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Muslim Women in French CinemaVoices of Maghrebi Migrants in France$
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Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381984

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381984.001.0001

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The Voices of Maghrebi Migrant Women in French Téléfilms

The Voices of Maghrebi Migrant Women in French Téléfilms

Portraying Agency

(p.103) Chapter Three The Voices of Maghrebi Migrant Women in French Téléfilms
Muslim Women in French Cinema

Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp

Liverpool University Press

This chapter considers the theme of agency in French téléfilms featuring first-generation women that were broadcast between 1993 and 2012. These include Yamina Benguigui’s Aïcha series and films by Philippe Faucon, Rachid Bouchareb, and Malik Chibane. The chapter first outlines the specificity of French téléfilms and gives and overview of the representations of first-generation women on French television more broadly. Then, it considers the extent to which Maghrebi women appear to achieve agency in French téléfilms and identifies factors that constitute barriers to agency. When taken together, these films present a vision of agency that is to a very large extent equated with behaving in a ‘Westernized’ fashion, conforming to norms of individualism dominant in France, whereas an absence of agency is associated with the perpetuation of traditions associated with the country of origin that are portrayed as patriarchal and oppressive to women. The families of the first-generation women in these films play a prominent role in the respective narratives and impact the treatment of the question of agency, and the readings of these films are supported by Berghahn’s work on ‘diasporic families’ in contemporary European cinema.

Keywords:   téléfilm, agency, diasporic families in European cinema, Yamina Benguigui, Rachid Bouchareb, Philippe Faucon, Malik Chibane, Aïcha series

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