Examined within their economic, cultural, and political context, the work of women Maghrebi filmmakers forms a cohesive body of work. Florence Martin examines the intersections of nation and gender in seven films, showing how directors turn around the politics of the gaze as they play with the various meanings of the Arabic term hijab (veil, curtain, screen). Martin analyzes these films on their own theoretical terms, developing the notion of "transvergence" to examine how Maghrebi women’s cinema is flexible, playful, and transgressive in its themes, aesthetics, narratives, and modes of address. These are distinctive films that traverse multiple cultures, both borrowing from and resisting the discourses these cultures propose.
Overture: Maghrebi Women’s Transvergent Cinema
Act I: Transnational Feminist Storytellers: Shahrazad, Assia, and Farida
1. Assia Djebar’s Transvergent Narrative in The Nuba of the Women of Mount Chenoua (Algeria, 1978)
2. Farida Benlyazid’s Initiated Audiences in A Door to the Sky (Morocco, 1998)
Act II: Screens & Veils
3. Yamina Bachir-Chouikh’s Transvergent Echoes in Rachida (Algeria, 2002)
4. Raja Amari’s Screen of the Haptic in Red Satin (Tunisia, 2002)
5. Nadia El Fani’s Multiple Screens and Veils in Bedwin Hacker (Tunisia, 2002)
Act III: From Dunyazad to Transvergent Audiences
6. Yasmina Kassari’s "Burning" Screens in The Sleeping Child (Morocco, 2004)
7. Selma Baccar’s Transvergent Spectatorship in Khochkhach (Tunisia, 2006)
Appendix A: Political and Cinematic Chronology
Appendix B: Primary Filmography
Martin’s ‘Screens and Veils’ provides a welcome addition to the rapidly expanding field of Maghrebi film studies. . . Martin is at once a creative and complete commentator of films, and her book stands to become a staple for novices and experts of the filmic Maghreb alike.
This book inscribes a new chapter in women filmmaking on the Maghreb; it makes an important contribution to cinema, literature, and cultural studies. . . . Highly recommended.
Florence Martin's Screens and Veils . . . manages to effectively shed a light on the diverse yet underrepresented cinema of Maghrebi women.5.1 2014
[T]his study constitutes an important and timely addition to the study of Francophone cinemas and of Maghrebi cinemas in particular.86.2
Screens and Veils' provides an excellent presentation and analysis of women’s filmmaking from North Africa. . . Its attention to contemporary film theory is matched by its presentation of materials derived from Martin’s interviews with filmmakers, interviews that reveal a sincere engagement with the filmmakers and a deep understanding of contemporary production. In short, this is a fine book that will be of interest to anyone working on or teaching film and gender studies in North African and Middle Eastern studies, and beyond.44 2013
Journal of Arabic Literature
Screens and Veils: Maghrebi Women’s Cinema . . . offers an insightful and novel alternative to the usual postcolonial feminist approaches to Maghrebi women’s film studies. Rather than providing the reader with an encyclopedic summary, or a historical accounting of the topic, Martin’s work argues for a transnational feminist reading of Maghrebi cinema that speaks to the fluid interplay between various cultural systems, narrative structures, and aesthetic forms across borders and among diverse cultural audiences.
Research in African Literatures