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Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film
Cinema, as a Western form of visual expression and entertainment, did not encounter resistance in Turkey, a country culturally and geographically bridging East and West. It perfectly represented the ambivalent attitudes of the national / cultural identity under construction. On one hand, cinema came as a sign of modernization / Westernization, not only for the images of the West being projected onto the screen, but also for the conditions of its reception. Cinematography was a technological innovation imported from the West and the ritual of going to the movies became an important part of the modern urban experience. On the other hand, cinema offered possibilities for the production of a ‘national discourse’. Many of the early feature films reflect the ‘birth of a nation’ or resistance to the Allied Forces during World War I. The audience was already familiar with the apparatus (theatre, screen, figures, music and sound, light and shadow), which bore some resemblance to the traditional Turkish shadowplay Karagöz, one of the most popular entertainment forms of the past.