This is the first study to cover cinemas from Iran to Morocco. Nine essays present the region's major national cinemas, devoting special attention to the work of directors who have given image and voice to dissent from political regimes, from patriarchal customs, from fundamentalist movements, and from the West. These country essays are complemented by in-depth discussions of eighteen films that have been selected for both their excellence and their critical engagement with pressing current issues. The introduction provides a comprehensive overview of filmmaking throughout the region, including important films produced outside the national cinemas. The long history of Iranian cinema, its international renown, and the politics of directors confronting the state, earns it a special place in this volume. The other major emphasis is on the Israel/Palestine conflict, featuring films by Palestinian directors, Israelis, and an Egyptian working in Syria.
Nineteen authors collaborated on this book, among them Walter Armbrust, Roy Armes, Kevin Dwyer, Eric Egan, Nurith Gertz, Lina Khatib, Florence Martin, and Nadia Yaqub. About half of the contributors are film scholars; the others range across literary studies and the social sciences to two film directors and a novelist. Beyond differences in disciplinary orientation, there is considerable variation among contributors in the perspectives that inform their writing. They offer an illuminating range of approaches to the cinemas of the region.
The book is richly illustrated with posters of the featured films, photos of their directors at work, and stills illustrating critical arguments in the film essays.
Josef Gugler is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, where he continues to teach on the cinemas of the Middle East and Africa. A late convert to film studies, he is the author of African Film: Re-Imagining a Continent. He served as a member of the jury for long fiction films at Pan Africa International, Montreal, 2010.