Australian Journal of French Studies

The Cinema Films Back: Colonialism, Alterity and Resistance in Chantal Akerman's La Folie Almayer

Australian Journal of French Studies (2014), 51, (1), 22–34.

Abstract

This article appraises Chantal Akerman's La Folie Almayer, freely adapted from Joseph Conrad, as a creative extension of the source text which both moves beyond and converges with the original in its representation of exile, alterity and flawed cultural and racial encounters. Transcending the geo-political and temporal specificities of the novel and embracing a female perspective, Akerman revisits Conrad's interrogation of colonialism from a personal and contemporary vantage point. By crossing the source with other intertexts and fusing fiction with autobiography, she creates a work that productively decentres and "creolises" the original. Akerman's refusal of fixed identitarian models and her opposition to the narrative conventions of mainstream cinema form a cinematic strategy of resistance concomitant with Conrad's critique of the colonial project.

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Author details

Schmid, Marion