World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Urban Landscapes in Middle Eastern Cinema: Entering the 21st Century (072) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: TUE 20, 9.00-11.00 am

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Alberto Elena

· NOT_DEFINED language: English / Français

· NOT_DEFINED description: Scholarly interest in the relationship between film and the city has developed considerably in recent years, and there has been a shift in perspective from classical visions to newer, more diverse vantage points. The cinemas of North Africa and the Middle East have always been sensitive to the changing urban landscapes in which they were born. Egyptian cinema during its `golden age´ was predominantly urban and its films now offer invaluable testimony about the urban societies of the time, but it was certainly not an exception: the so-called New Arab Cinema continued exploring these questions (mainly by looking at the subject of rural emigration to large cities) and other thriving cinematographies of the region, such as those of Turkey and Iran, did the same. Today the films made in these countries put forward new and enriching visions of urban life and it is precisely these cinematographies that this panel (which brings together internationally-known experts and young researchers) hope to address. Two of the communications focus on the Arab world:

while Viola Shafik explores the place of a new figure that has arisen in the context of Egyptian film (slums) and its profound social implications,

Ana Martín Morán focuses on the case of Algiers, from the 1990s up to the present, and on the ways of seeing of both local filmmakers and others based in Europe, in an effort to shed light on the deep wounds that this city reveals in the body of a society shattered by conflict.

Another film scholar, JH Estrada, looks at the urban universe of Istanbul to identify the new marks that new Turkish cinema recognizes in this city, in the era of globalization and emigration, compared to the traditional visions of film masters from earlier periods.

Finally, Farshad Zahedi makes of Tehran a microcosm in which socio-political questions of great import are decided under the mantle of no less significant urban transformations, all of which filmmakers have been eager to reflect.

In her role as commentator, Alejandra Val will highlight the affinities and differences that exist among these case studies, as a way to further understand the new urban landscapes that are continually being drawn and redrawn by the cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa.

Chair: Alberto Elena (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Discussant: Alejandra Val (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Paper Presenter: Viola Shafik (Independent scholar-Cairo), "From the Hara (alley) to the `Ashwa'iyat (informal housing):Shifting Spaces and the National Egyptian Body"
Paper Presenter: Ana Martín Morán(Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid), "Images (im)possibles dans le cinéma algérien récent"
Paper presenter: JH Estrada (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), "Istanbul in the Shadows: The Big City and the New Turkish Cinema"
Paper presenter: Farshad Zahedi (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), "De-centering Women: Woman on the Urban Landscape in Daruish Mehrjui's Films"