رؤية سينمائية وسيرة فنية / An Artistic Trajectory in Cinema



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جميل, محمد شكري; Jamil, Muhammad Shukri

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Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[This testimony of the Iraqi director presents his views about the poetics of cinema and the orientations of filmmaking in the Arab world, as well as his own involvement in cinematic production. Jamil's own trajectory started with making documentary films on Iraq. Later, his career took him to Egypt and England where he worked and studied. All this provided him with a valuable experience of exposure to European and Egyptian directors, as well as making him explore his own country and the world in order to make his documentaries-many of which received prizes. In the late sixties a more committed national cinema was establishing itself in Iraq, and Jamil participated in it by making a number of feature films that received recognition and contributed to Iraq's reputation as a filmmaking country. Some of these films were based on novels and narratives written by Iraqi writers and others were derived from Iraqi history-both ancient and modern. Jamil points out that with the unfair economic blockade of Iraq for the last few years, the production of films has become practically impossible, and thus he moved to making films for television, with plans for feature films postponed until the blockade is removed. For him, cinematic artistry stems neither from verbal eloquence nor from logical order, but from appreciation of cinema's specificity as a total universe. Art imitates nature, but it should imitate nature's creativity, not nature's final product; thus an artist should reproduce nature's organic thrust, not its final fruits. This way, the artistic work-whether a film or a poem or a painting-will have its own unique specificity, while at the same time retaining the principle of the naturally organic. Likewise, to remain authentic, one should not imitate what the ancients did, but how they did it-that is how they transformed their world into classics. Cinema in the Arab world has wavered between being a commercial product governed by market forces and a committed art supported by existing institutions. Algeria, for example, was oriented for a long time toward making films about its national liberation struggle, Syria on the Palestinian question, Iraq on militant politics. As for Egypt, its cinematic industry was used by the national bourgeoisie to further its position and to combat foreign hegemony. After the 1952 revolution, cinema was used to bolster the values of the new era. A bureaucratic bourgeoisie took over cinema production in the early sixties, but it did not make a break with the cinema of the capitalist bourgeoisie since the public sector cinema continued to use the cadres and names of the earlier period.]

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