"i Have Ambition": Muhammad Ramadan's Proletarian Masculinities in Postrevolution Egyptian Cinema
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Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press. This article provides a close reading of two popular Egyptian action films, al-Almani (The German, 2012), the first blockbuster since the 25 January 2011 revolution, and Qalb al-Asad (Lion heart, 2013), both starring Muhammad Ramadan as a socially produced proletarian "thug" figure. Made for Egyptian audiences, the films privilege entertainment over aesthetics or politics. However, they express distinct messages about violence, morality, and revolution that are shaped by their moments of postrevolutionary release. They present the police state in salutary yet ambivalent terms. They offer a rupture with prerevolutionary cinema by staging the failure of proletarian masculinities and femininities that rely on middle-class respectability in relation to sex, marriage, and work. Even as each film expresses traces of revolutionary upheaval and even nostalgia, cynicism rather than hopefulness dominates, especially in al-Almani, which conveys to the middle and upper classes the specter of an ever-present threat of masculine frustration. The form and content of Qalb al-Asad, by comparison, offer the option of reconciling opposing elements- A n Egyptian story line with a less repressive conclusion if one chooses a path between revolutionary resistance and accepting defeat.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1017/S0020743820000033
Publication InfoHasso, FS (2020). "i Have Ambition": Muhammad Ramadan's Proletarian Masculinities in Postrevolution Egyptian Cinema. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 52(2). pp. 197-214. 10.1017/S0020743820000033. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21149.
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Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies
I am an Associate Professor in the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Duke with secondary appointments in the Department of History and Department of Sociology. I taught in and directed the International Comparative Studies Program at Duke from 2010-2015 and was a member of the Oberlin College faculty from 2000-2010. I am Editor Emerita (2015-2018) of the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. I have been a National Humanities Cen