Identity and representation under occupation: cultural conflict in contemporary cinema

Melling, Michelle (2006) Identity and representation under occupation: cultural conflict in contemporary cinema. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Three films representing recent conflicts are examined: Kandahar (Moshen Makhmalbaf, 2001), NicU? zemija (No Man's Land, Danis Tanovic 2001), and Yadon llaheyya (Divine Intervention, Elia Suleiman, 2002). The three films exemplify the ways in which the concepts: of home, nation and identity are "inextricably interwoven" in both the actualities of the conflicts, and physical and psychological occupations depicted, and in their cinematic representation.
The intertwining of the theme of identity with the themes of home and nation in the films is considered and the blending
of fact and fiction within the narrative, through character, plot and dialogue is exposed. The role of history is considered to understand its influence on contemporary events in each conflict. The films suggest that it is impossible to understand ethnic or national identity without considering history and its support for a fixed identity. Within conflict, identity seems locked in the past, in a version that sustains political commitment. The impact of nation and the ideology purported by national elites on identity and how that impact resonates in the space of home is assessed.
Whilst individuals conceive of the self within an historical, cultural and experiential paradigm, many factors contribute
to selthood. The way in which identity is defined by difference is discussed and the staging of identity for the spectator within film is examined.

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