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New Tunisian CinemaAllegories of Resistance$
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Robert Lang

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165075

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165075.001.0001

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The Nation, the State, and the Cinema

The Nation, the State, and the Cinema

(p.1) Chapter One The Nation, the State, and the Cinema
New Tunisian Cinema

Robert Lang

Columbia University Press

This chapter begins with a background on the rise to power of Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia's first president, and the bloodless coup of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on November 7, 1987, that ended Bourguiba's 60-year reign. The discussion then turns to New Tunisian Cinema and its allegorical content. Like the cinemas of most postcolonial societies, Tunisian cinema is preoccupied with the politics of emancipation and identity; but in their role as active participants in the construction of a national/cultural identity, the filmmakers find themselves confronting dilemmas on several fronts. Whereas the first generation of post-independence Tunisian films focused on emancipation from colonial or first-generation neocolonial oppression, New Tunisian Cinema considered oppressive/repressive structures within the society itself: the neopatriarchal family, government corruption, the authoritarianism of the state, the mafia-like activities of President Ben Ali's extended family, the growth of political Islam, and so on.

Keywords:   Tunisian cinema, Tunisian films, Habib Bourguiba, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, allegories, emancipation, postcolonial societies, oppression

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