The Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema covers the production and exhibition of cinema in the Middle East and in communities whose heritage is from the region and whose films commonly reflect this background. It covers the cinemas of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. In addition, it includes the non-Arab states of Turkey and Iran, as well as the Jewish state of Israel.
To a substantial degree, cinema has served to define the character of the peoples and nations of the Middle East. With that in mind, the content and arrangement of entries in this volume works to introduce and emphasize both the national and transnational character of Middle Eastern cinema, which includes not only its indigenous but its colonial aspects as well, both external and internal to the geographical regions themselves. This is done through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and over 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on individual films, filmmakers, and actors. It also covers the range of cinematic modes, from documentary to fiction, representational to animation, generic to experimental, mainstream to avant-garde, and entertainment to propaganda.
Terri Ginsberg —
Terri Ginsberg is a director at the International Council for Middle East Studies in Washington, D.C. She is the editor of a special issue on media and film of the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, and the author of Holocaust Film: The Political Aesthetics of Ideology.
Chris Lippard —
Chris Lippard is assistant professor of Film Studies and director of Graduate Studies in Film at the University of Utah. He has published work on Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, Dennis Potter, F. W. Murnau, and Jorge Sanjines.
Ginsberg, Terri. Historical dictionary of Middle Eastern cinema, by Terri Ginsberg and Chris Lippard with Farshad Aminian et al. Scarecrow, 2010. 529p bibl filmography afp (Historical dictionaries of literature and the arts, 36); ISBN 9780810860902. Reviewed in 2010oct CHOICE.
This work by Ginsberg (International Council for Middle East Studies) and Lippard (Univ. of Utah) will be a necessary purchase for most academic and large public libraries because it is the first English-language dictionary published on Middle Eastern cinema as a whole. In scope, but not in format, it resembles The Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film, edited by Oliver Leaman (CH, Mar'02, 39-3694), which, in some respects, it updates. This new historical dictionary opens with a valuable chronology, covering 1896-2009, and dealing with outstanding cinematic events in the region. Key sociopolitical events are also mentioned, to provide context. Following a brief but helpful introduction, the body of the dictionary provides A-Z entries on significant films, filmmakers, stars, and topics of concern. These topics include but are not limited to film schools, festivals, centers, organizations, movements, genres and types of film (e.g., Beur cinema), themes (e.g., women, Islam), and historical summaries of national cinemas under the nation's name. This volume offers pioneering coverage of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and provides references for their nascent cinematic developments. It is blessed with a substantial and valuable filmography and bibliography, the latter classified into general works and then into works by nation; it covers both journal articles and books. This reviewer's one substantive criticism concerns the paucity of illustrations. Overall, however, this is an excellent buy and should see heavy use in libraries.
Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. -- C. Hendershott, The New School