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Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema


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About the Author

Terri Ginsberg is a director at the International Council for Middle East Studies in Washington, D.C. She is the editor of a special issue on media and film of the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, and the author of Holocaust Film: The Political Aesthetics of Ideology. Chris Lippard is assistant professor of Film Studies and director of Graduate Studies in Film at the University of Utah. He has published work on Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, Dennis Potter, F. W. Murnau, and Jorge Sanjines. With contributions from: Farshad Aminian (Florida Gulf Coast University) Savas Arslan (Bahcesehir University) Sandra Carter (Penn State University) Anne Ciecko (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) Gayatri Devi (Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania) Iman Hamam (American University in Cairo) Helga Tawil-Souri (New York University) Mark Westmoreland (American University in Cairo)


Ginsberg (Holocaust Film) and Lippard (By Angels Driven), along with eight distinguished field scholars, provide the foremost subject dictionary, intended to support deeper inquiry into Middle Eastern filmmakers' representation of culture, history, and self. Entries cover films, figures, production companies, cinematic concepts, and key terms relevant to the various nations positioned between Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. However, among the 500 alphabetized entries are also productions made by exiled or otherwise politically dispersed Middle Easterners. While acknowledging North American and European filmic depictions, the authors devote less time to these outsider interpretations. Instead, the multiparagraph, fully cross-referenced entries offer specifics on whether profiled films were intended for domestic or international audiences, and consideration is given to how these particulars impact characterization and self-depiction. The entries are bookended by a chronology, dating the inception of Middle Eastern cinema to 1896 Lumiere screenings in Egypt, and a 51-page film list, organized by country. A 31-page further reading list rounds out the work. BOTTOM LINE While it extends well beyond the chronological boundaries of Lina Khatib's Filming the Modern Middle East, this is still a fitting complement. Recommended for collections serving Middle Eastern-focused studies and film studies. * Library Journal *
This work by Ginsberg (International Council for Middle East Studies) and Lippard (Univ. of Utah) will be a necessary purchase for most academic and large public libraries because it is the first English-language dictionary published on Middle Eastern cinema as a whole....This new historical dictionary opens with a valuable chronology, covering 1896-2009, and dealing with outstanding cinematic events in the region. Key sociopolitical events are also mentioned, to provide context. Following a brief but helpful introduction, the body of the dictionary provides A-Z entries on significant films, filmmakers, stars, and topics of concern. These topics include but are not limited to film schools, festivals, centers, organizations, movements, genres and types of film (e.g., Beur cinema), themes (e.g., women, Islam), and historical summaries of national cinemas under the nation's name. This volume offers pioneering coverage of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and provides references for their nascent cinematic developments. It is blessed with a substantial and valuable filmography and bibliography, the latter classified into general works and then into works by nation; it covers both journal articles and books....This is an excellent buy and should see heavy use in libraries. Essential. * CHOICE *
For students or aficionados of specialized topics, the various Historical Dictionary series can mean the difference between starting the research process or finding nothing at all. Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema, part of the Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts series, is a prime example. The authors are both specialists in the field, with substantial publication credentials. The volume starts with a chronology that begins in 1896 (the first Lumiere screenings in Egypt) and concludes in 2009 (the use of YouTube for political purposes in Iran; the first Palestinian American feature film). The lengthy introductory essay that follows concludes with an explanation of what countries are not included and why. The 500 or so A-Z entries cover people (including actors, directors, critics, composers, writers, and important historic figures), specific films, styles of film, concepts, and more. Entries on individual countries are several pages long and outline the place of the country within the region, its contribution to the history of the film, and important films and individuals. Entries about concepts such as Gender and sexuality and Nationalism focus on how these have been treated in film. The entries on the films themselves, which include information on the director, actors, plot, and significance, may be the most consulted entries in the volume. An alphabetically arranged filmography is cross-referenced to the dictionary entries. The bibliography that follows is divided by subject. This book is essential for all academic libraries where film study is important and should be given consideration by larger public libraries in areas with a large Middle Eastern population. * Booklist *
This dictionary is recommended for all academic libraries, and for larger public libraries. It would also be a useful reference for anyone involved in the film industry. * American Reference Books Annual *
As a preface, [the Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema asks] about the future of these types of cinema which flourish in the Middle East. It is difficult to predict what will come of low-distribution films which are prey to the giants of Hollywood and Bollywood. Whatever may happen, we can only be thankful for this dictionary, the main aim of which is to make the gems of Middle Eastern cinema accessible to a large audience. They regretfully tend to stay inaccessible to an audience that does not speak the language of the film or, in some cases, the film's limited budget means that it cannot see international distribution. Most of these films have been resounding successes in their own country and there is a cinematic treasure trove to discover in Europe, for example. They are the torch of a generation and a nation that builds itself through imagination and the aesthetics of film and it is our duty as researchers to make sure that as living memory such films do not fall into oblivion. * British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies *

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