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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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Audiences and Class

Audiences and Class

(p.281) Chapter 6 Audiences and Class
Popular Egyptian Cinema

Viola Shafik

American University in Cairo Press

Earliest cinema-going was at the outset a bourgeois habit in Egypt, as elsewhere in the Middle East and unlike Europe and the U.S. where the invention was soon proletarianized through lower-class distribution circuits such as the funfair and nickelodeon. This cinema seems to have appealed not only to the Middle Eastern elite but also to Egypt's urban petite bourgeoisie, which, although still socially and politically marginalized during the early decades of the twentieth century, was culturally rather active. Third-class cinema differs in program and equipment from first- and second-class cinema. It does not present any new releases, but offers a program that usually comprises one Egyptian and one or two foreign films. The expression of a sexual, religious, or ethnic Otherness still encounters taboos which indicate clearly that there is a weak point in the existing perception of the Egyptian nation and in the notion of sexual identity.

Keywords:   class society, cinema, Egypt, foreign films, expressions, sexual identity

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