Of naked yearning and political intervention

Haifa Wehbe

Women and the images of women in Arab music videos
A lecture by Irit Neidhardt



They flicker incessantly across the flatscreens, there is hardly any escape from them, either in private or in public. Music videos are ubiquitous in the Arab world. Most of them are produced in Lebanon and broadcast via transnational Arab satellite TV stations, in particular the Saudi ##Rotana Music## station. The songs are usually sung in Egyptian dialect, as Egypt continues to be at the heart of the large Arab entertainment industry.
Haifa Wehbe is currently one of the mega stars among female singers. The number of times she has had cosmetic surgery provides endless material for jokes and gossip. Wehbe‘s video clips, produced by Haifa Wehbe Productions and Rotana Music, are sometimes reminiscent of Schulmädchenreport (schoolgirl reports), and are fairly typical of videos for mass consumption.
Nadine Labaki, known here as the director and main actor of the feature film Caramel, is one of the top stars among women music video directors. She became famous above all through the clips for pop star Nancy Ajram, seen by some as the Britney Spears of the Arab world. Her videos are considered to be of a higher artistic quality than the mainstream, as they tell small stories.
In Arabian video clips, women seduce, cry, kill or mock the ruling classes. Using numerous examples, the lecture gives an insight into the worlds of sounds and images of Arabian music videos, peeks behind the scenes at the production studios, and questions the media clichées concerning women in the Arab and Islamic world.

Irit Neidhardt (born in 1969) grew up in Germany and Israel. She runs mec film (middle eastern cinemas), a distribution and consultancy company for films from the Middle East. Irit Neidhardt worked as a screenplay consultant with Sayed Kashua (Dancing Arabs) on the screenplay adaptation of his novel Da ward es Morgen. She is co-producer of the multiple award-winning Jordanian documentary film Recycle (2007) and of the award-winning Lebanese documentary, The One Man Village (2008), and has also published two books and written numerous articles on the subject of cinema and the Middle East.

Sunday 17 April 2011, 2pm, Kino im U, Leonie-Reygers-Terrasse 2, Dortmund