01:685:230 Introduction to Third World Cinema
(Middle East and North Africa: A Cinematic Study) - Synopsis (3 credits)

Pre-requisites: None

Course Description
"Middle East" and North Africa are heterogeneous regions on ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural, and historic levels. They are made up of different communities, peoples, states, and governments. On an academic level, historical and literary studies of the region's existing local differences, life styles, and popular cultures have relatively been able to address commonalities and differences across these regions. However, the complexities of the region's history, cultures, and people represented through visual and in particular cinematic productions as well as perspectives have yet to spark serious examinations in our classroom discussions.

A few cinematic techniques, genres, and currents as well as philosophical and theoretical perspectives in film studies relevant to the themes will be discussed. Students will ultimately examine the use of cinema, both as a text and an aesthetic, creative, and technological means, in telling stories about how art and technology are able not only to reexamine, explore and restore histories, identities, languages, and cultures but also to address social justice and the need for transformative social change. The course includes both class screening and films placed on Library Reserves which students are expected to watch on their own. Students are encouraged to analyze the film as a text in the lights of the assigned readings.

Course Learning Goals
• By taking this course students develop a critical approach to the understanding of the importance of film in addressing heterogeneous geographical, socio-political, and historical characters of the region based on the development of three major contemporary debates: the discourse of national liberation and identity, the power of popular culture, and the question of gender and women.

• Students will also explore the relationships between cinema and other forms of popular culture including music, literature, and visual arts.

*This course is cross listed with 01:013:301; credit will not be given for both courses.

Required Texts
Weekly readings to be distributed on the first day of class.

Sample Films:
Cairo Station by Youssef Chahine, 1958
Journey to the Sun by Yasmin Ustaoglu, 1999
Divine Intervention by Elia Suleiman, 2002
Ten by Abbas Kiarostami, 2002
Where Do We Go From Here by Nadine Labaki, 2012


Attendance 10%
Participation in weekly discussions 15%
Group projects (1 of 2) for Midterm 20%
Group project (2 of 2) for Final Exam 20%
Weekly journals 20%
Final short paper 15%