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Negotiating DissidenceThe Pioneering Women of Arab Documentary$
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Stefanie Van de Peer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696062

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696062.001.0001

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date: 29 June 2022

Ateyyat El Abnoudy: Poetic Realism in Egyptian Documentaries

Ateyyat El Abnoudy: Poetic Realism in Egyptian Documentaries

(p.28) Chapter 1 Ateyyat El Abnoudy: Poetic Realism in Egyptian Documentaries
Negotiating Dissidence

Stefanie Van de Peer

Edinburgh University Press

The first case study deals with the ‘mother’ of Egyptian documentary making Ateyyat el Abnoudy, and traces her career as a lawyer, journalist and filmmaker. As a pioneer of politically engaged and socially preoccupied documentary, she has influenced many young female filmmakers. Since the early seventies, her films, both short and feature length, have been celebrated throughout the world at festivals and retrospectives, but remain controversial in Egypt itself. This case study looks in detail at her early short films, Horse of Mud (1971), Sad Song of Touha (1972) and The Sandwich (1975), as well as feature length documentaries Permissible Dreams (1982), Responsible Women (1994) and Days of Democracy (1996). Dealing with the lower classes, women’s issues, education and illiteracy among women, their personal status and their political situation in Egypt, the films reflect a concern with the subaltern woman. The filmmaker’s concern with the subaltern woman stems from an intellectual preoccupation with inequality and a professional insight into the unwillingness of the state to deal with women’s problems.

Keywords:   Ateyyat El Abnoudy, Egypt, Women’s issues, Political representation, Arab feminism, Short film, Documentary, Poetic filmmaking

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