New Tunisian Cinema

New Tunisian Cinema

Allegories of Resistance

  • Author: Lang, Robert
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Serie: Film and Culture Series
  • ISBN: 9780231165068
  • eISBN Pdf: 9780231537193
  • Place of publication:  New York , United States
  • Year of digital publication: 2014
  • Month: April
  • Language: English
Tunisian cinema is often described as the most daring of all Arab cinemas. For many, Tunisia appeared to be a model of equipoise between "East" and "West," and yet, during Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's presidency, from 1987 to 2011, the country became the most repressive state in the Maghreb. Against considerable odds, a generation of filmmakers emerged in the mid-1980s to make films that are allegories of resistance to the increasingly illiberal trends that were marking their society.

In New Tunisian Cinema, Robert Lang focuses on eight films by some of the nation's best-known directors, including Man of Ashes (1986), Bezness (1992) and Making Of (2006) by Nouri Bouzid, Halfaouine (1990) by Férid Boughedir, The Silences of the Palace (1994) by Moufida Tlatli, Essaïda (1997) by Mohamed Zran, Bedwin Hacker (2002) by Nadia El Fani, and The TV Is Coming (2006) by Moncef Dhouib. He explores the political economy and social, historical, and psychoanalytic dimensions of these works and the strategies filmmakers deployed to preserve cinema's ability to shape debates about national identity. These debates, Lang argues, not only helped initiate the 2011 uprising that ousted Ben Ali's regime but also did much to inform and articulate the aspirations of the Tunisian people in the new millennium.
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. The Nation, the State, and the Cinema
  • 2. “The freedom to be different, to choose your own life”: Man of Ashes (Nouri Bouzid, 1986)
  • 3. Laughter in the Dark: Sexuality and the Police State in Halfaouine (Férid Boughedir, 1990)
  • 4. Sexual Allegories of National Identity: Bezness (Nouri Bouzid, 1992)
  • 5. The Colonizer and the Colonized: The Silences of the Palace (Moufida Tlatli, 1994)
  • 6. “It takes two of us to discover truth”: Essaïda (Mohamed Zran, 1996)
  • 7. “It takes a lot of unruly individuals to make a free people”: Bedwin Hacker (Nadia El Fani, 2002)
  • 8. Inventing the Postcolonial Nation/Constructing a Usable Past: The TV Is Coming (Moncef Dhouib, 2006)
  • 9. “Destiny answers the people’s call for life, darkness will be dispelled, and chains will break”
  • Notes
  • Filmography
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index



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