Cinema is returning to Saudi Arabia — and Saudi Arabia is turning to cinema, as the Kingdom’s movie industry is to be showcased for the first time in Cannes at the 71st Film Festival, which opened this week.
Since its birth, film has been deeply entrenched in the Middle East, not least because it is such an obvious descendant of Arab storytelling and literary traditions.
First published in 1998, this book has become an indispensable work for scholars of film and the contemporary Middle East, offering a comprehensive overview of cinema in the Arab world, tracing the industry’s development from colonial times to the present.
The strong focus on Egyptian cinema is understandable since more than half of all Arab films originated there, and Shafik also examines the effects of that market dominance. But she also looks at films made by other Arab nations, exploring the differences and similarities among them.
The author also explains the historical, political, religious and economic context that decides what films are made, how they are made and where they are shown. The book has been updated to reflect cultural shifts in the past 20 years, highlighting the latest developments in film-making, especially in Iraq, the Gulf states, Lebanon and Palestine.