Banlieue Chronicles: A ’demigrantising’, historical look at cinematic representations of the ill-famed French suburbs

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

In the French and international public eye, the French banlieue, i.e., primarily the large housing estates on the outskirts of the major cities, has come to be associated with crime and violence perpetrated by ‘bad immigrant youth’. The present paper seeks to ‘demigrantise’ the discourse on the banlieues by taking a historical look at French cinema’s representation of the housing estates from their construction during the 1950s, i.e., decades before the immigrants moved in, until the early 1980s. It highlights how French feature films have linked the suburban housing estates to all kinds of trouble, not least juvenile delinquency, ever since the 1960s. While the paper does not go much into the already widely discussed banlieue cinema from the 1980s on, it does take a look at two recent films that address radicalisation, Islamist jihadism as well as violent far-right nationalism, linking both to the dehumanising life conditions in la banlieue. It ends up by returning to the ‘migrantisation’ of the social ills pervading la banlieue, arguing that the stereotypical criminalisation of youth ‘with immigration background’ may lead to actual criminal behaviour, sometimes of an extremely violent kind.
TidsskriftStudies in European Cinema
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)249-267
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - 13 nov. 2017

ID: 182892668