Annotation: Naficy, Hamid. 2001. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking.

Naficy, Hamid. 2001. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Within every transnational culture beats the hearts of multiple displaced but situated cultures interacting with one another” (6). The author calls accented cinema the diasporic and exilic films which can be contrasted with dominant Western cinema. Accented films are “interstitial” in that they are simultaneously local and global (4). Accented filmmakers are also “interstitial authors” who use films as a performative strategy to dramatize themselves – whether intentionally or not (282). “Accents” in linguistics pertain to the “intimate and powerful markers of group identity and solidarity,” and applying this to cinema, accented films can be distinguished by their style, themes, artisanal and collective modes of production (23). Accented cinema is both a cinema of exile and a cinema in exile (8), and the themes which are commonly discussed in these kinds of films are territoriality, rootedness, and geography. Tactile optics refer to the “nonlinear structure which is driven by the juxtaposition of multiple spaces, times, voices, narratives, and foci – the montage effect” (29). The filmmakers’ “distracted mode of being in the world” as seen in accented films is a characteristic of postmodernity (29). Due to the accented filmmakers experience of deterritorialization, their films also then tend to be very concerned with themes of territory and territoriality. The homeland tends to be fetishized as the object of longing and nostalgia while life in exile and diaspora is represented by themes of claustrophobia and temporality. Identity is also depicted as a process of becoming, or a performance of identity, and each film can be understood as the filmmaker’s performance of identity (6). Accented filmmakers, he writes, are “not just textual structures or fictions within their films; they also are empirical subjects, situated in the interstices of cultures and film practices, who exist outside and prior to their films” (5). The author creates three groupings of accented cinema: exilic (use film in explicitly political terms during their liminal period of displacement), diasporic (nurtures a collective memory of an idealized homeland), and postcolonial ethnic (narratives are centered on politics that are encoded in the “politics of the hyphen”). The performative strategies in accented films include: diegetic staging; doubling/duplicity; self-reflexivity, and; self-inscription.


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