Talking Dirty: Sexual Fantasy, Violence & Recognition in ‘Lila dit ca’

This talk explores sexual fantasy, violence, border control and Arab masculinity in the French-Lebanese film “Lila dit ca” (2006). “Lila dit ca” narrates inter-ethnic teen romance in a North African immigrant neighborhood of Marseilles. The film also highlights an impasse in contemporary feminist thought: the inability to address the intersection of violence and pleasure, or to think of these two things together. I ask how sexual fantasy and violence work together in “Lila dit ca” to “fix” geopolitical borders, as well as particular fantasies of racial, cultural, ethnic and sexual belonging. Most powerful about the film is its unique orchestration of spaces of affect, love, and intimacy. In relation to a wave of gang rapes, hate crimes, and heightened surveillance of ethnic and religious minorities in France and beyond post- 9/11, the film imagines love as a catalyst for personally and politically transformative modes of recognition that operate in and through an ethos of “undoing.” (Eileraas)

Karina Eileraas is a Mellon Research Associate with the Program in Critical Theory and Lecturer with the Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies Department at UC Berkeley. Her areas of interest include feminist and queer theory; women’s autobiographical practices in the Middle East and North Africa; visual culture and performance studies; sexual fantasy and violence; transnational trauma, revolution, and diaspora studies. She studied French, International Relations, and Women’s Studies at Wesleyan University, and was the first Ph.D. recipient of the Women’s Studies Program at UCLA. She has taught in Gender Studies as a Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow at Carleton College and as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Research Scholar with the Center for the Study of Women at UCLA and UCI. She recently published a book entitled Between Image and Identity: Transnational Fantasy, Symbolic Violence, & Feminist Misrecognition (Lexington Books/ Rowman & Littlefield, 2007).