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Arab CinemaHistory and Cultural Identity$
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Viola Shafik

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9789774160653

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774160653.001.0001

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The History of Arab Cinema

The History of Arab Cinema

(p.9) 1 The History of Arab Cinema
Arab Cinema

Viola Shafik

American University in Cairo Press

The film medium was invented in the West at the end of the nineteenth century, by which time significant parts of the Middle East and Maghreb were already considered as British and French protectorates. Two decades later the two superpowers had, through the Sykes-Picot agreement, divided almost the whole Arab world between them. The result was long-lasting political and economic dependency, which, except in Egypt, considerably hampered the creation of national film industries and the development of an Arab film culture. In 1896, only a few months after the first screening in Europe had taken place, films by the Lumière brothers were shown to an exclusive Egyptian audience. The introduction of special sites for screenings did not take long to follow. In 1896 the first cinématographe was established in Algiers. One year later the Cinématographe Lumière in Alexandria was offering regular screenings.

Keywords:   Middle East, Maghreb, protectorates, Sykes-Picot agreement, Egypt, national film industries, Arab film culture, Lumière brothers, cinématographe, Cinématographe Lumière

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