The Allegorical Nation

Viola Shafik

in Popular Egyptian Cinema

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9789774160530
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970108 | DOI:
The Allegorical Nation

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This chapter focuses on “exaggerated” national allegories and on cases where the image of the nation oscillates between metaphors of male and female, domination and subjugation, offense and defense. Imagining the Egyptian nation as male in the face of a female West can certainly unfold an “empowering” effect if understood in Bill Nichols' sense, namely as “wish-fulfillment.” In general female-nation narratives such as The Sparrow the role of the threatened woman usually called for a man in the role of savior. Nasser's cinematic image got constructed through the explicit insistence on difference between self and other, nation and colonial power, male and female, galvanizing moments of defense and offense at the same time.

Keywords: female; wish-fulfillment; Nasser The Sparrow; empowering effect; Bill Nichols

Chapter.  8632 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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