CfP: Militant cinema in the Arab world (from the 1960s to the present day)

Call for papers, deadline 21 June 2021


The Arab region has been, since the end of World War II, the theater of constant conflicts that fueled and reflected the tensions between World’s major nations during and after the Cold War. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the first to generate and concentrate the political, ideological, and social tensions linked to the region turmoil, where the camera explores the reality beyond the anesthetic representation of society in Arab mainstream movies.

The second conflict to serve as a model for upcoming Arab cinemas is the Algerian revolution. The Battle of Algiers (1966), directed by the Communist Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo is produced with the official support of the National Liberation Front (FLN), the party in power – later, Chronicles of the Years of Fire directed by Mohammad Lakhdar-Hamina will win in 1975, the Golden Palm at Cannes. After the Arab armies’ defeat in the Six-day war (June 5-11, 1967), the PLO creates a Cinema Unit to promote the Palestinian Cause. Many films are produced in different Arab countries, especially Lebanon (Christian Ghazi, Gary Garabédian, Rida Myassar, Antoine Rémy, Rafic Hajjar...). Also, the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) allows a new generation of filmmakers to tackle complex political issues and realities (Maroun Baghdadi, Borhane Alaouié, Jean Chamoun, Jocelyne Saab, Randa Chahal...). Working within the frame of fiction and documentary, the filmmakers oscillate between a clear leftist political action and a neutral and objective observation of historical facts. In Egypt, moviemakers denunciate colonialism and the Arab ‘defeatism’ against Israel. Their questioning of Arab engagement in the regional political and military conflicts will have a persistent echo in the coming decades. Also, Women filmmakers, from the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc., are on the frontline of contemporary militant cinema, questioning with the medium the rise of regional perils and social convulsions.

Therefore, what about militant cinema today? Are its objectives and modalities the same regarding the current political and social realities? What does commitment and activism mean today in a region witnessing during the last decade multiple revolutionary movements, generating as much enthusiasm as disenchantment, and a violent reality that casts a doubt on any hope of change? 

Research axis

  • Palestinian Militant cinema in the wake of Third-World cinema (1970s-1980s)
  • Lebanese Civil War movies between political involvement and social contestation
  • Algerian War movies and its influences.
  • Egyptian cinema and the denunciation of Arab defeatism.
  • Documentary as a weapon.
  • The Palestinian diaspora cinema
  • Cinema and revolution

Submission guidelines

Authors wishing to submit an abstract (in French, English or Arabic) are invited to send it to the following address:

Before Monday June 21st 2021.

Authors should provide the following information:

  • An abstract of the article (approx. 500 words).
  • A mini bio-bibliography (approx. 100 words).

The abstracts will be examined by the editorial committee, and the authors will receive an answer before June 30th 2021.

Scientific Committee

  • Hamid Aidouni, PR (Université Abdelmalek Essaadi, Maroc)
  • Karl Akiki, MCF (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Riccardo Bocco, PR (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Genève, IHEID, Suisse)
  • Fabien Boully, MCF (Université Paris Nanterre, France)
  • André Habib, PR (Université de Montréal, Canada)
  • Dalia Mostafa, MCF (University of Manchester, Angleterre)
  • José Moure, PR (Université Paris Panthéon Sorbonne – Paris 1, France)
  • Jacqueline Nacache, PR (Université de Paris, France)
  • Ghada Sayegh, MCF (IESAV, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Kirsten Scheid, Associate PR (American University of Beirut, Liban)

Editor-in-chief: Joseph Korkmaz, PR (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)

Edition editor: Joseph Korkmaz, Emeritus PR (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Etats-Unis)