It’s not a circumscribed genre, but it could be, especially in the last few years: “political hotspot cinema” — those films that deal with conflicts and crises around the world, often with the intention of raising awareness for particular issues or simply offering a window onto a misunderstood culture. That’s what I was thinking, at least, when I pitched this course to the New School: “Political Hotspot Cinema: Films from Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Korea.” The class begins the day I return from Sundance, Jan. 25, and I’m still looking for interested students. If you know someone who might be interested, please forward along the info.
Here’s the course description and a link to the New School site.
“Political crises often lead to powerful, provocative art. This course examines cinema from some of the world’s current political hotspots–from George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” nations (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea) to Israel and Palestine. Surveying recent and contemporary documentary and narrative work, the course goes beyond news headlines to reveal the richness and complexities of these nations’ cinemas and cultures. We study the prolific movie industry of Iran, which presents a vision of the country in stark contrast to Western media representations; documentaries about contemporary Iraq from both U.S. and Arab filmmakers; movies from both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; work from the thriving South Korean film industry, with attention to the way films portray the painful division with the North. Do these films reflect a national consciousness? What do they say that is not conveyed in the nightly news? Can cinema help to heal the rifts both within these countries and with the West?”