Cinematic representations of diaspora: Italians and Jews
Lesley Marx, Robin Cohen
In this article we consider recent re-evaluations of the concept of diaspora and extend the notion of diasporic space using cinematic representations of two diasporic experiences, Italian and Jewish. The first film selected is the work of Edward Dmytryk, a controversial member of the Hollywood Ten (prominent film-makers who refused to disclose their political affiliations during the McCarthy period). The second film is the work of Joan Micklin Silver, who, starting her career in the 1970s, draws particular attention to female experiences of diaspora. The two cases and their respective filmic treatments show significant divergences. However, they are both concerned with the complex tasks of trying to retain elements of the old ways while finding legitimate cultural and social expression in the New World. Our analysis of the films also demonstrates the complex ways in which the New and Old Worlds are spatially and imaginatively linked in the diasporic consciousness.