West Asian cinema: Wikis


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West Asian cinema
Iranian New Wave

West Asian cinema refers collectively to the film output and film industries of West Asia.

This particular refers to the sizeable industries of Iran, and Turkey. By definition, it also covers the film industries of Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.


By country


Cinema of Afghanistan


Cinema of Armenia is more substantial then the cinema of the Persian Gulf nations
  • Namus, was the first Armenian silent black and white film (1925, Namus at the Internet Movie Database), describing the ill fate of two lovers, who were engaged by their families to each other since childhood, but because of violations of namus (a tradition of honor), the girl was married by her father to another person.


The Cinema of Bahrain is small, there being only three Bahraini-made films as of 2007, all directed by Bassam Al-Thawadi. The first Bahraini film dates from 1990.

There are lots of cinemas in the country showing a mix of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. In addition there is an annual film festival and a cinema club.

The Bahraini Film Production Company was set up in 2006 to help support the Bahraini and wider Arab film industry.

Bahraini films

  • Al-Hajiz (The Barrier; 1990)
  • Za'er (Visitor; 2004)
  • A Bahraini Tale (2006)

Films shot in Bahrain

  • Ajnabee (2001) - an Indian film set in several countries including Bahrain
  • Afghan Muscle (2006) - a Danish/Afghan feature-length documentary covering a group of Afghan bodybuilders who travel to the Middle East
  • Cinema 500 km (2006) - a Saudi feature-length documentary about a young Saudi film fan who travels to Manama to attend a cinema, there being none in Saudi Arabia)

Bahraini directors

  • Bassam Al-Thawadi


Cinema of Cyprus


Cinema of Iraq


Cinema of Israel


Cinema of Iran
Iranian New Wave


Cinema of Jordan

Jordan's film industry is small but it is growing at a rapid pace. The SAE Institute Amman and The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts are two media schools that are training a new generation of Jordanian filmakers, directors, actors and actresses. Several films and film series have been produced over the past few years. Jordan is also becoming an important filming location with several international movies being shot in Jordan like Transformers 2.


The cinema of Kuwait is small. The first Kuwaiti film Bas ya Bahar (Cruel Sea) was released in 1972 with just a film or two per year. The movies aren't globally known because of the lack of publicity. They are mainly made for the Persian Gulf audiences. After the 90's Kuwait has developed its theaters and cinemas, the new and developed national cinema company is "Cinescape". There are currently 14 theaters in Kuwait.

Films shot in Kuwait

  • Bas Ya Bahar (Kuwaiti Movie; 1972)
  • Shabab Cool (Kuwaiti Movie; 2002)
  • Cute (Kuwaiti Movie; 2008)
  • Sedra (Kuwaiti Movie; 2001)
  • Al Denjewana (Kuwaiti Movie; 2009)
  • Kahin Na Kahin Milenge (Indian Movie; 2009)
  • 365 Boots on Ground (American documentary; 2005)
  • Baraka (American documentary; 1982)
  • Desert Sky (American documentary; 2005)
  • Fires of Kuwait (American short documentary; 1992)
  • Les Anges (Tunisian; 1984)
  • Lektionen in Finsternis (German short documentary; 1992)
  • Losing Ahmad (2006)
  • VeTool (short documentary; 2004)
  • Ahmad Al Sane's Life (African documentary; 1976)

Kuwaiti directors

  • Khalid Al Siddiq


The cinema of Oman is very small, there being only one Omani film Al-Boom (2006)as of 2007. Partly inspired by Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, Al-Boom (released in 2006), deals with the challenges facing a small fishing community. There is an annual film festival held in Muscat. A few Bollywood movies have been partly filmed in the country.

Films shot in Oman

Omani directors

  • Khaled Abdul Raheem Al-Zadjali


Cinema of Palestine

Saudi Arabia

Cinema of Saudi Arabia


List of Syrian films


Cinema of Turkey

United Arab Emirates

Cinema of the United Arab Emirates


The Cinema of Yemen is very small, there being only two Yemeni films as of 2008. Released in 2005, A New Day in Old Sana'a deals with a young man struggling between whether to go ahead with a traditional marriage or go with the woman he loves.

The film faced several difficulties in this very conservative country: an Austrian actor due to appear in the film was stabbed, the reluctance of Yemeni women to appear in the film forced them to cast a Lebanese woman in the lead female role and the set was stormed on the first day of shooting by a group of Islamic extremists. There were considerable problems with the government over the film and its content.

In August 2008, Yemen’s Interior Minister Mutahar al-Masri supported the launch of a new feature film to educate the public about the consequences of Islamist extremism. The Losing Bet was produced by Fadl al-Olfi. The plot follows two Yemeni jihadis, who return from years living abroad. They are sent home by an Al Qaeda mastermind to recruit new members and carry out deadly operations in Yemen.[1]

Yemeni films

Films shot in Yemen

  • The English Sheik and the Yemeni Gentleman (American; 2000)
  • Il fiore delle mille e una notte (Italian; 1974) - this film generated controversy in Yemen when it was discovered that the finished film contained sex scenes
  • Le Mura di Sana (Italian short; 1964)
  • Le Schiave Esistono Ancora (Italian; 1964)

List of Yemeni directors

See also


  1. ^ http://www.pulitzercenter.org/openitem.cfm?id=1129 - Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, August 29, 2008

External links



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