The Mediterranean Seametery and Cementery in Leïla Kilani’s and Tariq Teguia’s Filmic Works

  • Hakim Abderrezak
Part of the Mediterranean Perspectives book series (MEPERS)


This chapter proposes new perspectives on the Mediterranean by examining the sea and the cities bordering it through the angle of clandestine migration. While the premodern Mediterranean is often depicted as a crossroads, this chapter argues that today’s Mediterranean has become a dead end for migrants and refugees attempting northward sea crossings amidst heightened anti-immigration policies and prejudice. Through the concepts of the Seametery and cementery, the chapter contends that confinement practices have contributed to the transformation of the Mediterranean Sea into a sea-cemetery and African cities into city-cemeteries. A study of two Moroccan films demonstrates that forced immobility has placed death at the core of an increasing number of contemporary North African filmic narratives.


  1. “200 migrants en provenance de Libye toujours portés disparus en Méditerranée.” 2015. Le Monde. Aug 6, 2015.Google Scholar
  2. Abderrezak, Hakim. 2009. “‘Burning the Sea’: Clandestine Migration Across the Strait of Gibraltar in Francophone Moroccan ‘Illiterature’.” Contemporary French & Francophone Studies: Sites 13 (4): 461–469.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2010. “Entretien avec Boualem Sansal.” Contemporary French & Francophone Studies: Sites 14 (4): 339–347.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2016. Ex-Centric Migrations: Europe and the Maghreb in Mediterranean Cinema, Literature, and Music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2018. “Harragas in Mediterranean Illiterature and Cinema.” In Reimagining North African Immigration: Identities in Flux in French Literature, Television and Film, ed. Véronique Machelidon and Patrick Saveau. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  6. ———. forthcoming. “The Mediterranean Spring, Sieve and Seametery.” In Refugees Studies: Contemporary Research Across the Humanities, ed. Emma Cox, Sam Durrant, David Farrier, Lyndsey Stonebridge, and Agnes Wooley.Google Scholar
  7. Ben Jelloun, Tahar. 2006. Partir. Paris: Editions Gallimard.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2009. Leaving Tangier. Trans. Linda Coverdale. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  9. Ceuta, douce prison. 2014. Dir. Jonathan Millet and Loïc H. Rechi. Zaradoc, Film.Google Scholar
  10. D’Ors, Inés. 2002. “Léxico de la emigración.” In La inmigración en la literatura española contemporánea, ed. Irene Andres-Suárez, Marco Kunz, and Inés d’Ors, 21–108. Madrid: Verbum.Google Scholar
  11. Lydie, Virginie. 2010. Traversée interdite ! Les harragas face à l’Europe forteresse. Le Pré Saint-Gervais: Le Passager clandestin.Google Scholar
  12. Manu Chao. 1998. Clandestino. Virgin Records.Google Scholar
  13. Mazauric, Catherine. 2012. Mobilités d’Afrique en Europe. Récits et figures de l’aventure. Paris: Editions Karthala.Google Scholar
  14. Nora, Pierre. 1989. Les lieux de mémoire. Tome 2: La Nation. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  15. Rome plutôt que vous. 2007. Dir. Tariq Teguia. Nefta Film, Ina, and Flying Moon.Google Scholar
  16. Sansal, Boualem. 2005. Harraga. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2015. Harraga. Trans. Frank Wynne. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  18. Tanger, le rêve des brûleurs. 2002. Dir. Leïla Kilani. Vivement Lundi!, France 3, and INA, Film.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hakim Abderrezak
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of French and ItalianUniversity of Minnesota Twin CitiesMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations