From the Classroom: Arab Cinema Spring 2023

Hello! My name is Mary Gurley, and I am a senior at the College of Charleston. As a Film Studies minor, I’ve had the opportunity to take various types of film courses. Each course has taught me about the history of different cultures and societies through the use of film.

Currently, I am taking Arab Cinema with Professor Davidson. This course examines films produced in the Arab World to explore the histories of Arab societies from WWI to the present day. Through viewing films, we explore topics including nationalism, gender, sex, religion, politics, sectarianism, and social and economic class. We have already viewed two films: (Naji Abu Nowar, 2014) and Alexandra, Why? (Yossef Chahine, 1979). We will be viewing Nasser 56 (Mohammed Fadel, 1996) this week and Karnak (Aly Badrakhan, 1975) next week.

I enjoy taking this class because it provides me with a new outlook on the history of films and the various cultures that have influenced the filmmaking industry. I never thought I would be captivated by the diversity of Arab histories, cultures, and societies. Still, the films this course have already exposed me to have given me such a deep appreciation for the Arab World and the films they produce. I encourage any student interested in film studies to take this course because it will open their eyes to the power of films in retelling history.

— Mary Gurley, Senior, FMST Minor, Art History Major


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