Drôle de Félix : A Search for Cultural Identity on the Road
With the emergence of la culture beur in the 1980s – and the birth of a new type of filmmaking influenced by postcolonial politics, world cinema, the new hood films of the African-American community and its hip hop culture – questions of identity, multiculturalism and being mixed-race came to the fore. Since then, many films have tackled the representation of France’s ethnic minorities onscreen and attempted to move towards representing the dream 2007 presidential candidate Ségolène Royal expressed of a ‘Mixed-Race France’. This article will explore representations of ethnicity, gender and sexuality in Drôle de Félix/The Adventures of Felix (1999), through the figure of Félix, a homosexual, mixed-race (French-North African) man searching for his absent father and his ‘true’ identity. The film focuses on the demystification of imperialist absolutes and divisions to reveal what lies between, in the interstices. Through its focus on transgressive identity it transforms traditional representations to explore what lies beyond. This article interrogates the representational schema of Drôle de Félix, by exploring the cinematic stereotypes and taboos challenged and maintained in the film in comparison to traditional beur cinema and established ideas of Maghrebi-French characters in French cinema.
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