Exploring the Cinema of Exile in Hisham Bizri’s Films

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2021)
Title: Exploring the Cinema of Exile in Hisham Bizri’s Films
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Elissa Ayoub, American University In Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Roozbeh Kafi, American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates


This research paper examines the themes of exile and diaspora in Hisham Bizri’s films Vertices: Beirut. Dublin. Seoul (2016), Shooq (2017), and ELEKTRA, My Love (2021). The paper analyzes Bizri’s films by applying Hamid Nafsi’s concept of accented films as an analytical framework, which refers to films produced in the West by postcolonial or Third World filmmakers. Much like the accented films, Bizri’s films represent a “performance of identity” that is driven by a sense of homelessness, displacement and exile that transcend “the totalizing national allegories” through deterritorization and the quest of home-seeking. ELEKTRA’s fragmentary stories of desire, Shooq’s fragment of found objects as psychological elements that help the actor make sense of the world around him, and Vertices’ fragments of a day in the life of three cities inscribe the experience of displacement. Bizri uses different filmmaking methodologies, cinematography and mise en scene, such as the 50 second for each shot in Vertices, rooted in the tradition of Lumiere Brothers cinema, the Bergman-influenced fictional performance in Elektra, and the cinema verite in Shooq. The research question this paper sets to answer is what defines Bizri’s work as accented films that are methodologically different in filmmaking techniques and themes.

Virtual Presentation

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