Week 8- Diaspora (My Beautiful Laundrette)

I found Rahul Gairola’s piece, “Capitalist Houses, Queer Homes,” particularly interesting for its discussion on the concept of “home” and how it relates to two isolating identities—immigrant identity and queer identity. Gairola notes that “home” took on specific connotations in the age of Thatcherism—in which “home” was made up of “naturalized privileged sexual categories at the expense of others” and a societal climate of xenophobia pervaded (38). Gairola identifies the combination of neoliberal capitalist structures and the queer acts/agents in the film.

Reading about Gairola’s discussion of “home” and its implications in the era of Reagan and Thatcher brought to mind Law of Desire by Pedro Almodóvar in which many of the scenes of “home” are inhabited by an abnormal formulation of family—a gay man, his transgender sister, and the girl she is caring for. Gairola identifies the protagonists’ acts of resistance in My Beautiful Laundrette as a rejection of “traditional sites of inhabitation that buttress exclusive ideals” (39). Almodóvar’s strategy often brings marginalized characters into the mainstream through appropriation and normative representation.

I find the political implications of queer cinema in the 80s really interesting, and I can only assume that many of the points that Gairola brings forth in his piece will be applicable to our later focus on the work of Almodóvar.

Gairola, Rahul K. “Capitalist Houses, Queer Homes: National Belonging and Transgressive Erotics in My Beautiful Laundrette.” South Asian Popular Culture. Volume 7, Issue 1 (2009): p. 37 – p. 54.

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