Film production in the Middle East is largely transnational, depending in many cases on external funding and co-production agreements. To date, the lion’s share of the funding comes from European organizations such as regional and national film funds, broadcasters, NGOs and the EU. Adopting an approach called ‘critical transnationalism’, this article examines modes of transnational film production in the Middle East through the case study of Greenhouse – a development programme for documentary filmmakers – and its acclaimed documentary 5 Broken Cameras (Israel/Palestine/France/Netherland, 2011). I argue that in this case a discourse of empowerment in the transnational sphere replicated neocolonial power dynamics, which undermined the liberating potential of transnational documentaries to transcend essentialist national discourses and cultural hegemonies. The production and exhibition contexts of the film have reproduced the neo-Orientalist discourse of Othering that locks the Palestinian into the position of the subaltern native, and aligns Israel with a European/Western position of cultural superiority.
- Palestinian cinema
- Israeli cinema