Quebec Studies

Representing Montreal's Algerian Immigrants on Stage and Screen

Quebec Studies (2004), 38, (1), 25–35.

Abstract

25 Representing Montreal's Algerian Immigrants on Stage and Screen Jane Moss Colby College Over the last ten years, I have analyzed the dramatization of the experience of immigrants to Québec in several articles that dealt with the problems encountered by Néo-Québécois in their adopted homeland. In "Multiculturalism and Postmodern Theater: Staging Quebec's Otherness" (1996), I concentrated on Marco Micone's trilogy covering three generations of Italians in Montreal, Abla Farhoud's plays about Lebanese immigrants, and Alberto Kurapel's bilingual performances about Chilean exiles. I argued that plays by immigrants staged the difficult process of integration into Québec society and opened up Québec theater to other languages, other collective memories and identities, forcing francophone Québécois to acknowledge the xenophobic and isolationist tendencies of Québec nationalism. In an article entitled "The Drama of Survival: Staging Post-Traumatic Memory in Lebanese-Québécois Plays" (2001), I explored the theatricalization of post-traumatic stress syndrome in works by Bernard Antoun, Abla Farhoud, and Wajdi Mouawad that bore witness to the horrors of the Lebanese Civil War. In "Immigrant Theater: Traumatic Departures and Unsettling Arrivals" (2004), I expanded my study of what I call a post-Québécois or post-nationalist theater of heterogeneity to include plays about Greek immigrants by Pan Bouyoucas and Miguel Retamal's drama's about Chilean political refugees. In the last section of this article, I analyzed plays by Syrian Khaldoun Imam and Moroccan Ahmed Ghazali and noted that particularly traumatic departures from the homeland, exacerbated by cultural differences, made integration into Québec society even more difficult (Moss 2004, 75). In this article, I want to pursue the representation of the experience of recent Muslim immigrants, concentrating on the film L'Ange de goudron (2001) by Denis Chouinard 1 and the documentary play Montréal, la blanche (2004) by Bachir Bensaddek. As we are constantly reminded, the September 11 attacks changed how we live our daily lives and how we see the world. The Algerian immigrant community of Québec, already under a cloud of suspicion after the arrest of Ahmed Ressam for plotting a terrorist attack on the Los Angeles airport in December 1999 and media reports about his connection to Islamic militant cells operating in Montreal,2 was under increased scrutiny after 9/11. As talk grew about the clash of civilizations, Bin Laden's declaration of jihad, and AI Qaeda sleeper cells, many in the West began to question liberal policies on immigration and multiculruralism. All of this had a chilling effect on North American Muslims, especially those in the precarious situation of seeking permanent status or asylum in Canada. During the 1990s, Canada (and Québec in particular) had been a favorite destination for Algerian immigrants according to the Department of Québec Studies, Volume 38, Fall 2004/Winter 2005

Access Token
£25.00

Adams, Lorraine. Harbor. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004. Harbor Google Scholar

Barratt, Amy. "Taxi from the Maghreb." Mirror 19.46 (6-12 May 2004). http: //www.montrealmiror.com/ARCHIVES/2004/050604/theatre.html http://www.montrealmiror.com/ARCHIVES/2004/050604/theatre.html Taxi from the Maghreb Mirror 19 Google Scholar

Bensaddek, Bachir. Montréal, la blanche. Unpublished text, 2004. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Chenelière, Evelyne de la. Au bout du fil. Bashir Lazhar. Paris: Éditions Théâtrales, 2003. 51-76. Au bout du fil. Bashir Lazhar 51 76 Google Scholar

Chouinard, Denis. L'Ange de goudron. Alliance Atlantis, 2001. Montreal: Lanctôt, coll. Scénario, 2002. L'Ange de goudron Google Scholar

"D'Alger à Montréal." Femmes arabes (mai 2004): 25. Google Scholar

Denoncourt, Frédéric. "Great Promoters of Tolerance. Denis Chouinard, Committed Filmmaker." http://www.tolerance.ca/GrandesFigures07.asp%3Flangue%3D2 Google Scholar

Desroches, Vincent. "L'Ange de goudron: inscriptions algériennes au Québec." French Review 78.6 (May 2005): 1182-87. "L'Ange de goudron: inscriptions algériennes au Québec French Review 78 1182 87 Google Scholar

Essery, Jodi. "Montréal, la blanche." Hour 20-26 May 2004. Montréal, la blanche Hour Google Scholar

Francis, Diane. Canadafirst.net. National Post online, 4 January 2000. Canadafirst.net National Post Google Scholar

Ireland, Susan. "Narratives of Return." Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec. Eds. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. 23-47. Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec 23 47 Google Scholar

Kamar, Aida. "Montréal, la blanche." L'Avenir 629 (12 mai 2004): 11. Montréal, la blanche L'Avenir 629 11 Google Scholar

Koustas, Jane. "Images of Alterity in Contemporary Québec Theater." Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec. Eds. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. 83-95. Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec 83 95 Google Scholar

Lévesque, Solange. "Du soleil algérien aux neiges montréalaises." Le Devoir 19 mai 2004. Du soleil algérien aux neiges montréalaises Le Devoir Google Scholar

Marshall, Bill. Québec National Cinema. Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 2001. Québec National Cinema Google Scholar

Maza, Meriem. "Montréal, la blanche ou la vie au futur antérieur." Femmes arabes 64 (mars 2004). "Montréal, la blanche ou la vie au futur antérieur Femmes arabes 64 Google Scholar

"Montréal, la blanche. Nuit blanche à Montréal. Alger dans le rétroviseur." Theater program for Porte Parole Production, Studio du Monument National, 7-29 May 2004. Google Scholar

Moss, Jane. "Multiculturalism and Postmodern Theater: Staging Québec's Otherness." Mosaic 29.3 (1996): 75-96. Multiculturalism and Postmodern Theater: Staging Québec's Otherness Mosaic 29 75 96 Google Scholar

Moss, Jane. "The Drama of Survival: Staging Post-Traumatic Memory in Lebanese-Québécois Plays." Theatre Research in Canada 22.2 (2001): 172-89. The Drama of Survival: Staging Post-Traumatic Memory in Lebanese-Québécois Plays Theatre Research in Canada 22 172 89 Google Scholar

Moss, Jane. "Immigrant Theater: Traumatic Departures and Unsettling Arrivals." Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec. Eds. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. 65-81. Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec 65 81 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Radz, Matt. "Reflections in a Rearview Mirror." The Gazette 12 May 2004. Reflections in a Rearview Mirror The Gazette Google Scholar

Saint-Pierre, Christian. "Taxi Driver." Voir 13-19 mai 2004. http://www.voir.ca/artsdelascene/aspxx?iIDArticle=30962 http://www.voir.ca/artsdelascene/aspxx?iIDArticle=30962 Taxi Driver Voir Google Scholar

Simon, Sherry. "The Intimate Other: Representations of Cultural Diversity in Québec Film and Video (1985-1995)." Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec. Eds. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. 51-62. Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Québec 51 62 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Moss, Jane