From Casablanca to Sahara: Hollywood's North Africa
Casablanca (1942) Sahara (1943) Preceded by The Cats Bah, a short (1954)
Saturday, June 06, 2009
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
The Billy Wilder Theater, UCLA Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd
During the classical studio era, North Africa was a familiar locale for Hollywood's Orientalist fantasies. In addition to clichéd images of camels, vast deserts (both real and imagined) and ubiquitous Fez hats, Hollywood films often featured Westerners seeking escape, adventure and fortune amid the local "wanton" women and "barbaric" men. The North African or Maghreb region--from Libya to Western Sahara--was perceived in American popular culture in terms of what Edward Said described as an "imaginative geography…a place of romance, haunting memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences." Classic examples of these films include the legendary melodrama, Casablanca (1942); the Marlene Dietrich romances, Morocco (1930) and The Garden of Allah (1936); the comedies of Laurel and Hardy, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and others; and the many B-movies about the Casbah, Algiers, Tangier, the Foreign Legion and the vast Saharan desert. This program presents these and other classic films from the studio era to highlight the breadth of Hollywood's obsession with North Africa and raise questions about the implications and consequences of this fascination for today.
This series is held concurrently with an exhibit in the Powell Library Rotunda on the UCLA campus, titled America's North Africa, which brings to public view American Orientalist narratives about North Africa in pop culture items (books, films and games) from the Young Research Library's Department of Special Collections.
Special thanks to: Jonathan Friedlander, Susan Slyomovics--UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies.
Cost: Free admission, first come first served