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Title: Female agency in Egyptian cinema 1990s - 2023
Authors: Nouasri, Alaa Belkis
Advisors: Ruddell. C
Rugo, D
Keywords: Arab;Film;Womanhood;Feminism;Gender
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This research aimed to investigate female agency in Egyptian cinema in front of and behind the camera circa 1990s - 2023; it has been positioned within a framework which covers Islamism, nationalism, social media (Instagram), female authorship, and the female gaze. The 1990s represented a time period when women’s role in Egyptian society and their agency were challenged, leading to long-lasting impact. Due to a rise in Egyptian Islamism and nationalism as opposing ideologies, womanhood was co-opted by both the state and the Islamists during this period. In cinema this manifested in, firstly, the state-sponsored anti Islamist film genre, which utilised female characters as a tool to showcase the ignorance and misogyny of the male Islamist, and secondly, in the emergence of a desexualised cinematic genre (clean cinema) and the veiling of numerous female actors. Despite these conditions, women have always played an important factor in Egyptian cinema as pioneers, actors, filmmakers, and more. Accordingly, this thesis was moulded around these distinctive circumstances. It first examined female roles in anti Islamist films and the veil on the screen/in the industry as potential sites for female agency. In the second part of the thesis, Instagram and women’s filmmaking were analysed as possible devices through which women in Egyptian cinema may have been and are able to assert their agency. The research findings reveal that female agency in Egyptian cinema is a complex matter which has been impacted by a variety of societal changes in the past few decades. However its discovery in certain points during this research, such as in the documented lived experiences of veiled actresses and in some films made by female filmmakers, provides us with a unique understanding into its applicability in cinema, connections to the female gaze, and potential implications in women’s film authorship in Egypt.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses
Film and Television

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