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27 Apr 2019

Family-Portraits: Cohabitations and Cinema

The University of Bremen and the City 46 cinema in Bremen will be hosting a four-day international symposium about the representation of the family in cinema, showing some wonderful films which I have always been meaning to see. The programme looks fantastic and I feel immensely honoured to have been invited to give the opening Keynote address on 8 May 2019.



Edited on 17 Aug 2019 around 5pm

Category: Films

31 May 2018

MESEA 2018 Conference - Ethnicity and Kinship

The University of Graz is currently hosting the 11th MESEA (The Society for Multiethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas) conference, a truly interdisciplinay and international event. The theme is Ethnicity and Kinship: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Family, Community and Difference. I've been invited to give a Keynote which examines the death of the refugee or migrant child and the child’s ability to create elective familial bonds that disavow the significance of natural kinship in diasporic European cinema. 

Edited on 31 May 2018 around 8pm

Category: Events

01 Sep 2016

European Screens MeCETES Conference in York

The EU-funded MeCETES project is going to host its final conference in York from 5-7 September 2016. The programme of European Screens looks fantastic with speakers from all over Europe. Identity politics in European cinema and television are a prominent concern of many papers. 

Together with Laura Rascaroli (University College Cork) and Tiim Bergfelder (Southampton), I have been invited to contribute to a Plenary Panel, Transnational Adventures: European Screens, European Identities. We will be exploring a diverse range of topics, ranging from supranational identities over the representation of place to interethic romance in European cinema. 

My paper will focus on films set amongst Europe’s rapidly growing migrant and diasporic communities.  Interethnic romance often functions as a litmus test about attitudes towards immigrants and ethnic minorities. 

Read further details

Edited on 01 Sep 2016 around 12pm

Category: Films

24 Jun 2015

Keynote about Interethnic Romance at LovingDay.NL

Daniela Berghahn gave a Keynote address entitled 'Interethnic Romance and Mixed Families in Contemporary European Cinema' at LovingDay.NL on 12 June 2015. LovingDay.NL, which has been inspired by the American annual celebrations Loving Day, is a public event celebrating mixed couples. 12 June is the anniversary of the 1967 Supreme Court decision in the case of Loving vs. Virginia. In this momentous ruling, the United States Supreme Court abolished all anti-miscegentation laws remaining in force in 16 U.S. states at the time. The Supreme Court ruled: "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause."

LovingDay.NL was launched in 2013 with an annual symposium at De Balie, the most important cultural centre for public debate in Amsterdam. De Balie is leading in organising public debate activities with national impact. In 2015, the LovingDay.NL programme is co-curated by Betty de Heart (Professor of Migration Law) at Amsterdam University's Centre for European Law and Governance.

Edited on 24 Jun 2015 around 1pm

Category: Films

06 Mar 2015

Childhood and Nation in World Cinema

This international reserach network, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Dr Sarah Wright at Royal Holloway, addresses issues that tie in with my research on far-flung families. Childhood and Nation in World Cinema: Borders and Encounters since 1980  presents an interdisciplinary, international, and multi-modal interrogation of the appropriations of childhood in the cinematic imaginaries of diverse national projects. Tropes of belonging, exclusion and inter-cultural encounter in world cinema are identified at national and transnational levels.


Edited on 06 Mar 2015 around 9am

Category: Films

12 Sep 2014

Far-Flung Families in Film now available as paperback

My latest book is now out in paperback. At the price of just £23.69 at Amazon, it is now much more affordable than the hardback version, published last year. 

For details about the content of the individual chapters, see my blog entry from 25 May 2013.

Edited on 12 Sep 2014 around 11am

Category: Films

14 Sep 2013

Videos of La famille of cinéma conference

In June 2013, the University of La Rochelle organised an interdisciplinary conference entitled La famille au cinéma, where I delivered a keynote address. Videos of all conference papers and round table discussions are now available, including my keynote on 'Immigrant Families and Alternative Models of Family Life in European Cinema'

Edited on 14 Sep 2013 around 11am

Category: Films

25 May 2013

Far-Flung Families in Film published!

If you found some of the entries on this website interesting, you will be able to find out a great deal more about the subject by reading the book  Far-Flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Cinema,  which was published earlier this month by Edinburgh University Press. 

You can order the book at or at Edinburgh University Press

In this monograph I seek to answer a number of key questions: Why have films with diasporic family narratives increased in popularity in recent years? How do representations of the diasporic family differ from those of more dominant social groups? How does diasporic cinema negotiate the conventions of film genres commonly associated with the representation of the family?

In the age of globalisation, diasporic and other types of transnational family are increasingly represented in films such as East is East, The Grand Tour (Le Grand Voyage), Almanya – Welcome to Germany (Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland), Immigrant Memories (Mémoires d’immigrés: l’héritage maghrébin), Couscous (La graine et le mulet), When We Leave (Die Fremde), Monsoon Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  While there is a significant body of scholarship on the family in Hollywood cinema, this is the first book to analyse the representation of families with an immigration background from a comparative transnational perspective. It focuses on Europe’s most established transnational film cultures, Black and Asian British, Maghrebi French (or ‘beur’) and Turkish German cinema, and analyses key trends from the mid-1980s to the present.

Drawing on critical concepts from diaspora studies, cultural anthropology, socio-historical research on diasporic families and the burgeoning field of transnational film studies, this book offers original critical perspectives to scholars and students who are researching families and issues of race and ethnicity in cinema, the media and visual culture. 


'Far-Flung Families in Film explores the conflicted tensions sustaining its key terms "diasporic' and 'family'. Giving full scope to the centrifugal and centripetal forces at work, Daniela Berghahn admirably proves that the "transnational turn" has energized not only filmmakers, but invigorated debate among the academic community as well.' - Thomas Elsaesser, author of European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood

'Daniela Berghahn provides a timely, wide-ranging, and engaging analysis of diasporic family films made by key directors from around the world living in Europea and identifies a new European cinema in the new multicultural Europe.' - Hamid Naficy, author of An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking 

'This beautifully illustrated book is a milestone in the study of diasporic film and 'accented cinema' (Hamid Naficy), and it also marks a particularly original and much-needed contribution to transnational cinema studies.' - Book review by Márta Minier in Transnational Cinemas, 5:1, 2014


Read further details

Edited on 12 Sep 2014 around 9am

Category: Films

18 Mar 2013

La famille au cinéma - conference at La Rochelle University

I am delighted to see that interest in the family on screen is gaining momentum - or have I simply become more aware of new films, books and conferences because I have a vested interest in the topic?

I am particularly looking forward to a conference entitled The Family in Film organised by the interdisciplinary research team 'Droit et cinéma' that has been exploring the interface of film and law at a number of international conferences for the past five years. I will be giving a keynote lecture provisionally entitled 'Immigrant families and alternative models of family life in European cinema'. 

The conference will take place between 28 - 29 June 2013 at the University of La Rochelle.

Read further details

Edited on 18 Mar 2013 around 4pm

Category: Films

26 Oct 2011

From Far-flung Families to Welcoming Strangers

Far-flung families in Film will have an afterlife, even though the AHRC Fellowship ‘The Diasporic Family in Cinema’ has ended. For the academic year 2011-12, I was awarded a HARC (same letters, different sequence, stands for Humanities and Arts Research Centre) Fellowship at Royal Holloway under this year’s programme theme ‘Welcoming Strangers’


Read further details

Edited on 26 Oct 2011 around 4pm

Category: Films

22 Aug 2011

‘Coming out’ in the diasporic family

What Wei-Wei and Simon in The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, 1993), Omar and Johnny in My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985), Nazir and his white British hairdresser boyfriend in East Is East (Damien O’Donnell, 1999), Lola, Murat and Bili in Lola and Bilidikid, Alim and Giles in Touch of Pink (Iqbal Rashid, 2004), Nina and Lisa in Nina’s Heavenly Delights and Emrah and Tim in Evet, ich will! (Evet, I Do!, Sinan Akkus, 2008) have in common is that they are involved in a homosexual or lesbian relationship, in most cases with a partner who belongs to the majority culture, and that their families do not know anything about it until their secret is revealed.

I have often been wondering why the 'coming out' of queer sons and daughters is such a prominent theme in diasporic family films.  Without wanting to suggest that I can provide a straightforward answer, I’d like to put forward a few hypotheses here. 

Read further details

Edited on 22 Aug 2011 around 12pm

Category: Films

06 Jun 2011

Conference Report ‘The Diasporic Family in Cinema’

The conference The Diasporic Family in Cinema was held on 21 May 2011 and co-hosted by the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, the Centres for Film and Media Studies and Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS, in association with the Screen Studies Group of the University of London and the Ciné Lumière. It aimed to bring together people whose academic and professional paths might otherwise not cross. Most importantly, the conference provided a platform for an exchange of ideas and perspectives between academia and the film industry.

Podcasts of this conference are available here.

Read further details

Edited on 17 Jun 2011 around 11pm

Category: Films

28 Mar 2011

‘Bollywood meets Hollywood… and it’s a perfect match’: In love with Bollywood-style weddings

The other day when I was flying back from the SCMS conference in New Orleans (where I convened a panel on ‘Family and Nation in the Age of Globalisation’ – soon to be podcast on this site!), my colleague and fellow traveller Sarita Malik, who knows that I have a professional interest in ‘diasporic wedding films’, recommended The Accidental Husband (2008) to me - ‘because there’s an Indian wedding scene’. 

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Edited on 04 Apr 2011 around 1pm

Category: Films

15 Feb 2011

Families, families everywhere. Some thoughts on families at the Berlin Film Festival

At this year’s Berlinale, there are so many films about families that it almost seems as if Dieter Kosslick and his colleagues had been meaning to do me a favour when they put together the programme of the 61st Film Festival…Or has the family recently emerged as a particularly popular theme, or is it simply that my own perception has changed? Working on the diasporic family in cinema, films about family life suddenly seem omnipresent…they probably always were, only I did not notice before.

Read further details

Edited on 22 Feb 2011 around 6pm

Category: Films

27 Jan 2011

The issue of honour killings – an issue in Maghrebi French or Black and British Asian cinema?

Much has been written about the representation of the oppressed and victimised Turkish German woman who featured prominently in the early days Turkish German cinema. Two recent high-profile films revisit this theme, albeit in significantly modified form, introducing the issue of honour killings. 

Read further details

Edited on 15 Feb 2011 around 10am

Category: Films

19 Jan 2011

What’s in a title? Die Fremde and When We Leave

Having watched Die Fremde, Germany’s Oscar nomination for the Academy Awards next month, I have been thinking about the film’s German and English titles and the different expectations raised. As Feo Aladag, who wrote the screenplay and directed the film, explains in an interview (on the German-language DVD) ‘Die Fremde’ (literally ‘the foreigner’ or ‘the alien’) refers to Umay’s estrangement from her family, that is, her parents, brothers and her sister. ‘Die Fremde’ can also mean ‘a foreign country’ (normally used in the collocation ‘in der Fremde leben’/’living in a foreign country’) and, in this sense, it refers to the experience of Umay’s family, in particular her father and mother, who are first-generation Turkish immigrants living in Berlin. 

Read further details

Edited on 15 Feb 2011 around 10am

Category: Films

15 Jan 2011

The picture of the little girl and the big ship

When the website was designed, I was looking for a picture capable of expressing the idea what the diasporic family is all about in a single frame. I had two images in mind: one that signified transnational mobility and the rupture of family ties, the other that signified being settled and together again. A scene from Couscous (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2007), showing a family sitting round a table eating this quintessentially North African meal, seemed to encapsulate the second idea.

But then I found the still on the banner of this website, taken from Yamina Benguigui’s Immigrant Memories (1997).

Read further details

Edited on 15 Feb 2011 around 10am

Category: Films

14 Jan 2011

Who’s in, who’s out? What exactly is the diasporic family?

When I tell friends and colleagues that I am working on far-flung families in film, I often get asked whether I include films depicting 'families of choice' or 'surrogate families', which are more or less closely knit friendship groups, often consisting of gays and lesbians. In what Anthony Giddens has referred to as 'the emerging democracy of emotions' (1999),  affectionate bonds and love have been identified as the defining feature of the family. ‘Love makes a family – nothing more, nothing less’, has after all been the rallying cry of those advocating family diversity, in particular, gay and lesbian civil rights movements. 

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Edited on 15 Feb 2011 around 10am


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