Outside in: ‘accented cinema’ at large
Inter-Asia Cultural Studies
363 - 382
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This paper aims to engage in a critical analysis of the concept of ‘accented cinema’ recently developed by Hamid Naficy to refer to the emergent genre of exilic/diasporic filmmaking. Naficy’s theorization of ‘accented cinema’ in particular and discussions around exilic/diasporic cinema in general will be challenged on the basis of the observation that the cinematic styles and thematic preoccupations associated with exilic/diasporic films consistently appear also in wideranging examples of contemporary ‘world’ cinema that are often classified under the rubric of ‘national cinemas’. To illustrate this observation, the paper provides a parallel reading of three recent films – A Time for Drunken Horses (1999) by Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, Happy Together (1997) by Hong Kong director Wong kar-wai, and Distant (2002) by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan – whose directors cannot possibly be considered as ‘exilic/diasporic’ in a conventional sense. Yet, it will be argued, the styles and thematic concerns associated with exilic/diasporic cinema manifestly prevail in all three films discussed in this paper as well as in many other examples of contemporary ‘world’ cinema. Departing from this observation, the paper will open up the new genre of ‘accented cinema’ to further questioning and suggest that unless the mutual entanglement between exilic/diasporic filmmaking and national cinema is disclosed, the notion of ‘accented cinema’ will not be sufficiently able to realize its critical potential.