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Title: Women in contemporary Palestinian cinema
Author: Salem, Lema Malek
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 0587
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis seeks to increase recognition of contemporary Palestinian women’s cinema and locates it firmly within the Palestinian film industry. I argue that Palestinian women’s cinema has created and developed a nuanced cinema whilst sustaining and enhancing the Palestinian film industry. The twenty-first century has undeniably witnessed the vigorous development of a Palestinian women’s cinema and the number of Palestinian women filmmakers and films is still on the rise. Scholars have often focused on increasing worldwide recognition of mainstream Palestinian films directed and produced by well-known Palestinian filmmakers. This has resulted in the marginalisation of Palestinian women’s cinema within an already marginalised Palestinian film industry. I locate Palestinian cinema, in the introduction, as a transnational cinema and I also explain my rationale for placing women’s film under the category of “women’s cinema”. In order to offer a comprehensive analysis and to understand and examine the corpus of films in this thesis, I firstly provide an overview of the historical and contemporary background of Palestinian popular arts and cinema, highlighting Palestinian women’s participation. In chapter 2, I discuss women’s roles in Palestinian politics in order to trace women’s positions and roles in political public life because it is difficult to separate activism from social life and thus from cinema, as these three intersect and mutually influence one another. In chapter 3, 4 and 5 I argue, through detailed discussion and analysis of this body of work that, unlike Palestinian cinema at large, Palestinian women filmmakers embody, interweave and reflect on the complex and often contradictory contemporary and historical issues taking into account ideologies and socio-cultural differences in a complex geopolitical space (e.g. sexual restrictions, power and authority, femininity and masculinity, restriction on movement and hyphenated identities). I also argue that these women filmmakers are interested in developing responses to what they see as heterogeneous and hyphenated Palestinian identities while adapting traditional and modern filmic styles. Here I have studied their works thematically as this provided greater insight into the social and historical contexts of contemporary Palestinian lives. I argue that films by Palestinian filmmakers living inside Palestine focus and revolve around socio-culturally sensitive and underrepresented issues of love and sexuality (chapter 3), violence and power (chapter 4). I also argue that hyphenated Palestinian filmmakers, in this case, Palestinian American filmmakers, explore through their work themes of displacement and the imagined homeland by reflecting on historical events and also through examining the different ‘journeys’ of their hyphenated characters, both internal and geographical. I study the films in this thesis within contemporary discourses on culture, cultural capital, discourses of power, identity, migration and diaspora, exile, feminist debates, gender politics, postcoloniality and borderlands.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Palestinian cinema, film industry, contemporary Palestinian women’s cinema ; women, gender politics ; identity, diaspora/exile ; culture, power