Get access

When Labor and Migration Dis-Place Film: Sketch of an Idea


  • Saër Maty Bâ


This essay proposes a sketch of an Idea for how to investigate connections between Film Studies, film as a medium, labor, and migration. It begins by making three interconnected provocations: (1) histories of Film Studies, and of film as a medium, should display constant engagement with labor, work, labor movements, class, and justice; (2) in our current world of globalized capital and culture, film embodies the unending processes of adjustment intrinsic to labor, class, and migration; (3) nowadays, images cross borders and boundaries easily, and thus call for a sustained critical look at how the medium of film represents matters of labor, class, and migration. Building on these provocations, the essay argues that labor, class, and migration might be, collectively, what Alain Badiou calls “a new sun” and “a new mental country” that Film Studies must desperately find lest, perhaps, Film Studies perishes. In so doing, the essay explores three interrelated questions: firstly, ways in which belief (in specific processes) can be described, prior to being applicable to anything; secondly, in a search for the real, in a quest for what is real, how an Idea of science is mobilized; and finally, ways in which “Labor”/“Migrant Labor” and “Film” can be perceived today.

Get access to the full text of this article