Title

Redefining France from the Border: (Im)migration and National Identity in Olivier Baroux’s L’Italien

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Version of Record

Publication Date

8-2013

Keywords

France, cinema, immigration, national identity, border

Abstract

In the context of a shift in focus from banlieues to borders and national identity in French politics under Sarkozy, this article investigates the concurrent cinematic move to France's geographical and social periphery in L’Italien (2010). In this film set in Nice, Mourad the main character has to suppress hisAlgérianité and become “Dino the Italian” to secure a job promotion and the Frenchness his French passport should have already granted him. This article focuses on representations of the border as a site of encounter between the historical, républicain center of France and its geographical, ethnic periphery. An analysis of specific scenes reveals that L’Italien thematizes the border and constructs Mourad/Dino as a border crossing agent to question the ethnic and historical definitions of nationhood in contemporary France. More specifically, Baroux's use of France's outer geographical border exposes the internalfracture coloniale that divides modern France into its hexagonal present and its colonial past. Ultimately, through geographical and thematic liminality, L’Italien engages in a dialogue between immigration and national identity that aims to incorporate past and present immigration.

Publication Title

Sites: The Journal of Twentieth-Century/Contemporary French Studies revue d'études francais

Volume

17

Issue

4

Last Page

414

Pages

424

DOI of Published Version

10.1080/17409292.2013.817082

Publisher

Taylor and Francis