those souvenirs out of the suitcase and places them somewhere new? I do this by reading two early twenty-first-century films by diasporic filmmakers in the UK, Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Pawel Pawlikowski's Last Resort (2000).
Irene Gedalof; Finding Home in Bend It Like Beckham and Last Resort. Camera Obscura 1 May 2011; 26 (1 (76)): 131–157. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-2010-017
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