Although directed by a Francophone Québécois film-maker, Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Léolo (1992) presents a cinematic treatment of Italy that foregrounds exile as theorized by Hamid Naficy’s concept of ‘accented cinema’. Léolo also recasts the family romance trope, which Heinz Weinmann highlights as central to Quebec cinema. Meanwhile, commentators have stressed the deeply political dimensions of Léolo despite Lauzon’s disavowal of any nationalist intent. This film consequently provides insights into the ambivalent role of Italians in Quebec’s struggle to confront the challenges posed by immigration and by its own colonial history. The current article therefore explores Léolo through a framework combining accented cinema and the family romance, and juxtaposes this text with Caffè Italia Montréal, a film which epitomizes accentedness in the context of Quebec’s Italian community. This analysis thus reveals how, in Léolo, a cinematically unasserted Indigenous influence intertwines with overtly fantasized Italianness to complicate Lauzon’s position on national identity. In so doing, this article comes to affirm the centrality of Indigenous concerns for grasping intercultural relationships whether formed through colonialism or contemporary immigration.

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Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies
School for Studies in Art and Culture

Dyer, K. (2017). Léolo’s fantasized Italy: Family romance and accented cinema in Quebec. Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, 5(1), 47–64. doi:10.1386/jicms.5.1.47_1