Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ARAB2051: Middle Eastern Cinema

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Arabic)

ARAB2051: Middle Eastern Cinema

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Arabic Language 1 (ARAB1012) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Arabic Language 2 (ARAB2002).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module aims to:
  • Introduce students to and familiarise them with films from the Middle East.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge of the aesthetic and visual language of films.
  • Enable students to critically assess and interpret films from the Middle East.


  • This module will introduce students to established and emerging cinemas from the Middle East. During the year we will view films from Iran, Turkey, Israel and the Arab world (the Levant and North Africa) to understand the socio-cultural and historical context in which these films were produced and screened.
  • We will also focus on the ways in which Middle Eastern films provide a portal into a wider set of social, cultural and political issues that have marked the history of the region.
  • Some of the key issues we will explore through film viewings and selected readings include questions of nation and nationhood, conflicts and revolutions, gender, family, tradition and modernity as well as religion and extremism.
  • The module will identify existing and emerging aesthetic trends that have marked the visual culture of the Middle East as well as the modes of censorship that have scripted themselves onto the cultural expression of these films.
  • Some of the filmmakers whose films we will focus on include but are not limited to: Abbas Kiarostami, Samira Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panahi, Elia Suleiman, Michel Khleifi, Youssef Chahine, Mufida Tlati, Daniel Arbid, Eran Riklis, Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students will:
  • Be familiar with the cinematic heritage of the Middle East as well as its new wave of filmic productions.
  • Have acquired knowledge of some key concepts of film studies and cultural theory more generally.
  • Have an understanding of the ways in which Middle Eastern films are closely connected to the wider socio-political and cultural climate of the region.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will be able to:
  • Critically interpret films from a wide range of national backgrounds and through various cultural and thematic frameworks.
  • Analyse the visual language and genre of Middle Eastern films and their place in World cinema.
  • Identify key trends and thematic links amongst and across the national and transnational film canon.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will be able to:
  • Engage with primary and secondary material related to Middle Eastern cinema.
  • Express critical ideas.
  • Produce a well-written and structured argument.
  • Present complex information in a clear and coherent manner.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught throughout the academic year in tems 1 and 2 on a 'long-thin basis
  • The module will be taught in the form of weekly 1-hour lectures and fortnightly one-hour seminars
  • The module will be assessed via two summative essays on a topic related to Middle Eastern cinema

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Tutorials 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Student preparation and reading time 170
Total SLAT hours 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 1 2,250 words 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2 2,250 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University