Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity

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Since it was first published in 1998, Viola Shafik’s Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity has become an indispensable work for scholars of film and the contemporary Middle East. Combining detailed narrative history—economic, ideological, and aesthetic—with thought-provoking analysis, Arab Cinema provides a comprehensive overview of cinema in the Arab world, tracing the industry’s development from colonial times to the present. It analyzes the ambiguous relationship with commercial western cinema, and the effect of Egyptian market dominance in the region. Tracing the influence on the medium of local and regional art forms and modes of thought, both classical and popular, Shafik shows how indigenous and external factors combine in a dynamic process of “cultural repackaging.”

Now updated to reflect cultural shifts in the last ten years of cinema, this revised edition contains a new afterword highlighting the latest developments in popular film and in cinéma d’auteur (art house movies), with a special focus on Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. While exploring problematic issues such as European co-production for Arab art films, including their relation to cultural identity and their reception in the region and abroad, this new edition introduces readers to some of the most compelling cinematic works of the last decade.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press; Revised edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9774160657
  • ISBN-13: 978-9774160653
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Customer Reviews

Great Book with an interesting point of view!

One person found this helpful.
 on February 8, 2013
By Melinda S.
I had to read this book for a class at school and was expecting it to be pretty boring. I was pleseantly proved wrong! This book is very interesting and the way in which she looks as film through the individual cultures within the Arab world. If you are interested in film or in Arab culture and history, this would be a great book for you.

A very brief review of Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity

One person found this helpful.
 on October 19, 2011
By N. Kader
Great introduction to how Arab culture shapes Middle Eastern cinema. However, if you do not know much about Arabic culture, this may not be the best place to start. It can be overwhelming but is an important book to have for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Pan Arab cinema.

Five Stars

 on March 21, 2015
By Wafa Daoud

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