FQ columnist Bilal Qureshi reflects upon the significance of Bong Joon-ho's Parasite's Oscar victory over the presumed favorite, Sam Mendes' World War I drama 1917 for both the film industry and the culture at large. In keeping with the premise of his column “Elsewhere,” which explores the ways in which cinematic works are activated and reframed by the national, cultural, and aesthetic geography of where they are experienced, Qureshi offers a fresh perspective on these two films based upon his experience of watching 1917 in Dubai, with Arabic subtitles and an ethnically diverse audience. Viewed in this Middle Eastern context, a film dismissed as passé and traditional by U.S. critics revealed itself as urgent and resonant, transcending differences of language and geography to offer a potent reminder of why the pain and loss of war still matters.
Elsewhere: Location, Location, Location: Watching 1917 in Dubai
Bilal Qureshi is a radio journalist and cultural critic exploring the intersection of international politics, identity and art. From 2008 to 2015, he served as producer and editor for NPR's All Things Considered. He now profiles authors, filmmakers, visual artists, and musicians for the network. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. He also co-hosts the FQ podcasts for Film Quarterly.
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Bilal Qureshi; Elsewhere: Location, Location, Location: Watching 1917 in Dubai. Film Quarterly 1 June 2020; 73 (4): 65–67. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.73.4.65
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