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Plot Twist Ties up Distribution of Controversial Arab “Life Smuggling” Film

By 
Naomi Pham

Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab’s 2019 “Amira” faced a storm of social media backlash following accusations that the film belittles the Palestinian struggle. Diab — director of the well-received “Cairo 678” (2010) and “Clash” (2016) — has pulled the film from any future screenings, including Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival. This decision comes after Jordan’s Royal Film Commission ultimately withdrew “Amira” as its entry as the Oscar’s 2022 Best Foreign Film.

Poet, Publisher, Painter, and Patron of the Arts: Remembering the Extraordinary Etel Adnan (1925-2021)

By 
Elie Chalala
 
Lebanese-American writer Etel Adnan, beloved by many for her ‘meditative’ voice and colorful language in writing, passed away on November 14 in Paris at 96, leaving behind an evocative legacy of poetry, novels, and art that vividly depicted war, history, and nature.

Egyptian Belly Dance Losing Touch with Roots as Cultural Phenomenon

By 
Naomi Pham

Belly dance in Egypt has undergone major cultural and social transformations since the mid-20th century. Dancers often perform at live gatherings and across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. However, belly dancing as an art form has become redefined in today’s age. It has increasingly been the target of criticism, the latest being a claim by Abdel Halim in Al Araby that the dance has deteriorated further under neoliberalism.

Beauty Before Age Remains Dominant Casting Trend in Arab Film

By 
Naomi Pham

The presence of women on the Arab silver screen has historically suffered under patriarchy. Though the “male gaze” is not exclusive to Arab cinema and television, the marginalization of women on the screen has increasingly affected Arab discourse. Hiyam Bannout’s article “Masculinity Dominates Arab Drama and Marginalizes Women” in Independent Arabia explores the lack of veteran and older actresses occupying major roles in film. Arab actresses are “dramatically marginalized” once they turn 40, brushed aside in favor of young actresses at the expense of limited talent and experience, according to Bannout.

A Multifaceted Diaspora: New History Explores the Many Reasons for 20th Century Exodus of Egyptian Jewry

By 
Al Jadid Staff
 
Once home to as many as 75,000 Jews, today’s Egypt has a sparse population, with only nine Jewish Egyptians living in the country in 2021, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. Dr. Muhammad Abu al-Ghar’s new book, “The Jews of Egypt in the Twentieth Century: How They Lived and Why They Left” (Dar al-Shorouk, 2021, 476 pp) addresses the departure of Jews from the country from the early to mid-19th century to the present.

The State of Arab Journalism: Emile Menhem’s Dynamic Blend of Text and Visual Aesthetics Modernizes the Arab Newsroom

By 
Naomi Pham

Graphic design played a significant role in the evolution of Arab newsprint. Arab graphic design historians locate this art’s roots deep in the region’s visual heritage, drawing from its history of calligraphy, geometric compositions, motifs, and colors. However, the field itself is relatively new, emerging as a discipline only in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Graphic design now plays a widespread role in everyday life, whether in public architecture or the design of everyday items. 


Emile Menhem: Invigorating Arab Journalism Through Graphic Design
By Lara Balaa
Khatt Books, 2019

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