Paris spaces
Work in Progress Presentation: Who are We? Reconceiving the French Nation Through Everyday Spaces in Alice Diop's "Nous" (2021)
4pm - 5pm
French Library of Thought (4229 Dwinelle Hall)

Presenter: Maya Sidhu, Ph.D.

"Contemporary political debates surrounding French national identity have been fierce, as the injustices suffered by racialized groups are considered by some a threat to national unity. Documentarists such as Nora Phillipe, Amandine Gay, and Alice Diop are at the forefront of re-imagining a more inclusive picture of the multitude of identities within the French nation, giving voice to communities of color long ignored by the French film industry.

This paper considers the most recent film of Alice Diop, Nous (2021), in which Diop explores the experiences of individuals living along the lines of the RER train on the outskirts of Paris, with a focus on Black, immigrant, and elderly populations.

I will consider how Diop employs the use of off-screen sound to allow for a contemplation of the spaces that her subjects inhabit, reconsidering the mundane as poetic. Diop’s lyric, compassionate treatment of the banlieue is an invitation to recover its meaning in French film history as a site of violence, crime, and neglect of communities living at the margins."