Reel Bad Arabs


Christian Blauvelt

Christian Blauvelt graduates this June from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication degree. A Radio/TV/Film major, Christian has devoted himself to the critical study of film, video, and television. While devoting considerable effort to aesthetic evaluations of cultural texts, he is also concerned with placing media in their socio-political context. Committed to the study of hegemony theory, he has put great time into analyzing the push-pull dynamics of hegemonic-counterhegemonic forces over post-9/11 media like Fox TV’s 24. A committed culturalist, Christian believes that a worthwhile work of art can come from any background, rejecting traditional aesthetic hierarchies. Therefore, he can appreciate both the latest episode of Lost and Ousmane Sembene’s Ceddo.

Christian’s latest research includes the following: issues of sexism and female empowerment in Italian cinema; anxiety, paranoia, and conspiracy in post-9/11 documentaries; Michel Foucault’s panopticon in Middle Eastern films like Yilmaz Guney’s Yol, Youssef Chahine’s Cairo Station, and Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up; commercialism and transnationalism in contemporary Turkish Cinema; the re-appropriation of the male gaze for female empowerment in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious; the role of South African television in ending apartheid; medievalism in the films of Andrei Tarkovsky; image construction, shallow youth culture, and the rise of Barack Obama; women as loci for disruptions to historical memory and challenges to neocolonialist aesthetics in Humberto Solas’s Lucia; and genre obfuscation in the films of Clint Eastwood and Jean-Pierre Melville.    

Christian has written as a film and TV critic for The Daily Northwestern. He also reviews student films on-air as a broadcaster for MTVU and in March 2008 covered the College Television Awards for MTVU in LA. Christian also has worked at Allied Advertising, a firm conducting the publicity campaigns for several Hollywood studios including Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Universal. In June 2008, he will begin writing for Entertainment Weekly magazine as a DVD and book critic.