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Popular Egyptian CinemaGender, Class, and Nation$
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Viola Shafik

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9789774160530

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774160530.001.0001

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Female Stardom, Myth-production, and Morality

Female Stardom, Myth-production, and Morality

(p.197) Chapter 4 Female Stardom, Myth-production, and Morality
Popular Egyptian Cinema

Viola Shafik

American University in Cairo Press

An audience commonly recognizes a film by the names of the star performers and not by its director. Locating a tape in a video store is achieved by searching first of all for its leading actors. Egyptian movie stars have become as much part of the country's public life as a feature of its contemporary urban space. Recent religious teachings have formulated a counter-discourse on audiovisual arts and fostered the negative view of performing women in particular. The formation and consolidation of the Egyptian film industry was highly dependent on the exploitation of already existing theater and music stars. Some of the earliest fiction films relied on the contribution of popular theater actors and their troupes. Moral binarisms of popular cinema regarding women have often been translated into the virgin–whore dichotomy, visualized through fallen women, prostitutes, or belly dancers.

Keywords:   star performers, movie stars, Egyptian, film, moral binarism, virgin-whore, dichotomy

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