Muslim Women in French Cinema

BookMuslim Women in French Cinema

Muslim Women in French Cinema

Voices of Maghrebi Migrants in France

Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures, 41


December 14th, 2015

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Muslim Women in French Cinema: Voices of Maghrebi Migrants in France is the first comprehensive study of cinematic representations of first-generation Muslim women from the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) in France. Women of this generation migrated to France during the decades preceding and following the end of French colonial rule, and they are generally – though not always accurately – regarded as belonging to a generation of migrants silenced under the weight of poverty, illiteracy, Islamic tradition, and majority ethnic Islamophobia. Situated at the intersection of post-colonial studies, gender studies, and film studies, this book brings together a diverse corpus of over 60 documentaries, short films, téléfilms (made-for-television films), and feature films released in France between 1979 and 2014, and it devotes one chapter to each kind of film. In examining the ways in which the voices, experiences, and points of view of Maghrebi migrant women in France are represented and communicated through a selection of key films, this study offers new perspectives on Maghrebi migrant women in France. It shows that women of this generation, as they are represented in these films, are far more diverse and often more empowered than has generally been thought. The films examined in this book contribute to larger contemporary debates and discussions relating to immigration, integration, and identity in France.

'Kealhoffer-Kemp’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in the integration of Muslims in contemporary France—a topic that has again become controversial.'
Mary Jean Green, French Review

'The strength of this book lies not only in the originality of its topic, but also in the unique way it examines a large corpus of films to show the diversity within the representations of first-generation Muslim Maghrebi women.'
Mireille Rebeiz, Irish Journal of French Studies

'Muslim Women in French Cinema is well-written, well-documented and provides new insight into the subject.'
Professor Patricia Geesey, University of North Florida

'This study offers a rich compendium of resources and analyses for scholars working on French film and cultural studies across an array of disciplines.'
Greta Bliss, L'Esprit Créateur

'You will want to read and purchase this important book not only for its contribution to current discussions about French identity and the composition of the Hexagone, but also for its comprehensive overview of the various cinematic representations of this generation of women.'
Michael F. O’Riley, H-France

‘Through careful examination of a broad corpus of over sixty films produced between 1978 and 2014, Kealhofer-Kemp traces the figure of the Maghrebi woman migrant across multiple genres, whether as documentary subject or as recurrent fictional character. […] This study offers a rich compendium of resources and analyses for scholars working on French film and cultural studies across an array of disciplines.'

Greta Bliss, L’Esprit Créateur


'An excellent read for both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses at the intersections of film studies, gender studies, and religion, as well as (im)migration studies. The book also provides a detailed list of films under analysis (pp.195-198) that could be used to guide further research on the topic or to choose films to add to the syllabus.'
Shreya Parikh, Journal of Religion & Film

‘Kealhofer-Kemp demonstrates that these women harbour dreams that deserve to be acknowledged. We should pay closer attention to them, not just in a theatre, but outside it as well.'
Abhinav Tiku, Film Matters

Author Information

Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp is Assistant Professor of French at The University of Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations9
Introduction: Maghrebi Migrant Women in France and French Cinema13
1. The Voices of Maghrebi Women in Documentary Films: Framing Construction and Transparency46
2. First-Generation Women in Short Films: Crossing Barriers and Communicating Experiences through Objects82
3. The Voices of Maghrebi Migrant Women in French Téléfilms: Portraying Agency109
4. Transmitting the Voices of Maghrebi Women through Feature Films: From Verbal to Non-Verbal Forms of Communication146