- Dissident or conformist passing: Merzak Allouache's Chouchou
- South Central Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This paper analyses the film’s contribution to the recent debate about how Western democracies use their definition of sexual freedom as a political weapon. Does Chouchou avoid the risk of reinforcing the stereotypical opposition between the homophobic native land and the xenophobic adopted country? Or how does Allouache’s double critique of Algerian and French inhospitality to sexual or national others succeed in opening up new spaces? Neither femininity nor France constitutes an ideal or idealized destination for a migrant who must constantly renegotiate his objectives. The process of constantly deferred arrival also redefines Algeria as a multiple site of origin: just as Chouchou does not become a (Western) woman, he was never simply an Algerian (man). Chouchou thus invites us to ascertain to what extent the relationship between cross dressing, dissidence and/or conformism changes in each specific context.
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