Views from the Other Side:Arabic Filmmakers on the War in the Middle East
John Markert

The public fervor that swept the United States in the wake of the attacks on September 11th and led to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began to waiver between 2004 and 2005 and would start to turn against the war in 2006. Cinema produced in the United States that appraised the war largely reflected the public mindset. Early cinema was decidedly pro-war. In 2004 and 2005, there was an increase in films debating the war. The number of domestic films that challenged the status quo during this period outnumbered those supporting the war by a 2:1 margin. If Arabic films released in the United States are included, those films challenging the status quo rose to a 3:1 margin. It is argued that the Arabic films played a significant role in inflaming the public’s attitude toward the war in Iraq. Once Hollywood perceived a fictional market for films that challenged the ongoing war(s) and began to release fictive features in some number, there was no longer a need to import Arabic films. Arabic filmmakers played a key role at a critical juncture in offering a perspective that has now gained wider attention. The present analysis examines what these films contributed to the debate.

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