The summer is heating up and so it’s time to explore entertainment set in sunnier climes and to dig into a fascinating topic: Orientalism in silent film.
Orientalism is the exoticization of Asia and Asian culture as seen through the lens of colonialism. This is a massive subject and so for this month, I will be limiting myself to films set in the Islamic world and Indian subcontinent (of course, there is overlap).
I realize that there is a lot of hot rhetoric around this topic but I ask everyone to avoid politics in their discussion. This month is all about examining the ways Hollywood and European film studios viewed and portrayed Asia and Northern Africa in their films. It’s all about the culture and the movies.
We’re going to be discussing the disconnect between fantasy and reality this month and we’re going to do it by watching films from the biggest stars and directors of the silent era. I hope you find the topic as interesting as I do.
In the meantime, here are some of the films I have already covered: