Questions of identity: cultural encounters in Gurinder Chadha’s Bend it like Beckham
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 13:35 authored by Guido Rings
Probably more than any other European country, contemporary Britain has been deeply marked by mass immigration and diaspora, in particular from India and Pakistan, and British-Asian Cinema has joined the often rather polemic media debate about the country’s ‘multiculturalism’ as an outstanding example of diasporic reflections on the topic. Be it as a potential mirror of popular attitudes, ideas and preoccupations, or as regards the likely impact on common views and opinions on migration, research cannot afford to ignore the filmic portrayals. In this context, this article explores cultural self-representations by British-Indians in one popular example of British-Asian cinema: Chadha's Bend it like Beckham. Considering the contextual patterns of European migrant cinema, key questions are: 1) how does the film express cultural differences and to what extent does this follow traditional concepts of culture?; 2) how is the interconnectedness of cultures articulated and how does this relate to current notions of interculturality and transculturality? The paper shows how contemporary films by celebrated directors such as Gurinder Chadha, Damian O’Donnell, Hark Bohm and Philippe Faucon fall into the trap of traditional concepts of culture that break with the strong intercultural or transcultural perspectives voiced by the same directors.
Publication titleJournal of Popular Film and Television
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- Accepted version