CSCL 5910 ARAB FILM

THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, TWIN CITIES

SPRING 2005

 

CLASS INFO  
Instructor: Hisham Bizri Course hours: M 2:30-5:30
Voice: (612) 625-8460 Course location: Folwell 419
Email: hbizri@umn.edu Course url: hishambizri.com/teaching/umn/spring05/arabfilm/
Office hours: M 1-2, T 12-1 & by appointment (102 Folwell Hall) CSCl Department: 350 Folwell Hall

COURSE DESCRIPTION
A general survey course of the cinema of the Arab world with a focus on Egypt, Algeria, and Syria. European colonialism, the loss of Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel, the Arab-Israeli wars, the rise of Arab nationalism, and the Algerian War all played an important role in shaping much of Arab cinema. How did these different historical moments change Arab society and in turn the culture of films, filmmakers, and the film audiences in the various Arab countries? Is there a place for authenticity/tradition or did acculturation dominate all aspects of filmmaking? What did writers like Naguib Mahfouz, Ihssan Aded Al-Qudous, and Edward Said contribute to the debate? How did the different genres be it the musical, the melodrama, the action, and the social realist film portray the Arab condition, from the humiliation felt in the loss of Palestine, to the brief euphoria of Nasserism and Algeria, and finally back to humiliation and despair? What role did censorship play from the state, Islam, or simply self-imposed? Last but not least, what are the specific cinematic languages that these films defined and their relationship to Arabic literature, music, theater, and architecture.

Special attention would be given to Egyptian cinema and films of Misr Studio for their profound influence on the beliefs and tastes of people across the Arab world. The relationship between visual style and narrative in the films by the classical masters Salah Abu Seif, Youssef Chahine, Kamal Selim, Twefik Salah, and Chadi Abdul-Salam. We will look for example at how décor, acting, and camera movement expressed the struggle of the individual with social conditions (rape, poverty, adultery, murder, and suicide), the rise of the erotic hero (Omar Al-Sharif), the role of women in family and nation (Faten Hamama and Chadia), among others.

We will examine films from Syria as well (the fiction of Ossama Mohammed and Mohammed Malas and Omar Amiralay's films on daily life in Syrian villages) and Algeria (the social criticisms of Merzak Allouache and Muhammed Lakdar-Mamina). We will read several novels by Naguib Mahfouz that have been adapted to the screen as well as writings on colonialism and exile by Franz Fanon, Edward Said, and Tahar Ben Jalloun (unfortunately, many Arab writings on film have not been translated into the English language).

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING
    1.   
Mandatory class attendance and participation (20%)
    2.    Weekly presentations
(30%)
    3.    Final research paper 15-20 pages (50%)

REQUIRED READINGS (available at the U bookstore and reserved at Wilson Library; a course packet is required)

RECOMMENDED READING

TENTATIVE SCREENINGS (on DVD and VHS only)
Mute Cinema (2001, 60minutes)
Caméra Arabe (Férid Boughedir, 1987, 60 minutes, Tunisia)
Taht Sama'a Dimashq aka "Under Damascus Skies" (Ismail Anzour, 1932)
Al Mutaham Al Bari, (Ayab Badri, 1928)
Laila (Wadad Orfi, 1927)
Sallama (Togo Mizrahi, 1945, 130 minutes)
Al-Warda Al-Bayda aka "The White Rose" (Mohammed Karim, 1945, 110 minutes)
Ghazal Al-Banat aka "The Flirtation of Girls" (Anwar Wagdi, 1949, 120 minutes)
Gharam Wa Intiqam aka "Passion and Revenge" (Youssef Wahby, 1944)
Fatima (Ahmad Badr Khan, 1947)
Bidaya Wa Nihaya aka "The Beginning and the End" (Salah Abouseif, 1960, 130 minutes)
Al-Saqqamat aka "The Water Bearer is Dead" (Salah Abouseif, 1960, 130 minutes)
Raya Wa Sakina (Salah Abouseif, 1953)
Al-Qadia 68, aka The Trial (Salah Abouseif, 1968)
Shabab Imra'a aka A Woman's Youth (Salah Abouseif, 1968, 126 minutes)
Iskanderija... Lih? aka Alexandria... Why? (Youssef Chahine, 1978, 133 minutes)
Bab El-hadid aka "Cairo Station" (Youssef Chahine, 1958, 76 minutes)
AL-Mummia aka "The Night of Counting the Years" (Chadi Abdel Salam, 1969, 102 minutes)
Omar Gatlato (Merzak Allouache, 1976, 90 minutes)
Bab El-Oued City (Merzak Allouache, 1976, 93 minutes)
Ahlam el Madina aka "Dreams of the City" (Mohamed Malas, 1985)
Al-Lail aka "The Night" (Mohamed Malas, 1992, 116 minutes)
Sunduq Al-Dunyâ aka "Sacrifices" (Usama Muhammad, 2002, 112 minutes)
Al-Kompars aka "The Extras" (Nabil Maleh, 1993, 100 minutes)
The films of Omar Amiralay

SCHEDULE

WEEK 1
January 24

Introduction to the course and concepts

Screenings:
Mute Cinema (2001, 60minutes)
Caméra Arabe (Férid Boughedir, 1987, 60 minutes, Tunisia)

WEEK 2 (image/music in Islam, early film, Syria)
January 31

Readings:
Dhamm Al-Malahi by Ibn Abi 'l-Dunya (pp. 1-40) & Bawariq al-ilma' by Majid al-Tusi al-Ghazali (pp. 63-118); Tracts on Listening to Music
The Arab Cinema, Landau (Studies in the Arab Theater and Cinema, pp. 155-202)
Cinema in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, & Kuwait, Day (Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film, pp. 364-370)

Recmmended Readings:
The Shadow Play, Landau, pp. 9-48
The Arab Theater, Landau, pp. 49-107
Arab Cinema: The Early Years (http://www.al-bab.com/media/cinema/film1.htm)

Screenings:
Taht Sama'a Dimashq aka "Under Damascus Skies" (Ismail Anzour, 1932)
Al Mutaham Al Bari, (Ayab Badri, 1928)

WEEK 3 (early film, Egypt)
February 7

Readings:
Dream Makers on the Nile, pp. 9-14
Arab Cinema, Shafik pp. 9-46
Egyptian Cinema, Shafik (Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film, pp. 23-74)

Screenings:
Laila (Wadad Orfi, 1927)
Sallama (Togo Mizrahi, 1945, 130 minutes)
Al-Warda Al-Bayda aka "The White Rose" (Mohammed Karim, 1945, 110 minutes)

WEEK 4 (early film, Algeria)
February 14

Readings:
Cinema in the Maghreb, Armes (Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film, pp. 420-444):
The Birth of Algerian Cinema: The Anti-Hero, Rachid Boudjedra (Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, pp. 260-266)

Screenings:
TBA

WEEK 5 (Egypt; start reading Mahfouz's The Beginning and the End)
February 21

Readings:
Artistic Roots of Arab Cinema , Shafik (pp. 47-120; Arab Cinema)
Egyptian Rites, Edward Said (
Reflections on Exile, pp. 153-166)
Cairo Recalled: Growing Up in the Cultural Cosscurrents of 1940's Egypt, Edward Said (
Reflections on Exile, pp. 153-166)
Disentangling the Diva , Sherifa Zuhur (Asmahan's Secrets, pp. 1-23
)

Asmahan's Musical Legacy, Sherifa Zuhur (Asmahan's Secrets, pp. 167-205
)

Recmmended Readings:
Cairo and Alexandria, Edward Said (
Reflections on Exile, pp. 153-166)

Screenings:
Ghazal Al-Banat aka "The Flirtation of Girls" (Anwar Wagdi, 1949, 120 minutes)
Gharam Wa Intiqam aka "Passion and Revenge" (Youssef Wahby, 1944)

WEEK 6 (Egypt)
February 28

Readings:
Victims or Actors? Centering Women in Egyptian Commercial Film, Sherifa Zuhur (
Images of Enchantment, pp. 211-229)
Farida Fhamy and the Dancer's Image in Egyptian Film , Marjorie Franken (
Images of Enchantment, pp. 265-282)
Homage to a Belly-Dancer, Edward Said (
Reflections on Exile, pp. 346-355)
Farwell to a Dancer , Edward Said (
Colors of Enchantment, pp. 228-232)

Screenings:
Bidaya Wa Nihaya aka "The Beginning and the End" (Salah Abouseif, 1960, 130 minutes)
Raya Wa Sakina (Salah Abouseif, 1953)
Al-Qadia 68, aka The Trial (Salah Abouseif, 1968)
Shabab Imra'a aka A Woman's Youth (Salah Abouseif, 1968, 126 minutes)

WEEK 7 (Egypt)
March 7

Readings:
Cultural Hegemony and National Film Language: Youssef Chahine, Maureen Kiernan (Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, pp. 130-152)
Cinema under Colonialism, Armes (Arab and Arfican Filmmaking, pp. 1-35)
Musical Stardom and Male Romance: Farid Al-Atrash, Sherifa Zuhur (
Colors of Enchantment, pp. 228-232)

Screenings:
Iskanderija... Lih? aka Alexandria... Why? (Youssef Chahine, 1978, 133 minutes)
Bab El-hadid aka "Cairo Station" (Youssef Chahine, 1958, 76 minutes)

WEEK 8
March 14

SPRING BREAK...................................................................................................................................................................................................

WEEK 9 (Egypt)
March 21

Readings:
Artistic Roots of Arab Cinema, Shafik (Arab Cinema, pp. 47 - 120)

Screenings:
AL-Mummia aka "The Night of Counting the Years" (Chadi Abdel Salam, 1969, 102 minutes)

WEEK 10 (Algeria)
March 28

Readings:
Image and Experience: Why Cinema?, Farida Ben Lyazid (Images of Enchantment, 205-210)
Shifting Identities in Maghribi Cinema: The Algerian Paradigm, Sabry Hafez (Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, pp. 39-80)

Screenings:
TBA
Bab El-Oued City (Merzak Allouache, 1976, 93 minutes)

WEEK 11 (Algeria)
April 4

Readings:
Cultural Identity and Genre, Shafik (Arab Cinema, pp. 121-214)

Screenings:
Omar Gatlato (Merzak Allouache, 1976, 90 minutes)

WEEK 12 (Algeria)
April 11

Readings::
New Realism in Arab Cinema, Nouri Bouzid (Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, pp. 242-250)

Screenings:
TBA

WEEK 13 (Syria)
April 18

Readings::
The Dream: Extracts from a Film Diary, Muhammad Malas (Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, pp. 208-228)

Screenings:
Ahlam el Madina aka "Dreams of the City" (Mohamed Malas, 1985)
Al-Lail aka "The Night" (Mohamed Malas, 1992, 116 minutes)

WEEK 14 (Syria)
April 25

Readings:
Believing in Spectacles, Wedeed (Ambiguities of Domination, pp. 1-31)
Killing Politics, Wedeed (Ambiguities of Domination, pp. 32-66)

Screenings:
Sunduq Al-Dunyâ aka "Sacrifices" (Usama Muhammad, 2002, 112 minutes)
Al-Kompars aka "The Extras" (Nabil Maleh, 1993, 100 minutes)

WEEK 15 (Syria)
May 2

Readings:
Acting "As If" : The Story of M, Wedeed (Ambiguities of Domination, pp. 32-66)
Signs of Transgression , Wedeed (Ambiguities of Domination, pp. 87-142)

Screenings:
The films of Omar Amiralay

WEEK 16
May 9

Final Paper Due.

 

UNIVERISTY MATTERS

Grading Policy
According to the college-wide policy determined by the University’s faculty senate http://www1umn.edu/usenate/policies/gradingpolicy.html:

A - achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
B - achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
C - achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect.
D - achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements.
S - achievement that is satisfactory, which is equivalent to a C- or better (achievement required for an S is at the discretion of the instructor but may be no lower than equivalent to a C-.)
F(or N) - Represents failure (or no credit) and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I (see also I).
I - (Incomplete) Assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, due to extraordinary circumstances, e.g., hospitalization, a student is prevented from completing the work of the course on time. Requires a written agreement between instructor and student.

Plagiarism
Plagiarism, a form of scholastic dishonesty and a disciplinary offense, is described by the Regents as follows: "Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; or altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying of data, research procedures, or data analysis: http://www1.umn.edu/regents/policies/academic/StudentConductCode.html. Students with questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam are encouraged to ask their instructors.

Resources for Student Writers
Student Writing Support
306b Lind Hall and satellite locations varying by semester  (612.625.1893) http://writing.umn.edu
A service offering face-to-face tutoring for all University of Minnesota undergraduate and graduate students by appointment in Lind Hall and walk-in at satellites around campus. Two ESL specialists and one IT specialist are on staff. Links to additional writing resources are available on SWS website.

Student Writing Guide
A guidebook providing student writers with detailed, step-by-step guidance through the writing process and lists numerous writerly resources. Available on the web in pdf at: http://writing.umn.edu/docs/sws/swgpdf.pdf or at the Center for Writing, 207a Lind Hall, (612.626.7579), writing@umn.edu.

Online Writing Center
http://www.owc.umn.edu/
A service offering writing consultations via e-mail and online resources for students writers and their instructors. Available for graduate and undergraduate students.

University Libraries
http://www.lib.umn.edu/ The ultimate resource for research, the University library has five major facilities and eleven branch sites with a wealth of reference materials, online resources, books, articles, newspapers, microforms, government documents, maps and more. Librarians are available and happy to help orient students to all aspects of the library system. You can find research assistance at http://tutorial.lib.umn.edu <http://tutorial.lib.umn.edu/> . The library tutorial, Quickstudy, is a self-paced tutorial covering the research process at the University of Minnesota Libraries. It starts with selecting a topic for a paper and ends with citing sources for a bibliography. Hands-on research tutorials with a research librarian are also available. Sign up at http://lib.umn.edu/registration/. These workshops focus on effectively using MNCAT, the library catalogs, the Expanded Academic Index, and more.

Disability Services
180 McNamara (612.626.1333) V/TTY http://disserv.stu.umn.edu/
It is University policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact their instructors to discuss their individual needs for accommodation or to contact Disability Services to schedule an appointment with a Specialist.

Non-Native Speakers
337 Nolte Center (612.624.4524)   http://composition.cla.umn.edu/student_web/
Non-Native Speakers (NNS) in need of assistance or guidance with writing concerns can contact Sheryl Holt, the Coordinator for Non-Native Speakers (holtx001@tc.umn.edu) NNS student might also find answers to their writing-related questions on the Composition Program's NNS link: http://composition.cla.umn.edu/student_web/. Student Writing Support also has NNS specialists to help you with your writing: http://writing.umn.edu/

University of Minnesota Counseling Program
109 Eddy Hall (612.624.3323) http://www.ucs.umn.edu/counsel
UCCS Counseling program helps students with their concerns and offers an opportunity to talk with an experienced counselor who can help students select and achieve goals for personal and career development. The center offers three types of counseling: personal counseling, academic counseling and career counseling. The Learning and Academic Skills Center offers class, workshop, and individual assistance aimed at helping students achieve academic goals.