Displaced voices and accentscapes in French and Francophone Sub-Saharan cinema : recasting, reshaping, and restoring identity (-ies) in transnational films
This study features notions of identity, language, integration, journeys of home seeking and homecoming, and the wanderings of homelessness. It explores displaced voices and the self-coined term "accentscape" in ten films made by either established French film directors or less renowned and/or second-generation African immigrant film directors. Inspired by Arjun Appadurai's term ethnoscape, accentscape refers to how accents construct meaning and social identities for the films' exilic, diasporic, and postcolonial characters. I demonstrate the intervention of "accentscapes" by oral, vocal, and musical means, or in the film narratives as fragmented, emotive, and lyric structures. In relation to Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia, accentscapes appear in linguistic landscapes challenging Eurocentric perceptions of the exilic or diasporic communities in France in Nous, sans papiers de France (Nicolas Philibert et al., 1997), Paris Mon Paradis (Elenore Yameogo, 2011) and Le Point de Vue du Lion (Didier Awadi, 2011). Accentscapes intervene by calligraphic and pictographic means in Fatima (Philippe Faucon, 2015) and L'Esquive (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2004). Thirdly, as versions of Michel Foucault's heterotopia, accentscapes are the counter-spaces that the postcolonial protagonists in L'Esquive (Kechiche, 2004), Adama (Simon Rouby, 2015), and Qu'Allah Benisse la France! (Abd al Malik, 2015) create in France to replace their homelands. Finally, using Michel Chion's concept of sounds and voices that are left "wandering the surface of the screen," this study shows "accentscapes" in Fatima (Faucon, 2015) and Amin (Faucon, 2018) as "wandering" sounds emanating from an interstitial context and negotiating between two sources characterized by the seen and the unseen. [NEEDS DIACRITICS]
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