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Speaking back : expanding paradigms in Middle East film

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dc.contributor.advisor Byrne, D. C. (Deirdre C.) Stubbs, Evelyn 2017-12-08T09:28:44Z 2017-12-08T09:28:44Z 2017-02
dc.identifier.citation Stubbs, Evelyn (2017) Speaking back : expanding paradigms in Middle East film, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <>
dc.description.abstract This thesis undertakes a study of four films, directed by Arab directors from Palestine, Lebanon, America and the United Arab Emirates, and argues that these works speak back to the negative representation of Arabs in mainstream Hollywood films. It examines the methods these directors have deployed to contribute to a consciousness on a cultural level. These include the films Amreeka (dir. Dabis, 2009: USA, National Geographic Entertainment), Paradise Now (dir. Abu-Assad, 2005: USA, Warner Bros), West Beirut (dir. Doueiri, 1998: Belgium, France, Norway, Lebanon: 38 Production) and City of Life (dir. Mostafa, 2009: UAE: Filmworks). I argue that these films speak back to the representation of Arabs created by Hollywood. In all the films I analyse the representation of the characters, which allows viewers into their frames of reference and makes them relatable. The characters are ordinary people facing the situations of everyday life in various settings. Whether it is the limitation of their geographical location while living under occupation in Palestine as in Amreeka and Paradise Now, emigrating to America and coping with xenophobia as in Amreeka, living in a country exploding as civil war breaks out as in West Beirut, or adjusting to multiculturalism as in City of Life, filmmakers are allowing viewers into the lives of Arabs, representing them in terms of all their successes, failures, vulnerabilities and excesses. They are human beings with the same concerns as all humanity, for peace in their countries, the stability of their societies and the safety of their families. My investigation analyses the films through the theoretical lenses of Stuart Hall’s theory of representation (2012), Edward Said's Orientalism (1997), and decoloniality as advocated by Maldonado-Torres (2014) and Mignolo (2011). A postmodern reading of City of Life is made within Baudrillard's theory of hyperreality (2010), Lyotard’s concept of the grand narrative (1986) and Žižek’s concept of the dematerialisation of real life. A close reading of the films, using the research methods of semiotics and narratology, enables a deconstruction of some obscure elements, such as the embedded meaning in dialogue or the messages implicit in the mise en scène. In the process, cultural contradictions and similarities are explored and uncovered. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (269 leaves) : color photos en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Representation en
dc.subject Stereotyping en
dc.subject Islamophobia en
dc.subject Middle East film en
dc.subject Arab Film en
dc.subject Postcolonialism en
dc.subject Orientalism en
dc.subject Decoloniality en
dc.subject Postmodernism en
dc.subject Semiotics en
dc.subject Narratology en
dc.subject.ddc 791.436529927
dc.subject.lcsh Palestinian Arabs in motion pictures en
dc.subject.lcsh Palestinian American motion picture producers and directors en
dc.subject.lcsh Islamophobia en
dc.subject.lcsh Semiotics and motion pictures en
dc.subject.lcsh Feature films -- Palestine en
dc.subject.lcsh Feature films -- Lebanon -- Beirut en
dc.subject.lcsh Feature films -- United Arab Emirates en
dc.subject.lcsh Feature films -- America en
dc.title Speaking back : expanding paradigms in Middle East film en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department English Studies en D. Litt. et Phil. (English) en

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