Introduction to Egyptian and Arab cinema

Course Dates: 20/02/24 - 26/03/24
Time: 18:00 - 20:30
Location: Keeley Street
Are you curious about world cinema? Do you want to learn more about a dynamic but often neglected region of cinema culture – the Arab world? This course will introduce you to some of the classic films of the of the Egyptian cinema and its stars like Omar Sharif, including The Land (1970) and Cairo Station (1958), alongside recent films such as Chaos, Disorder (2012) and Lebanese film Capernaum (2018). Each session will include a film screening, short lecture and group discussion.
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Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00

This course has now started

Introduction to Egyptian and Arab cinema
This course has started
  • Course Code: HF352
  • Dates: 20/02/24 - 26/03/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 20:30
  • Taught: Tue, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Gillian McIver

Course Code: HF352

Started Tue, eve, 20 Feb - 26 Mar '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

The in-class film studies course explores the dynamic and long-established, but often neglected, Arab-language cinema culture. Egypt has long had a vibrant and vital film industry since the beginning of the 20th century, supplying filmed entertainment to the Arab-speaking world - yet the films produced by Egyptians are not well known in Britain. Egyptian films in particular often have strong social themes and can be highly critical. The course looks at how Arab-speaking filmmakers depict social issues, gender and politics in industries subject to frequent censorship.

This course will introduce learners to some of the classic films directed by Youssef Chahine, including Cairo Station (1958) and The Land (1970), Hussein Kamal’s portrait of social decadence Chitchat on the Nile (1971) and recent films such as Chaos, Disorder (2012) and Coming Forth by Day (2012). Finally, we’ll consider films from the rest of the Arab-speaking world, including Capernaum (2018).

What will we cover?

We will look at the emergence of Egyptian cinema from 1995 to the period of the 1952 revolution. We will look at the impact of revolutionary values on Egyptian filmmaking, resulting in a highly socially critical film culture which nevertheless saw the emergence of glamorous stars such as Omar Sharif and Hind Rustam. While Egypt has always produced many popular comedies and romances, the course will focus on more serious dramas that address issues of societal breakdown, gender and politics. We’ll consider one of the breakout hits of recent years, The Yacoubian Building (2006) We’ll finish up by hailing the emergence of Arab language cinemas from Lebanon, Jordan and the Emirates.

Each week we will have a short lecture and the screening of a main film. The short lecture will also consist of images and excerpts from other films which you may be able to look at in your own time. Following the film we will have ample time for discussion. A weekly worksheet will be provided for you to fill in your thoughts and ideas about experimental film, allowing you to record what you've learned.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Recognise major trends and directors in Egyptian cinema and have some awareness of contemporary Arab language cinema
- Demonstrate an awareness of the significance of social and political changes upon the way the Egyptian film industry worked between 1952 to the present.
- Be able to discuss Arab-language cinema in the context of world cinema.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The films will all be shown with subtitles so you should be comfortable reading subtitles. You will not need to have any Arab language knowledge.
This is an introductory course and no previous knowledge is necessary. Some concepts necessary to analyse films (e.g. editing, mise-en-scène etc.) will be introduced in class by the tutor.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Articles and extracts from the films will be provided to you. The class will be structured around a combination of PowerPoint presentations, film clips and class discussions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but the tutor will provide all other materials such as handouts. The tutor will show extracts from films and you do not have to obtain them.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other Film Studies courses under History Culture and Writing/Film Studies at

Gillian McIver

Gillian McIver has an MA in History and a PhD in Art History and Cinema Studies. She has made films and curated many exhibitions in London and abroad. She is the author of the first comprehensive study of the film-art relationship, Art History For Film Makers, Bloomsbury 2016. Her other books include Art and the Historical Film (2022) and Tarkovsky’s River (2012).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.