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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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Artistic Roots of Arab Cinema

Artistic Roots of Arab Cinema

(p.47) 2 Artistic Roots of Arab Cinema
Arab Cinema

Viola Shafik

American University in Cairo Press

Traditional Islamic principles of representation have rarely been applied to Arab cinema. The colorful non-spatial painting of miniatures and the ornamental rhythms of the arabesque, basically structured by light and shadow, almost never found their way to the screen. Nearly all Arab film makers stuck to classical rules of Western art instead. The rules of conventional Western composition were adhered to, even though the encounter with European art had started comparatively late. The twentieth century saw not only the spread of three-dimensional realist plastic art and central perspective, but also a confrontation with a new idea of art, based on the dichotomy between fine arts on the one hand and arts and crafts on the other. This conception promoted the artist as an individual genius, and further undermined the position of traditional arts and crafts genres. Increasingly, these were either cultivated on the margins or completely integrated into modern art.

Keywords:   Islamic principles, representation, Arab cinema, non-spatial painting, miniatures, Western art, plastic art, fine arts, arts and crafts, modern art

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