On Thursday, March 23, at 7 pm, the Walker Art Center presents a free screening of
, introduced by director Yousry Nasrallah. The program opens the
Cinema and Society in the Arab World Conference
, organized by the University of Minnesota’s Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department, Institute for Global Studies, and Institute for Advanced Study, cosponsored by the Walker Art Center. There will be a free pre-screening reception at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral (519 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis) from 5–6:30 pm. For full conference schedule or more information, contact the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Advanced Study at 612.626.5054, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This four-day conference seeks to foster a thoughtful and critical reflection about the principles of innovative aesthetic practices, social foundations, and cultural expressions in Arab cinema. The conference will approach Arab cinema as both a social and an artistic institution that affirms, contests, and reflects Arab realities in the twentieth century. In order to highlight how Arab cinema expresses but potentially also challenges dominant ideologies (literary, artistic, political, and historical) in Arab societies, the conference will focus on three themes: cinema, literature, and the arts; cinema and nationalism; and cinema and gender.
In Mercedes, director Yousry Nasralla satirizes Egyptian social and political tension in this lively comedy. With his blond hair and communist beliefs, Noubi (Zaki Abdel Wahab) stands out from his fellow countrymen. Rejecting the trappings of his wealthy materialistic family—including the ultra-luxe Egyptian status symbol, a Mercedes-Benz—he creates chaos with his plan to donate his inheritance to the Community party. When his gay brother disappears, Noubi’s search takes him on an adventures filled with belly dancers, soccer fanatics, and Muslim fundamentalists. 1993, Egypt/France, color, video, in Arabic with English subtitles, 108 minutes.
The conference continues March 24–26 with programs at Nicholson Hall on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank campus and Oak Street Cinema. This conference is organized by Professors Hisham Bizri (Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department, University of Minnesota) and Mazhar Al-Zolby (Zayed University; United Arab Emirates).