Journeys of Hope to Fortress Europe

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [New York University]On: 23 November 2014, At: 22:58Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: MortimerHouse, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Third TextPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Journeys of Hope to Fortress EuropeYosefa LoshitzkyPublished online: 11 Dec 2006.</p><p>To cite this article: Yosefa Loshitzky (2006) Journeys of Hope to Fortress Europe, Third Text, 20:6, 745-754, DOI:10.1080/09528820601072908</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose ofthe Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be reliedupon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shallnot be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and otherliabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Third Text, Vol. 20, Issue 6, November, 2006, 745754</p><p>Third Text ISSN 0952-8822 print/ISSN 1475-5297 online Third Text (2006)</p><p>DOI: 10.1080/09528820601072908</p><p>Journeys of Hope toFortress Europe</p><p>Yosefa Loshitzky</p><p>Taylor and Francis LtdCTTE_A_207226.sgm10.1080/09528820601072908Third Text0952-8822 (print)/1475-5297 (online)Original Article2006Taylor &amp; Francis206000000November recent years Europes multicultural struggles have become a promi-nent topic in European cinema. This cinema is clearly utilising issuesrelated to ethno-religious diasporas, racism and migrant culture in orderto reflect, negotiate and construct a new image of the Old World.Europe, as represented in these films, is no longer predominantly whiteand Christian, but a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religiousdomain. Three evolving genres of films concerning immigration canalready be traced in the emerging diasporic and migrant cinema, eachreferring to a different stage in the migratory tour/route, what might be,ironically, called the grand tour of the migrants, the migratory journeyfrom the homeland to the host country and sometimes back home.</p><p>A fitting name for the first genre might be Journeys of Hope,although very often they turn into journeys of death, as in the emblem-atic Swiss film Journey of Hope (Reise der Hoffnung, Xavier Koller,Switzerland, 1990). Films of this genre portray the hardships experi-enced and endured by refugees and migrants on their way to the Prom-ised Land (the host country in Europe). By concentrating on the refugeeslived experience, this genre challenges and subverts contemporary mediaand public discourse on migrants, which dehumanises and criminalisesthem.1 The second genre might be called In the Promised Land andincludes films such as Last Resort (Pawel Pawlikowski, UK, 2000),Beautiful People (Jasmin Dizdar, UK, 1999), Lassedio [Besieged](Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, 1998), Nordrand [Northern Skirts] (BarbaraAlbert, AustriaGermanySwitzerland, 1999), Jalla Jalla (Josef Fares,Sweden, 2000), Dirty Pretty Things (Steven Frears, UK, 2002) andothers that investigate the encounter with the host society in the receiv-ing country.2 These films usually evolve around issues surroundingracism, miscegenation, cultural difference, economic exploitation andthe like. They are about the process of immediate absorption in the newcountry, representing the reception of the migrants by the host societythat in most cases is more hostile than hospitable. The third genre dealswith the second generation and beyond. It explores the processes anddynamic of integration and assimilation and their counterparts,</p><p>1 For further discussion of the journey motif see Hamid Naficy, Journeying, Border Crossing, and Identity Crossing, in An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJOxford, 2001, pp 22287.</p><p>2 One of the foundational films on migration to Europe is Rainer Werner Fassbinders Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Germany, 1972. See Thomas Elsaesser, Fassbinders Germany: History, Identity, Subject, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 1996, pp 1343, 5861, 2801.</p><p> Page 745 Thursday, November 30, 2006 12:55 PM</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>New</p><p> Yor</p><p>k U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>58 2</p><p>3 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>746</p><p>alienation and disintegration. The films in this category (best exempli-fied, perhaps, by the French genre of the beur and banlieue film,3 as wellas by some British films on Africans and Asians in the UK)4 deal with theexperience of the second generation, children of migrants who are stillmarginalised and oppressed by the host society. These films raise ques-tions about the status of ethno-diasporas in relation to the nationalbody. Are ethno-religious diasporas an integral part of the national bodyor are they foreign to it? Do they threaten the national body or do theytranscend it so as to constitute a transnational body? Ultimately thesefilms raise questions about the politics of belonging and non-belongingand the cultural identity of the New Europe.</p><p>Todays Europe is a phenomenon that cannot be described orexperienced as a coherent whole, but only as a site of negotiation overidentity. I address some of the prominent cultural motifs, metaphors andtropes in a number of significant films of the new migrant and diasporicEuropean cinema, which has become a new site and cinematic arena ofarticulation of Europes new sociocultural space, shaped and negotiatedby the experience of displacement, diaspora, exile, migration, nomad-ism, homelessness and border-crossing, putting in flux the idea ofEurope itself.5 My discussion of these topics attempts to show how thenew European cinema projects and represents both the physical andsociocultural landscapes of Europe that have been significantly altered asa result of migration and diaspora. The tropes and motifs that I discusscross the national borders of their narratives, contexts of production andsociopolitical circumstances, thus transcending the traditionalunderstanding of national cinema, which is produced within the fixedboundaries of the nation-state and is thought to reflect its imaginedcollectivity. Conversely, the new transnational European films many ofthem multinational co-productions which deal with migration anddiaspora are part of an independent, hybrid, transnational cinema that,as Laura Marks observes, expresses the physical and psychologicaleffects of exile, immigration and displacement.6 This genre, in the wordsof Hamid Naficy, cuts across previously defined geographic, national,cultural, cinematic, and meta-cinematic boundaries.7</p><p>THE CINEMA CITYSCAPES OF FORTRESS EUROPE</p><p>The European films concerning migration and diaspora are very compel-ling in depicting landscapes of postmodern alienation. They persistentlydeconstruct iconic images of the classical European cities that make foreasily consumed picture-postcard views. The famous monuments andlandmarks of these cities are either absent from the films or stripped oftheir traditional cultural capital, assuming the role of outdated icons inan impoverished urban fabric, a non-place. Many of these films are set inmajor European capitals whose urban landscape, particularly in theirgeographical peripheries and margins, has been transformed by migra-tion and diaspora. Thus for example, Mathieu Kassovitzs La Haine(France, 1995), depicts an urban rebellion in a Parisian banlieue,Bertoluccis Besieged a cross-race and -class love story takes place inRome, Beautiful People and Dirty Pretty Things take place in Londonand Northern Skirts in Vienna. These films push the mise-en-scne to the</p><p>3 For some major analyses of the beur and banlieue film and Mathieu Kassovitzs La Haine in particular see among others Ginette Vincendeau, Designs on the Banlieue: Mathieu Kassovitzs La Haine (1995), in French Film: Texts and Contexts, eds Susan Hayward and Ginette Vincendeau, Routledge, LondonNew York, 2000, pp 31027.</p><p>4 For further reading see the chapter Race and Cultural Hybridity: My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, in John Hill, British Cinema in the 1980s, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999, pp 20518; Karen Alexander, Black British Cinema in the 90s: Going Going Gone, in British Cinema of the 90s, ed Robert Murphy, BFI, London, 2000, pp 10914; Barbara Korte and Claudia Sternberg, eds, Bidding for the Mainstream? Black and Asian British Film since the 1990s, Rodopi, AmsterdamNew York, 2004</p><p>5 Laura Rascaroli, New Voyages to Italy: Postmodern Travellers and the Italian Road Film, Screen, 44:1, Spring 2003, p 74</p><p>6 Laura U Marks, A Deleuzian Politics of Hybrid Cinema, Screen, 35:3, 1994, p 245</p><p>7 Hamid Naficy, Phobic Spaces and Liminal Panics: Independent Transnational Film Genre, East/West Film Journal, 8:2, 1994, p 1. For further reading on transnational cinema see Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, eds, Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader, Routledge, LondonNew York, 2006.</p><p> Page 746 Thursday, November 30, 2006 12:55 PM</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>New</p><p> Yor</p><p>k U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>58 2</p><p>3 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>747</p><p>geographical and symbolic margins of famous cities and turn them fromglobally recycled iconic images of fantasy and glamour into non-places.Furthermore, by locating the migrants in the midst of the Europeanmetropolis these films truthfully represent the process of hybridising thenation via migration. They comment visually and ideologically on theparallel processes of migration and miscegenation echoing Hardt andNegris statement in Empire that circulation is a global exodus, or reallynomadism; and it is a corporeal exodus, or really miscegenation.8</p><p>Oceanic imagery, as Lola Young notes, characterises anti-miscegena-tion discourse in which the self is threatened with dissolution by theinvasion of waves, tides, and floods of immigrants.9 Nowhere isthe combined phenomenon of miscegenation and immigration moresalient than in contemporary Western Europes metropolitan centres,which have become, in the words of Saskia Sassen, hybrid spaces ofclass, ethnicity, nationality and internationality a Third World Spacewithin the First World.10 This metropolitan amalgamation of differentspatial and sociocultural worlds, according to Hardt and Negri, is whatallows the multitude to pass from place to place and make its place itsown. This is a common place of nomadism and miscegenation.11 Thefears of the city being contaminated and polluted through miscegenationby immigrants are particularly powerful with regard to the capital, thecentre of national pride. At the same time, the capital, now also a spaceof miscegenation and multiculturalism, is also perceived ambivalently, asa place that pollutes the country, the body of the nation. The city,according to this racist and nationalistic view, poses a danger to thehomogenous and authentic national culture. It is the other within. Andindeed, the ethnoscapes of these hybrid cinematic cities are almostdevoid of white indigenous Europeans. In Dirty Pretty Things, forexample, there are almost no visible white English people, while theinvisible people (the foreigners) are to be seen everywhere. Even inBesiegeds romantic Rome with its nostalgic gaze at the citys mosticonic historical landmark, Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Steps), thereare spaces (presumably near the Termini and Piazza della Repubblica)where only non-white, foreigners can be seen.</p><p>Beautiful People opens on a London city bus, a British icon and inthe words of Robin Wood a microcosm of an embryonic multi-racialcommunity.12 The films seven intertwined stories are framed by twocomically violent Bosnians, one a Croatian (Faruk Pruti) and the other aSerb (Dado Jehan) who were neighbours in the same village in Bosnia andnow continue their tribal war on a London bus and in Londons streets,injuring each other so badly that they end up in a shared room in hospitalwith a Welsh terrorist. Half of the characters are British, representing theentire British class structure, and half are refugees from the formerYugoslavia. Issues related to multiculturalism, assimilation, integration,social cohesion and the emergence of new hybrid urban families are at theheart of this film. Bosnia, which came to symbolise for the so-called newEurope the dichotomy of multiculturalism versus tribal ethnicism, mate-rialising its worst ghosts and nightmares and casting a shadow on itsdream of creating a transnational, multicultural and multi-ethnic entity,plays a major role in the overall ideological economy of the film. TheEuropean fear of the Bosnia within, ie, the Balkanisation of Europe, istransformed in Dizdars film into a successful experiment in hybridising</p><p>8 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MALondon, 2000, p 364</p><p>9 Lola Young, Fear of the Dark:Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Cinema, Routledge, LondonNew York, 1996, p 84</p><p>10 Saskia Sassen, Rebuilding the Global City: Economy, Ethnicity and Space, Social Justice, 20:34, 1993, p 32</p><p>11 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, op cit, p 362</p><p>12 Robin Wood, Beautiful People, CineAction, no 54, January 2001, p 30</p><p> Page 747 Thursday, November 30, 2006 12:55 PM</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>New</p><p> Yor</p><p>k U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>58 2</p><p>3 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>748</p><p>Bosnia with Britain, the Balkan with Europe, the Savage Barbarianwith the Civilised European. The threat of Balkanisation, the filmsuggests, can not only be avoided and evaded but even inverted. TheBalkanisation of London, the symbol of Cool Britannia, does not frag-ment the city or destroy it from within but, on the contrary, enriches andcross-fertilises it. It heals the pathology emanating from the disintegrat-ing British family and brings new hope and a new blood supply...</p></li></ul>