In/Visible and Im/Mobile Subjects: Diaspora and Multiculturalism in Zia Mandviwalla’s Short Films
This chapter focuses on the filmic articulations of New Zealand’s recent diasporic movements in the short films written and directed by Zia Mandviwalla, a New Zealand film-maker of Indian descent. The films I consider are Eating Sausage (2004), the story of a Korean couple recently migrated to New Zealand, Amadi (2010), about a Rwandan refugee living alone in the country, and Night Shift (2012), the story of a Samoan woman working as a cleaner at Auckland’s international airport. In line with the topic of the collection, I intend to analyze each of these short films in relation to three main aspects. Firstly, I will look at how these films engage creatively and critically with representations of diasporic subjects as invisible and marginal to monocultural national narratives. Secondly, I consider how Mandviwalla’s work contributes to make these subjects visible to a mainstream audience, contextualizing different and intersecting diasporic histories and reflecting on diverse migration experiences—whether looking at the experience of larger ethnic groups with a longer diasporic history in New Zealand, such as the Pacific community, or focusing on “new” migrants of diverse Asian descent as well as refugees of African background. Thirdly, I consider the specific intra- and interethnic relationships portrayed in these films as evidence of the cross-cultural encounters that mark New Zealand’s (unofficial) multicultural narratives. Mandviwalla’s works pose questions about the specific nature of New Zealand’s multiculturalism in the absence of an official multicultural policy that recognizes and publicly negotiates the participation of these groups in the formation of the country’s cultural and visual narratives.
KeywordsNew Zealand short film Multiculturalism Zia Mandwivalla Diasporic film Representation New Zealand ethnic minorities Film Cinema Asian New Zealand film
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