ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Diasporic Gothic: Gender Conflict and Violence in South Asian Diasporic Cinema


Valanciunas Deimantas - Vilnius University, Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius, Lithuania


30- Creative and social engagement with conflict: a perspective from the South Asian Diaspora


 The discussions about violence against women and security of public spaces in India has been driven forward enormously since the ‘Nirbhaya case’ (also known as the Delhi gang rape of 2012), when a 22 years old student was brutally gang raped, tortured and murdered while travelling on a night bus in Delhi. After this gruesome assault, the media, numerous NGOs and independent social networks continue exposing and reporting hundreds of cases of rape, mutilation and disappearances of women of different ethnic and social backgrounds across the region. This has been also taken further by the Indian film industry as both commercial and independent cinemas have addressed the topic of gender conflict and violence against women in a number of recent films. This paper will investigate how South Asian diasporic filmmakers engage with, and expand the cinematographic discussion on gender-based violence in South Asia by also including the diasporic space. This paper will examine two recent South Asian diasporic films: experimental horror ‘Black Lake’ (2021) by British Pakistani artist K. Parvaiz and American supernatural film ‘Evil Eye’ (2020) by Elan and Rajeev Dassani. Since both films employ tropes and aesthetics of the Gothic genre, the paper will analyze the films in the context of a specific ‘Diasporic Gothic’ sub-genre and will investigate the ways in which narratives of haunting and possession enable filmmakers to forge a powerful transnational critique of gender-based violence.