Feminist Theories of Development in Farida Benlyazid’s Double-Bildung story, La vida perra de Juanita Narboni (2005)
Farida Benlyazid’s film, La vida perra de Juanita Narboni (2005), offers viewers a novel iteration of the classic coming-of-age genre. As a film, it lies outside the preferred medium of expression for the genre and it features not one, but two distinct protagonists: Juanita (for whom the story is named) and her city, Tangier. Each half of this double narrative provides a feminist critique of the masculine projects traditionally associated with the Bildung genre. When read as a narrative of development, both the form and content of the film open up the possibility of gendering theories of development. The film’s feminist interventions destabilize the aims of Enlightenment thinking, which produced the Bildung genre, along a three-pronged axis: the film questions the processes that lead to the solidification of national boundaries; it challenges progress-oriented ideals as they relate to time and development; and it dissolves the construct of linguistic purity.