Contesting identities : Representing British South Asians in Damien O'Donnell's "East is East"

Sarah Zapata


The presence of Asian in Great Britain has added a new perspective to debates about notions such as ‘identity’, ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘Englishness’. East is East (Damien O’Donnell, 1999) explores the culture clash that occurs in the context of a half Pakistani and half British family living in early 1970’s Salford. Through its representation of an atypical family the film’s emphasis lies most conspicuously on its portrayal of the beginnings of contemporary multi-ethnic and multicultural British society. This way, the film highlights issues of cultural diversity, difference and hybridity while also raising questions about identity, belonging and the concept of Englishness. The aim of this essay will therefore be to examine how Daniel O’Donnell’s film East is East explores the paradoxical nature of “identities” inevitably swaying in between two cultures by looking at the diverse discourses on identity and how they have been constructed.


Identity; multiculturalism; hybridity; questioning of stereotypes; representation; Englishness

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Copyright (c) 2010 Sarah Zapata

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300