Keynote at Migrant Voices in European Cinema conference

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Far-Flung Families in Contemporary European Cinema
In this keynote, I will make a case for the centrality of migrant and diasporic families in contemporary European cinema. The emergence of migrant and diasporic cinema in Europe and, especially, the rise to prominence of diasporic families on screen, are directly linked to the social history of post-war immigration and European legislation on family reunification, which resulted in the transformation of temporary migrant into diasporic settler communities. The coming-of-age of the second and subsequent generations that were born and/or raised in the host society has, in turn, led to the development of a vibrant diasporic film culture.
Examining the preponderance of family narratives in Turkish German, British Asian and Maghrebi French cinema, I propose that the family functions as a trope of national belonging. As cinema tends to depict social conflicts and transitions indirectly through affective relations in the family, migrant and diasporic families crystallise the emotionally ambivalent response to growing ethnic diversity in Europe. Constructed as Other on account of their ethnicity, language and religion, these far-flung families are frequently perceived as a threat to the social cohesion of Western societies. Thus, filmic narratives about the inclusion or exclusion of diasporic families make important discursive interventions in topical and highly contested public debates about immigration and cultural diversity.
Period17 Apr 202419 Apr 2024
Held atSchool of Arts, University of Kent , United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • migrant cinema
  • refugee cinema
  • diasporic cinema
  • family in cinema