The contradiction between the absence of an independent and viable Palestinian state and the increasing presence of a vibrant tradition in Palestinian filmmaking, including several nominations for the Oscar and regular participation in international film festivals, raises a set of significant questions about the very definition of Palestinian national cinema. What is Palestinian cinema? Who makes it? Where is it filmed? Who sponsors Palestinian films or films about Palestine? In this course, we will address these questions through a survey of key institutions, periods, styles, popular films, filmmakers and trends since the early 20th century. We will also discuss the different genres and trends, including documentaries of refugees and diaspora, occupation and resistance, checkpoints and walls, activism and solidarity, love and other themes. Students will write one analytical research essay (4-5 pages), three in-class response papers, and an in-class final exam.
Dabashi, Hamid, and Edward W. Said. Dreams of a Nation. London: Verso, 2006.
Gertz, Nurith, and George Khleifi. Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma and Memory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.
Course Reader with selected historical and critical essays.