Ten Arab Filmmakers provides an up-to-date overview of the best of Arab cinema, offering studies of leading directors and in-depth analyses of their most important films. The filmmakers profiled here represent principal national cinemas of the Arab world—Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Syria. Although they have produced many of the region’s most-renowned films and gained recognition at major international festivals, with few exceptions these filmmakers have received little critical attention. All ten share a concern with giving image and voice to people struggling against authoritarian regimes, patriarchal traditions, or religious fundamentalism—theirs is a cinéma engagé.
The featured directors are Daoud Abd El-Sayed, Merzak Allouache, Nabil Ayouch, Youssef Chahine, Mohamed Chouikh, Michel Khleifi, Nabil Maleh, Yousry Nasrallah, Jocelyne Saab, and Elia Suleiman.
“This volume offers perceptive essays on ten filmmakers from the Arab world, covering a wide span of countries and representing older as well as younger generations. Free of academic jargon and notable for their general accessibility, the essays, by authors from a variety of disciplines, provide biographies of the directors, characterize their dominant interests, themes, and aesthetic concerns, and closely examine individual films. The collection greatly enriches our understanding of the strains and tensions within individual countries and across the region, helping us appreciate the complexity of the region’s filmmaking context and the region’s immense cultural vitality.”
— Kevin Dwyer, author of Beyond Casablanca: M. A. Tazi and the Adventure of Moroccan Cinema
“[A] welcome addition to the scholarship on Arab film. . . . [I]ncludes a rich and well selected mix of important directors from across the region [and offers] an authoritative and comprehensive accounting of each director’s biography, his or her important works, and the political, social, and cultural contexts in which she or he has worked. Clearly written and accessible, Ten Arab Filmmakers will be a welcome addition to university courses on Arab cinema. It will inform students’ viewings of these filmmakers’ works and facilitate their understanding of the contexts from which they emerged and in which they circulate.”
— Nadia Yaqub, University of North Carolina
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Auteur Directors, Political Dissent, and Social Critique Josef Gugler
1. Nabil Maleh: Syria’s Leopard (Syria) Christa Salamandra
2. Jocelyne Saab: A Lifetime Journey in Search of Freedom and Beauty (Lebanon) Dalia Said Mostafa
3. Michel Khleifi: Filmmaker of Memory (Palestine) Tim Kennedy
4. Elia Suleiman: Narrating Negative Space (Palestine) Refqa Abu-Remaileh
5. Youssef Chahine: Devouring Mimicries or Juggling with Self and Other (Egypt) Viola Shafik
6. Daoud Abd El-Sayed: Parody and Borderline Existence (Egypt) Viola Shafik
7. Yousry Nasrallah: The Pursuit of Autonomy in the Arab and European Film Markets (Egypt) Benjamin Geer
8. Mohamed Chouikh: From Anti-colonial Commemoration to a Cinema of Contestation (Algeria) Guy Austin
9. Merzak Allouache: (Self-)Censorship, Social Critique and the Limits of Political Engagement in Contemporary Algerian Cinema (Algeria) Will Higbee
10. Nabil Ayouch: Transgression, Identity, and Difference (Morocco) Jonathan Smolin