In his 1987 article on Arab cinema, Férid Boughédir argued that after the wave of political films of the 1970s which denounced a whole range of ills besetting Arab societies – the corruption of the ruling classes, social inequality, the rural exodus, the endurance of pernicious traditions, the condition of women, etc. – the “new” Arab cinema of the 1980s had turned inwards. In order to understand who they were, filmmakers revisited their own childhood. Henceforth their central theme would be the identity and struggles of a male character caught between his own desires and the will of the community, crushed by forces beyond his control. In this inward turn towards the family, repressive forces were invariably represented by a feudal, tyrannical father, while the mother inspired ambivalent emotions: “mother courage” or “mater dolorosa” on the one hand, castrating matriarch on the other.
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