Lawrence of Arabia: A Film's Anthropology
Combining ethnography, film criticism, and his extensive knowledge of the Middle East, Steven C. Caton presents an innovative and fascinating examination of the classic film, Lawrence of Arabia. Caton is interested in why this epic film has been so compelling for so many people for more than three decades. In seeking an answer he draws from situations in his own life, biographies of the film's key participants, and analyses of issues relating to class, gender, colonialism, and cultural differences. The result is a many-prismed book that poses important questions of ethnographic representation and the discourse of power.
Caton's approach is dialectical, and his readings of the film are situated within different historical periods, from the early 1960s to the present. Among the subjects he highlights are travel and colonialism in fieldwork and filmmaking, orientalism in the representation of the Other, and the film's ambiguous handling of masculinity and homosexuality. Caton looks at his own reactions to the film at various stages in his life and offers a thought-provoking account of the film's reception by today's high school and college students.
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actors Allenby Alyce ambiguous ambivalent American anthropologist Aqaba Arab argue artistic asked Auda audience become bedouin Bentley Bolt Bolt's Brighton British camera chapter character cinema CinemaScope close-up colonial complex constructed course criticism critique cultural Damascus David Lean Deraa desert dialectical director epic example fact Farraj Feisal figure film industry film's filmmakers gaze gender genre going native Gulf War hero Hollywood homosexual Ibid interview irony Jordan Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence's Lean's look MAD Magazine male masculinity Michael Wilson Middle East movie narrative O'Toole's officers Omar Sharif orientalist perhaps Peter O'Toole political Press Prince Feisal production psychological reading realism relationship rence representation Robert Bolt robes role Sam Spiegel scene screen script seems seen sense sexuality Sherif shooting spectator Spiegel story T. E. Lawrence Tafas theater theme tion Turkish Turks watching wide-screen Wilson women York