Libya Geography and Cinematography

The name of Libya, derived from classical geography (see below), came from the geographer F. Minutilli recalled with his Bibliography of Libya (Turin 1903) and applied to the region then constituting the Turkish Paschalate of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. Later it was also officially adopted by the Italian government after, by decree of 5 November 1911, the region itself was declared under its full and absolute sovereignty (see Italo-Turkish, war). This denomination, therefore also entered into international use, is to indicate the two Italian colonies of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (placed by decree of 24 June 1929 under the authority of a single governor general), as well as the coastal territories and interior that the two colonies are aggregated (Sirtica, Marmarica, Fezzan) and the various Saharan oases that fall within their borders; hence we refer to them for more detailed information. Here we will limit ourselves to recalling some physical and ethnic characteristics and administrative provisions that are common to the whole region.

Libya extends along the Mediterranean coast of Africa from Ras Agedir to West (11 ° 30 ′ long. E.), to Maaten er-Ramla in the Gulf of Sollum (es-Sallüm) to E. The coastal development between the two extreme points indicated is related to. about 1700 km. The internal border to the west is regularly marked by Ras Agedir up to Gadames (Franco-Turkish agreement of 1910) and therefore by the route established by the Franco-Italian agreement of 12 September 1919, which from the aforementioned point passing W of Gat, reaches the Tummo Mountains, while the eastern border, according to the route of the agreement of 6 December 1925, from Maaten er-Ramla, passing about 30 km. to E. of Giarabub, it reaches the 25th meridian at the parallel of 29 ° 29 ‘and follows the same meridian until the meeting of the 22nd parallel. Between the Tummo Mountains and the point now indicated the question of the southern border of Libya, through the Tibesti, remains to be defined, as Italy has not recognized the Franco-British treaty delimiting the respective spheres of influence. The area of ​​Libya therefore remains uncertain; to give an approximate notion it can be said that, temporarily limiting it towards S., at the 22nd parallel, it extends for approximately 1,638,000 sq km. As a whole, Libya is considered to be part of lower Africa, including the western section of the Libyan trench enclosed to the NW. from the Tripoli plateau, to the NE. from the Cyrenaic one and to S. from the Tibesti massif. Apart from the aforementioned plateaus, known by the common designation of Gebel, of sedimentary origin and less than 900 m high, the internal area is made up of desert plains, on which stand isolated mountain groups of sedimentary origin and of different ages, from ancient crystalline rocks, and from volcanic rocks. The climatic conditions of the internal region impress on most of it the Saharan desert nature in its various forms (edeien, serir, hammada) interspersed with wide valley furrows where the scarce meteoric waters are collected and those of the subsoil emerge, constituting the oases, much extensive, especially in the Fezzan region. A remarkable uniformity is found throughout the Libyan region with regard to the climate which in the coastal areas and in the Gebel is that of the warm and semi-arid temperate countries, and in the inland areas it assumes, as has been said, the characteristics of the desert climate with very high day trip, waves range from 45-50 ° in the midday hours to a few degrees below zero at night. There is very little humidity and almost no rain which can be absent for several years and then sometimes pours into very violent downpours. Natural vegetation and animal life are of great importance throughout the region, for which reference should be made to the regional entries.

The same applies to the population consisting for the great majority of more or less Arabized Berber elements, a few thousand Negroids (tebbu) and descendants of Negro slaves in the southernmost regions. Overall, according to the data of the 1931 census (provisional figures) Libya had 705,187 residents, of which 540,580 for Tripolitania and 164,607 for Cyrenaica. A total of 49,727 whites and assimilates are included (overwhelmingly metropolitan Italians), of which 30,866 for Tripolitania and 18,871 for Cyrenaica. (See pl. VII-X). For Libya 1997, please check


Independent since 1951, Libya had to wait about twenty years for its own cinematography to be established, which however, due to the scarce technical means and the lack of production facilities, did not have an effective continuity of growth. During the long years of the Italian occupation, in fact, Libyan cinema had suffered the consequences of the cultural policy of Italy which, totally disinterested in the developments of local cinema, spread its programming throughout the country. Subsequently, the economic and political isolation to which Libya was subjected due to the international embargo, implemented starting from 1992 to isolate its leader, Colonel Gaddafi, inevitably influenced the evolution of national cinema, which still at the beginning of the 21st century. remains marked by the recurring theme of the fight against foreign invasion. It was in the 1960s that the first documentaries were produced to illustrate some moments of the struggle against colonial rule, which were then joined by some fictional feature films. In 1971 the Directorate of Film Production was established and in 1973 the General Body of Cinema was born with the task of controlling cinemas and broadcasting foreign films, but also equipped with systems to produce national works and a newsreel. of Libyan cinema were noted: Ahmad Attukhi (also known as El Toukhi) (Intifāḍat ša῾b, 1970, The revolt of a people), al-Hadi Rashid (al-Bayt al-ğadīd, 1970, The new house; No !, 1985), Abdallah Rezzoug (Quand le destin devient cruel, 1972), Yusuf Sha῾ban (al-Ṭarīq, 1973, The road). Two of the most important Libyan films were made in the late 1970s and mid-1980s, namely Ma῾rakat Taġrifit (1979, The Battle of Taghrifit) by Khalid Mustafa (also known as Khaled Khachim) and Mahmud Ayad Dariza (also known as Mohamed Ayad Driza), which evokes an episode of the fight against Italian colonialism, and al-Šaẓiyya (1984, The Splinter) by Muhammad Ali al-Firjani (also known as al-Farjani), the first film made entirely in L ., shot with local technical and artistic cast. The film, based on the homonymous short story by the Libyan writer I. al-Kawnī, tells the story of two men who cross the desert strewn with mines left unexploded since the Second World War. In the 1990s, Abdu Allah al-Zarruk emerged with two strongly visionary works: Ma῾zūfat al-maṭar (1992, The melody of the rain), a portrait of a wealthy bourgeois woman and a penniless intellectual, and Avis aux personnes concernées (1993), in which family and social conflicts are analyzed. A significant contribution comes from Mohamed Mesmari (La chaise, 1997) and Salah Eddine Gueder (Le comportement du tiers du corps, 1998), authors of two short films both characterized by a political-surreal element. Finally, another director to report is Mustafa al-Aqqad, of Syrian origin, who alongside the film on the origins of Islam, al-Risāla (1975, The Message), created the international blockbuster ῾Umar al-Muh̠tār: al- Ṣah̠rā᾽ – Omar Mukhtar: Lion of the desert (1980) starring Anthony Quinn.


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