This essay analyzes the history of Egyptian film in relationship to the common perception of women in Egypt. From the early stages of Egyptian cinema, women assumed leadership positions, helping build the undeveloped industry to its height in the mid-1900's. An increasingly state-led and male-dominated film industry, however, adopted women as a symbol of nationalism, while neglecting them as equals through traditionalist film content. Furthermore, in the last quarter of the 20th century, governmental influences resulted in a shortage of production resources. Although commercial motion pictures suffered, social-issue, realist movies have reignited feminist initiatives and provided hope for a recovering Egyptian film industry.



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