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Arab Cinema, Global television, Melodrama, Turkish Cinema

Global soap

Photos of the stars of the Turkish soap opera "Noor" are sold in Ramallah on the West Bank. (Muhammed Muheisen/ Associated Press, taken from the website of the Boston Globe in 2008)

The global soap opera is a phenomenon that should get much more attention in both film and media studies. TV soaps are primarily the television offspring of traditional cinematic family melodramas, albeit in ‘serial narrative’ form rather than single narratives. Their production flourishes in those countries with a heritage of film production in this genre.

The US and UK, other English-speaking countries (e.g. Australia) and much of Europe have produced soaps for home consumption and exports within their own language markets. The same is true in India (and probably East Asia – can anyone confirm this?). But the interesting development is what global media theorists refer to as the ‘contra-flow’ of exported soap operas outside the American-dominated English-language market. The Latin-American telenovela in Spanish or Portuguese conquered much of Africa and parts of Eastern Europe decades ago, but it has competition from another source – the Arabic-language soaps primarily from Egypt, but according to a recent news report also in dubbed form from Turkey.

Noor is a Turkish soap which when it finished its run was attracting up to 80 million viewers from “Morocco to Palestine” according to the Guardian and which is now promoting tourism from Arab countries to Istanbul. This looks like an effective move into ‘soft power’ as Turkey seeks leadership across the countries of North Africa and Western Asia. It goes well with the recent resurgence of Turkish Cinema. Researching this story, I’m all too well aware of my ignorance of a programme that has become a cultural phenomenon in the Arab world through showings first on the MBC channel.

Here’s a BBC business report on the success of Turkish soaps:

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Global soap

  1. Nour (Gumus) was the inspiration for the North American independent feature film called “Almost a Turkish Soap Opera”.

    Almost a Turkish Soap Opera, is a film that captures the turmoils of two young modern Turkish men trying to make a home in the West but finding their lives have turned into a Turkish soap opera. Almost a Turkish Soap Opera, an independent film by Sababa Emporium Productions and AR&B Films, has finished filming principal photography and is currently in post-production. The movie was filmed entirely on the Red One camera in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The film reflects on how Turkish soap operas have become very popular in the Middle East and now in Europe. The producers of the film will showcase the feature film in North American and European festivals and also as a Turkish soap opera in the Middle East dubbed in Turkish and Arabic and other languages.

    The trailer can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/3arnb9?feature=mhum

    Posted by Rinoa | October 7, 2010, 04:10

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