Queering the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema  book cover
1st Edition

Queering the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema

Edited By

James S. Williams

ISBN 9780367532130
Published May 6, 2022 by Routledge
294 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This exciting and original volume offers the first comprehensive critical study of the recent profusion of European films and television addressing sexual migration and seeking to capture the lives and experiences of LGBTIQ+ migrants and refugees.

Queering the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema argues that embodied cinematic representations of the queer migrant, even if at times highly ambivalent and contentious, constitute an urgent new repertoire of queer subjectivities and socialities that serve to undermine the patrolled borders of gender and sexuality, nationhood and citizenship, and refigure or queer fixed notions and universals of identity like ‘Europe’ and national belonging based on the model of the family. At stake ethically and politically is the elaboration of a ‘transborder’ consciousness and aesthetics that counters the homonationalist, xenophobic and homo/trans-phobic representation of the ‘migrant to Europe’ figure rooted in the toxic binaries of othering (the good vs bad migrant, host vs guest, indigenous vs foreigner). 

Bringing together 16 contributors working in different national film traditions and embracing multiple theoretical perspectives, this powerful and timely collection will be of major interest to both specialists and students in Film and Media Studies, Gender and Queer Studies, Migration/Mobility Studies, Cultural Studies, and Aesthetics.

Table of Contents


1. ’Queering The Migrant: Being Beyond Borders’

James S. Williams

Part I: Trans/migration of Bodies and Borders

2. ‘The Ghostly Queer Migrant: Queering Time, Place, and Family in Contemporary German Cinema’

Leanne Dawson

3. ‘Trans-ing Gender Boundaries and National Borders: Rethinking Identity in Merzak Allouache’s Chouchou (2003) and Angelina Maccarone’s Fremde Haut/Unveiled (2005)’ Christine Quinan

4. ‘Transnational and Migrant Queer Affects in Two Basque Films’

Alfredo Martínez Expósito and Santiago Fouz Hernández

5. ‘Queering the Cinematic Field: Migrant Love and Beauty in Rural Europe’

James S. Williams

6. ‘Facing the Queer Migrant in Nordic Noir’

Louise Wallenberg

Part II: Refuge, (Non-)hospitality, and (Anti-)Utopia

7. ‘Post-communist and Queer: Eastern European Queer Migrants on Screen’

Fanni Feldmann

8. ‘Eastern Boys (2013): Hospitality, Trauma, Kinship, and the State’

Murat Aydemir

9. ‘Almost Haven: Queer Migrants’ Temporary Refuge in Israel in Paper Dolls (2006), The Bubble (2006), and Out in the Dark (2012)’

Nir Cohen

10. ‘We are all in Xenialand: Queer poetics, Citizenship, and Hospitality in Panos H. Koutras’s Xenia (2014)’

Dimitris Papanikolaou

Part III: Space, Belonging, and (Anti-)Sociality

11. ‘Queer Belongings: Recent Irish Migrant Cinema’

Allison Macloed

12. ‘From Migration To Drift: Forging Queer Migrant Spaces and Transborder Relations in Contemporary French Cinema’

James S. Williams

13. ‘Trans-regional Optics and Queer Affiliations in the work of Jonas Carpignano’

Derek Duncan

14. ‘Inside Out: Invaders, Migrants, Borders, and Queering the Belgian Family’

Michael Gott

15. ‘Integration, perforce?: (De)queering, (De)abjectifying, and Victimising the Migrant and Minority Figure in Contemporary European Cinema’

Jeremi Szaniawski

Part IV: Curating Queer Migrant Cinema

16. Interview between Sudeep Dasgupta and James S. Williams





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James S. Williams is Professor of Modern French Literature and Film at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of (among others) The Erotics of Passage: Pleasure, Politics, and Form in the Later Work of Marguerite Duras (1997), The Cinema of Jean Cocteau (2006), Jean Cocteau (a ‘Critical Life’) (2008), Space and Being in Contemporary French Cinema (2013) and Encounters with Godard: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics (2016). He is also co-editor of The Cinema Alone: Essays on the Work of Jean-Luc Godard 1985–2000 (2000), Gender and French Cinema (2001), For Ever Godard: The Cinema of Jean-Luc Godard (2004), Jean-Luc Godard. Documents (2006) (catalogue of the Godard exhibition held at the Centre Pompidou, Paris) and May ‘68: Rethinking France’s Last Revolution (2011). His most recent monograph, Ethics and Aesthetics of African Cinema: The Politics of Beauty, was published by Bloomsbury in 2019.


"Offering rich analyses of films from a broad geographical area … the collection as a whole constitutes an important intervention with crucial societal implications … they collectively demonstrate how European films featuring queer border crossers prompt crucial questions about traditional concepts of nation, identity, and belonging, thus inviting and aiding in the development of a transnational consciousness that might transcend the xenophobic, homophobic, and homonationalist currents asserting themselves with increasing force in several areas of Europe at present."

- Film Quarterly (74:04)