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Performativity, Self-reflexivity, and the Archive: Transnational family memory as national counter-historiography in Fatih Akin‘s Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren (2001) and Sandhya Suri’s I for India (2005)
Halmstad University.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0068-8063
2009 (English)In: Families and Memories, a Committee on Family Research OSLO, JUNE 15-17, 2009: ABSTRACTS, 2009Conference paper, (Refereed)
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Acclaimed German film director Fatih Akin‘s documentary Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren (We forgot to return home, 2001) and Sandhya Suri’s film essay I for India (2005) both deal with questions of memory and belonging. Both films employ a parallel strategy of the filmmakers interviewing their parents, who migrated to Germany (from Turkey) or to Britain (from India) respectively. Suri’s film is based on super8-footage shot by her father that was originally sent to his family in India, recording the life of this 1st generation migrant family in Britain. In turn, Suri’s family received films and tapes from India. Thus, the home movie footage forms an epistolary account of the creation of transnational memory production. Furthermore, her film shows how some experiences are silenced and how a certain (official) narration of home and belonging is created. Also Akin’s film not only documents migrant history, but is in itself a document of the construction of memory.I would like to focus on the following questions: How does individual memory become collective memory? What aesthetic devices (use of archive footage, modes of self-reflexivity) do the filmmakers employ to broaden the narrative, to make the personal political? In what way do these films form a counter-history to the hegemonic national discourse in which migrant experiences are marginalized, objectified or rendered invisible?In what way can these films become a source for migrant historiography? Do they even exceedthe representational level? My point is that these films are not mere documentaries and should not only be read from a mimetic perspective, as “representations” of “ethnicity”, but are more interesting to look at from the perspective of performativity. They show in what way memory is shaped, how a narrative is constructed and how individuals create their own perception of reality. Thus, they take an anti-essentialist stand and avoid presenting their characters as objects, granting them agency and subjectivity instead.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
Keyword [en]
Fatih Akin, Sandhya Suri, India, transnational memory
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Humanities, Film Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-48406OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-48406DiVA: diva2:883120
Conference
“Families and Memories”, Oslo University College and Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (HL-center), Oslo 15-17 June 2009
Note

Ej belagd 160502

Available from: 2010-07-04 Created: 2015-12-16 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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