SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Cinemas of of the Middle East and North Africa 2

Module Code:
15PNMH049
Credits:
15
FHEQ Level:
7
Year of study:
Any
Taught in:
Term 2

The module will offer a survey of films from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Israel, as well as an overview of the historical development of film in the region and a grounding in the socio-cultural contexts in which films have been produced. Films will be analysed aesthetically, with an awareness of multiple aspects of film technique, and meanings will be interrogated through a number of interdisciplinary and theoretical prisms. Students will be taught the basics of film language and to support their interpretations of films with aural, visual, and narrative evidence. Secondary readings are drawn from films studies, anthropology, sociology, religion, and literary theory and will enable the students to situate the perspectives expressed in the films within contemporary artistic, cultural and political debates. Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 1 focuses on earlier periods of cinematic production in the region, surveying films produced between the 1930s and the 1980s, while its companion module, Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 2, concentrates on more contemporary film production.

Workload

The module is taught over 10 weeks

Scope and syllabus

The module will offer a survey of films from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Israel, as well as an overview of the historical development of film in the region and a grounding in the socio-cultural contexts in which films have been produced. Films will be analysed aesthetically, with an awareness of multiple aspects of film technique, and meanings will be interrogated through a number of interdisciplinary and theoretical prisms. Students will be taught the basics of film language and to support their interpretations of films with aural, visual, and narrative evidence. Secondary readings are drawn from films studies, anthropology, sociology, religion, and literary theory and will enable the students to situate the perspectives expressed in the films within contemporary artistic, cultural and political debates.
The module will be divided into thematic units, such as the following:

Narrative Identities and their De/Construction
In this unit films that problematise constructions of religious, ethnic, national, or sexual identity through the use of specific narrative techniques and devices relating to perspective, voice, and sequencing that destabilise the stance of the protagonist/s. Explorations of these films will focus on the political implications of these destabilised identities in their specific societal contexts.

Feminist Chronotopes
Films articulating concerns about women’s rights and questioning patriarchal values run the gamut from those that are conventional and formulaic to those that are highly experimental. In this unit we will examine contrasting examples of feminist films, with a special emphasis on cinematic elaborations of time and space and whether and how the films relate women’s experiences to historical chronologies.

Religious Discourses and Cinematic Aesthetics
This unit will investigate a variety of films exploiting aspects of religious heritage, broadly interpreted, for the purpose of artistic innovation: from the direct engagement with contemporary religious perspectives, to symbolic manifestations of Sufi Philosophy, to the strategic treatment of the religious icon, to the narrative implications of the cinematic privileging of Word over Image, to the circumvention of what are seen as religious proscriptions on screen representations.

Method of assessment

  • 1 x film analysis (1000 words) submitted day 3, week 3, term 2 (25%)
  • 1 x essay (2500 words) submitted day 5, week 11, term 2 (50%)
  • 1 x 20 min virtual presentation (narrated powerpoint) (25%)

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules