06/11/2013, by CLAS

Brick Lane from Page to Screen: Representation, Authenticity and British Asian Cinema

Screening and discussion with Dr Ruth Maxey, American & Canadian Studies: Sarah Gavron (dir.), Brick Lane (2007)

Location: B7, The Hemsley, University Park

Date: Wednesday 13 November 2013, 6.30pm

Free Admission – All Welcome

Please join me for a screening and Q&A discussion of Sarah Gavron’s 2007 film adaptation of Monica Ali’s bestselling novel, Brick Lane (2003). Despite its critical and popular acclaim, the novel made headlines because the community it depicted – British Bangladeshis in East London – saw their fictional portrayal as inaccurate and misleading. Born in Dhaka and raised in Bolton, Ali was clearly regarded as an outsider by the residents of Brick Lane, yet those who complained most vociferously about misrepresentation constituted a minority and had in some cases not even read the novel.

Such problems resurfaced with Gavron’s film version when the right to film on location in Brick Lane was withdrawn and the 2007 Royal Film Performance at which it was due to premiere was cancelled. In view of its particular history from page to screen, how do we separate the film of Brick Lane from such controversy? How does it relate to earlier cinematic portrayals of British Asians? And regarding the questions of authenticity and appropriation which have dogged Ali herself, is it an issue that Gavron, the film’s director, is – like the filmmakers behind so many successful movies about British Asian communities – white?

Dr Ruth Maxey writes about British Asian and South Asian American cultural production and is the author of South Asian Atlantic Literature, 1970-2010. For more information on this event, please contact claire.henson@nottingham.ac.uk or ruth.maxey@nottingham.ac.uk.

Photo: James Cridland, Flickr

Posted in American and Canadian Studies