12 Years in Diasporic Hell

First thing’s first I’m going to apologise for such a late set of blog posts. Having been ill and generally non attentive this last fortnight, I have consequentially disregarded this form of assessment. Therefore, you can all expect a slew of written and video posts from me in the next week as I seek to rectify my outrageous absence.

Now that all of that is out of the way, lets begin with today’s first blog topic: Diaspora in Cinema. As you all can imagine, I am thrilled to talk about cinema in any gauge, and being able to flex my SJW muscles whilst doing so gives me even more pleasure. So, what is Diaspora?

Diaspora, is the act of a single culture living outside the area in which they had lived for a long time or in which their ancestors lived. The most common form of diaspora comes in the form of colonialism, however, today’s film revolves around cinema appealing to the displacement of native Africans from their homeland and more specifically, their placement in North America.

Using cinema in order to convey diaspora makes that film a “Diasporic Film”. These films embody the concepts of diaspora by appealing to persons who are attempting to assimilate to a culture other than their own. It has accurate representations from both the “Home” culture as well as the “Host” culture and has the potential to “enhance the confidence of minority ethnic individuals and communities” and will therefore “increase access to, and active participation in, media production” (Cottle, 2000). Examples of this include many cross culture films such as “The Hundred-Foot Journey”, “The Darjeeling Limited” or our focus film for today, “12 Years a Slave”.

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(12 Years a Slave, 2013)

12 Years a Slave was directed by Steve McQueen and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, British born Nigerian ancestry actor as Solomon Northup, the film follows Solomon on his harrowing journey as a slave and diasporic victim within the pre civil war United States. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, a notoriously diverse, truly global film festival which properly embodied the sort of diasporic themes thet this film introduced.

Now I could go on for hours about this movie, and honestly I may in my final essay. But this snippet at least gives you an idea about what diaspora is and how it can translate over to cinema. If you have any questions, the towel section follow is always the best way to get in touch. See you all in my next post!

 

References:

12 Years a Slave. (2013). [film] USA | UK: Steve McQueen.

Merriam-webster.com. (2016). Definition of DIASPORA. [online] Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diaspora [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

Ukessays.co.uk. (2016). Diasporic media play in migrant communities. [online] Available at: http://www.ukessays.co.uk/essays/media/diasporic-media-play-in-migrant-communities.php [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

The Darjeeling Limited. (2007). [film] USA: Wes Anderson.

The Hundred Foot Journey. (2014). [film] USA | United Arab Emirates | India: Lasse Hallström.

TIFF. (2016). The Official Site of Toronto International Film Festival. [online] Available at: http://www.tiff.net [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

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