Sharjah, November 13, 2022: In a session titled ‘The Cinema Between Yesterday and Today’ moderated by Shaikha Al Mutairi, a panel of writers discussed the relationship between books and the visual media and shared their viewpoints on popular cinema culture in their home countries.
Writing for the screen has not yet been adapted in Algerian cinema, opined critically acclaimed Algerian writer Samir Qusaimi. “In cinema, Algerians are often portrayed as either pious or gullible, which is far from reality,” he said.
He added that more films were produced in the 80s compared to today. “In those days, every producer had at least one film coming out every year. Now, it is just one film in five years. Financiers do not have the risk appetite for funding films as they had earlier.”
For her part, Dr. Manya Suwaid, author and literary critic, said that cinema and literature share an inextricable relationship. “Each of them relies on the other for innovation. Novels are a reservoir of ideas, and filmmakers put the spirit of creation in them,” she said.
She added that films condense the writer’s emotions, and being true to a culture is the very essence of making successful cinema. “In the modern day, cinema comes to us in different formats. Our viewing habits have changed drastically, especially after the pandemic. Today we prefer to stay home and watch films on OTT platforms rather than go to cinema halls. From a production perspective, this is a crisis that needs to be tackled.”
Highlighting cinema’s vital role as a “soft force”, Algerian writer and playwright Rushdi Radwan said that it was vital for countries to use this soft power to portray truth and not distort it.