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A Common Ground … Where Three Religions Come Together (1987, 21 minutes)

Posted by: globaledadmin on Monday, February 8, 2010

Recommended because of its discussion of the three Abrahamic religions. Using the holy city of Jerusalem as a stage, this presentation explores some of the commonalties and differences of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, three great religions that have their roots in Southwest Asia. Examining the sacred texts of each, the film compares without judgment central issues such as divine revelation, transcendence, profession of faith, the relationship of man to God, the significance of laws and teachings, and beliefs about the reign of God and final judgment. The film incorporates useful historical maps, religious architecture, and many scenes from the city of Jerusalem. This is a fair comparison of beliefs and practices that does not concentrate so much on the history of contact between the religions as on their individual structures and practices. [AGF] Produced by David Nalle for the Islamic Affairs Program of the Middle East Institute. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU, also available through the University of Utah. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

A Veiled Revolution (1982, 26 minutes)(NYU)

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Recommended because of its focus on understanding Middle East women and the veil. This video is an excellent vehicle to help Western audiences see beyond stereotyped notions about women and veiling in the Middle East, and is especially useful in light of recent developments in Egypt. The film interviews Egyptian women who have chosen and not chosen “lawful dress,” and illustrates different interpretations and types of covering among women who wear it. Film examines both the realities and misperceptions of this tradition, correctly describing it as a newer, adapted mode of dressing, rather than “a return to the veil.” Women interviewed come from many walks of life — some in the workplace, some not — and include others who don’t wear the veil. Fernea again provides a useful study guide with good background information for the instructor. [AGF] Recommended for middle and high school students.Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU and to North Pacific and Upper Midwest States through the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) *Study guide available with video. Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

Media Type: Media

Addicted to Black (NYU)

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Recommended because of its focus on Palestinians and Israelis using the important coffee culture of the Middle East. Topics and materials: This documentary uses the rituals surrounding the drinking of coffee as a way to examine daily life for Palestinians and Israelis. The “culture of coffee” is shared by both communities and the filmmakers use it as a context in which to compare life in the Arab communities and on Israeli settlements. [ZG] Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Afghanistan Unveiled (2003)

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Recommended because it was filmed by the first ever team of women video journalists trained in Afghanistan. This rare and uncompromising film explores the effects of the Talibans repressive rule and recent U.S. military campaign on Afghani women. None of the fourteen journalist trainees had ever traveled outside Kabul. Except for one, none had been able to study or pursue careers while the Taliban controlled their country.
Leaving Kabul behind for the more rural regions of the country, the filmmakers present heartbreaking footage of Hazara women whose lives have been decimated by recent events. With little food and no water or electricity, these women have been left to live in caves and fend for themselves, abandoned in the wake of the U.S. campaign. While committed to revealing such tragedies to the world, the filmmakers also manage to find moving examples of hope for the future. A poetic journey of self-discovery, Afghanistan Unveiled is a revelatory and profound reminder of the independent medias power to bear witness and reveal truth. Directed by Brigitte Brault and Aina Women Filming Group. This film can be found at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

Media Type: Media

Afghanistan: The Lost Truth (2003)

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Recommended because Iranian filmmaker Yassamin Maleknasr takes an unprecedented journey across Afghanistan from Herat to Balkh, becoming the only woman and filmmaker to have traveled such distances since the fall of the Taliban. Despite the turmoil and suffering they have endured, the women, men and children she encounters have heroically held on to their hopes for the future. Maleknasrs survey is thoughtful and diverse, ranging from rural families who dream of steady employment and peace, to proud female medical students who aspire to serve their country. Extraordinary interviews include a frank discussion about Taliban repression with one of the countrys only women judges, and an emotional conversation with filmmaker Siddiq Barmak, director of the Afghani feature Osama, describing the regimes senseless destruction of countless films and works of art. Exquisite camerawork throughout captures subtle facial expressions, architectural grandeur and a landscape of disarming beauty, painting a vivid portrait of both the Afghani people and their country. The film is a remarkable tribute to a people in search of equilibrium and determined to rebuild their beloved nation, and a fascinating look at Afghanistan from an Iranian perspective. This film can be found at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

Media Type: Media

Aleph-Bet Telethon: Discovering The Hebrew Letters (1999)

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Recommended because of its teaching children the Hebrew alphabet through the famous characters of Sesame Street. Topics and materials: The next time someone says, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” you’ll be able to answer. In Hebrew. Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and Elmo are off on a magical tour of Israel. So grab hold of the nearest hand and come along for the fun! Thrill to the sounds of your Sesame Street pals as they speak Hebrew and English! And make new friends with Jerry Stiller as he explores the people, places, traditions, and culture of Israel. Shalom Sesame. Like a picture postcard that not only wishes you were here, it takes you right along! Show 9 ? Aleph-Bet Telethon. The street signs have gone blank. The newspapers have no print. Can it be? Have the letters on Israel’s Sesame Street all disappeared? Tune in for a terrific telethon when Jerry Stiller and Kippi ben Kippod, Israel’s peppiest porcupine, try to raise all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet! Watch Joan Rivers, Nell Carter, Jeremy Miller, Tracy Gold, and Itzhak Perlman as they call in special letter donations. Even Moishe Oofnik and his Sesame Street cousin, Oscar the Grouch, lend a hand-sort of. And don’t touch that dial: there’s down-to-the-wire suspense as everyone tries to find the last missing letter. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Children’s Television Workshop. Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

Media Type: Media

Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity (1998, Print)

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Recommended because of its detailed narrative history with thought-provoking analysis, this study provides extensive coverage of cinema in the Arab World, tracing the industry’s development from colonial times to the present. It analyzes the ambiguous relationship with commercial western cinema, and the effect of Egyptian market dominance in the region. Covering North African, Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi, and Lebanese cinema, Arab Cinema traces the influence on the medium of local and regional art forms and shows how indigenous and external factors have combined in a dynamic process of ‘cultural repackaging. Reviewed byArab Film Distribution.

Media Type: Media

Arab Film Distribution

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Recommended because of its listing of all films made in or about the Middle East (including Iran and Turkey). Strengths of this site – all films have detailed descriptions, all films can be ordered and purchased online, this is the most credible vendor for buying and selling films from and about the Middle East. Reviewed by Jennifer Nichols, 05/2002.

Media Type: Media

Arab Gulf States – Globe Trekker

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Recommended because it provides a great introduction to three of the Arab Gulf States: Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Oman. By visiting these countries we see three very different ways in which the Gulf countries have encountered and adapted to modernity. The tape begins with a trip to Kuwait City and deals with its transformation since the first Gulf War. Next the guide visits the UAE and shows the extreme drive to modernize through advanced infrastructural investment. Lastly, we see Oman and the balance between the modern facade of Muscat to the traditional coastal town of Salalah and the Empty Quarter. Start by providing an introduction to the historical and contemporary geography of the Middle East. The vast wealth in the smaller Gulf countries is certainly the exception rather than the rule in the region. Before examining places like Dubai, put its development in its geographic context.

Media Type: Media

ARAMCO at Fifty (1993, 53 minutes) (NYU)

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Recommended because of its information on the American oil industry in Saudi Arabia. Use in conjunction with Cities of Salt. Topics and materials: This promotional video focuses on the development of the American oil industry (and ARAMCO) in Saudi Arabia, beginning in 1933 with the first geological expeditions. Most valuable are early photos of exploration camps, regional topography, and the Arabian peninsula before development. The tape makes for a heroic tale, but as one might expect, fails to place American efforts in the larger context of oil exploration in the Arabian peninsula, Iran and Iraq that began with the British in the 1890s, and was joined by the Dutch, French and Americans in the next century. Briefly addresses the economics of oil and its effects on Saudi Arabia, preferring to concentrate on the good fortune it has brought to the kingdom. The Story of Oil is recommended for a history of oil and related development in the region, and Cities of Salt for a critique of the oil industry and its effects on Saudi Arabia. [AGF] Produced by ARAMCO. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. Also available to teachers of the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest States through the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Art and the Islamic World (1993, 32 minutes)

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Recommended because of its focus on art in Islam. An excellent and easily accessible video that uses as illustrations slides of architecture, art and fine arts from all over the Islamic world, including Macedonia, Nigeria, North Africa, Western Asia and China. Each slide is helpfully labeled with a country location and century, allowing even those unfamiliar with Islamic art to note differences by region and time period. The narration begins with a brief introduction to Islam, offering theories on why Muhammad distrusted the arts of figurative sculpture and painting. The film discusses secular and religious themes, figures and styles characterizing art and architecture in Islamic countries, and helpfully points out that the idea of “Islamic art” is as hard to define as is the idea of Christian art. A concise, useful introduction that successfully conveys the breadth and variation of art in the Islamic world. [AGF] Produced by Walter Denny and Carel Bertram for Middle East Institute. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. Also available to teachers of the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest States through the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Bashu, the Little Stranger (1985, 120 minutes)

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Recommended because of its focus on the life of a young boy during the Iran-Iraq war. Topics and materials: This award-winning film by director Bahram Beizai is set during the Iran-Iraq war. Bashu, a young boy who has lost his home and family in wartorn Khuzestan, flees to Gilan, where he is adopted by a village woman despite the language and cultural differences and the objections of the other villagers. A brilliantly and sensitively photographed allegory of a boy’s search for meaning and identity, and his personal transformation. Directed by Bahram Beizai. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. Also available to teachers of the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest States through the University of Washington. Bashu is also available through the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Changing Lives: Women of the Middle East (1993, 15 minutes)

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Recommended because of its look at women in the Middle East. This polished, professional short film investigates the diversity of roles traditional and nontraditional that women choose in contemporary Middle Eastern society, and explores the rewards and repercussions of these choices. She interviews three women: a young, university-educated Muslim Irani continuing her studies at NYU; a former prima ballerina from Egypt teaching at NYU (also a Muslim); and an older Egyptian, Christian woman whose economic status goes undiscussed. The women ponder lifestyle choices and how their decisions were shaped by their views and experiences of women’s roles in society, and by paternal relationships. [CNES] Directed by Colleen Caden, an MA alumna in the Joint Program in Near Eastern Studies and Journalism. Recommended for middle and high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

Media Type: Media

Cities of Salt (1992, 38 minutes)

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Recommended because of its view of how American oil has effects communities in the Middle East. This fascinating profile of novelist Abd el-Rahman Munif and his series of five books, beginning with Cities of Salt includes interviews with Munif, dramatizations and readings of his novels, and pre- and post-oil footage and photographs. Cities of Salt is the story of the destruction of a desert community by American oil men; successive books in the series follow the development of the surreal society left in its place. Munif’s sharp criticism (he calls the oil industry “alien…unconnected to what surrounds it”) misses neither the British who handed out oil concessions, the Americans who took them, nor the shortsighted Saudi rulers who allowed it all to happen. His critique provides a sharp contrast to the myth that oil has meant wealth and happiness for all Saudi Arabians. (Showing this title alongside ARAMCO AT FIFTY provides an opportunity for critical analysis for younger students.) Note: There is a two-minute space on the tape between parts I and II. [AGF] Directed by Christopher Spencer & Patrick Matthews. Produced by Tariq Ali. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Dances of God (1979, 12 minutes)

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Recommended because of its information on the whirling dervish. Winning an award for the best short documentary film in Europe in 1981, Dances of God captures the ecstasy of the whirling dervish ritual. Filmed on location in Konya (Turkey), the film depicts one of the main groups of whirling dervishes in the country. The first two minutes have several glitches, but overall, they do not detract from viewer involvement. Note: Since the film has no narration, it can be prefaced with discussion of the history and symbolism of the ritual, the importance of the garments worn, etc. [CNES] Directed by Marc Mopti. Recommended for middle and high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Family Matters: The Role of the Family in the Middle East (25 minutes) (Utah)

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Recommended because of its view of Middle Eastern families. Discusses the origins and developement of the large, extended, and patriarchal Middle Eastern family. Examines how the line between family and state remains blurred in the Middle East. Grades 9 and up. Available for loan through the University of Utah. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle East Center at the University of Utah, 4/29/02.

Media Type: Media

Fifty Years War: The Israelis and the Arabs

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Recommended because in 300 minutes you receive an excellent overview of the Israeli-Arab conflict, from the 1947 UN partition of Palestine through 1998, when the documentary first aired. The best aspects of this documentary are the rare archival footage (some of which had not been aired before) and the incredible interviews with key players. The interviewees include Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Shamir ofIsrael, King Hussein of Jordon, Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Authority, Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Jafaar Numeiry of Sudan, and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter. I read a number of reviews of this documentary from several perspectives and the general consensus seems to be that it is a very well-balanced documentary. The negative comments are two-fold: first, the creation of Israel is not really addressed; rather, it is viewed as a given; and second, the video ends on a positive note, even thought the situation since has definitely gone downhill. Start by One great thing about this video is that the chapters are well organized and sequential. If you are only covering post-1973 in your class, for instance, just start with Part (or cassette) II.
Begins with the 1947 UN decision to partition Palestine and continues to current day (1998).

Media Type: Media

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For Those Who Sail to Heaven (1990, 48 minutes)

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Recommended because of its focus on the celebrations of the birth feast. The video leads us through the celebrations of the moulid, or birth feast, of Sidi Abu’l Hajjaj, whom legend says came from Iraq in the 12th century, usurped power from the matriarch of Luxor, and wove a thread around the town to achieve dominion. The moulid occurs at the temple of Luxor, where the divine boats of the gods once sailed in the ancient Egyptian feast of Opet. The film is given depth by constant comparison with the early Egyptian feast, and includes 1925 footage of the moulid. The film progresses between the current and ancient Egyptian practices, such as the use of mast poles, model boats, ritual combat, and the procession of the boats. We view the arrival of crowds from the countryside, chanting in the tomb, traditional stick-dancing, equestrian games, and the pulling of sacred boats around town on the main day of the moulid. Wickett has carefully portrayed the intertwining of ancient and modern so important in Egyptian life, but often missing in Western portrayal of Egypt. [MM] Produced by Elizabeth Wickett, Folklore Dept. of University of Pennsylvania. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Forces of Change: Women Artists of the Arab World (1994, 24 minutes)

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Recommended because of its study of women in the Middle East. Produced in conjunction with a traveling exhibit by Arab women artists, this film interviews 17 participants and shows examples of their work. The artists discuss their work in the context of feminist expression, and address issues such as traditions in their societies, ecology, Islam and human rights. Narrated by Casey Kasem. Directed by Zuheir al-Fiqih for Int’l Council for Women in the Arts. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

Media Type: Media

Haram: Yemen, the Hidden Half Speaks (2003)

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Recommended because HARAM offers a surprising look at womens lives and gender roles in contemporary Yemen. Produced at the request of the Yemeni Women National Committee. This astonishing film presents the affecting personal narratives of individual women struggling for self-determination, including Aisha, who defies both tribal law and her imposing father to sneak off to school and educate herself. When she is discovered, an entire village comes to her aid, convincing her father to drop his threats to kill her for the crime of being educated. Aisha, now a doctor with her own NGO, is an inspiring model of resistance against tradition, and her familys experience suggests with profound poignancy that change is possible.

Resisting the roles prescribed for them by brothers, husbands and fathers, these powerful women speak eloquently about breaking societal taboos and fighting for economic independence and self-sufficiency. Their moving stories are essential for understanding the myriad forms resistance can take. Lovingly made, HARAM provides an important perspective on women in the developing world and is an exhilarating demonstration of how change is possible and how it often begins one family at a time. A film by Fibi Kraus and Gudrun Torrubia. Information about renting this film can be found at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

Media Type: Media

Hunting Bin Laden Frontline 1999 and In Search of Bin Laden 2001

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Recommended because Hunting Bin Laden gives an excellent look at the state-of-the-art on Bin Laden before 9/11 and In Search of Bin Laden updates the original documentary in light of the aftermath of 9/11. The video was done as a joint partnership between Frontline and The New York Times and is hosted by Bill Moyers. Hunting Osama bin Laden provides an excellent background of Bin Laden, from his birth and upbringing, his migration to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and how this experience helped to solidify his ideolology, rare footage of interviews, and the embassy bombings in Africa. In Search of Bin Laden includes all of this, plus a new section with Bill Moyers on the USS Cole and 9/11. The video is great because it attempts to explain the formation of Osama bin Ladens motives, rather than only looking at specific terrorist attacks as many other 9/11 documentaries do. Start by starting in any section you want. The documentary is well organized. If there is a certain time-period you are interested in, it would be easy to only show that section.

Media Type: Media

I am a Sufi, I am a Muslim (1994, 52 minutes)

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Recommended because of its information on Sufism. This Belgian production is a solid introduction of Sufism, a branch of Islam that is less known in the West than the more mainstream Sunni and Shi-i practices. Focuses primarily on Sufism as it is practiced in parts of Pakistan and Macedonia, but also visits India and Turkey (Rumi is not discussed). Abundant footage of zikr traditions, with cogent explanation of saint worship, importance of qawwali music, and attainment of the ecstatic state. Gives context to various orders and traditions, discussing for instance how Sufis’ roles in Ottoman military processions have influenced the kinds of musical rhythms one hears in Macedonian zikrs. Includes performance by famed Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Warning: Includes graphic scenes of tongue, cheek, and body piercing during the ecstatic state that may be unsuitable for younger students. [AGF] Directed by Dirk Dumon. Recommended for middle and high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. This video is also available to teachers of Central Ohio through the Middle East Studies Center at OSU. For teachers of the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest States, the University of Washington will loan this film. The University of Arizona also carries it. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

I Miss the Sun (1984, 20 minutes)

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Recommended because of its modern tale of exodus from Egypt. In this tale of a modern day exodus, Mary Halawani profiles her grandmother, who left Egypt in the wake of rising nationalism and anti-Zionism in 1962. She was the last one in her family to leave Egypt and join her children, who had already moved to America. Using the Passover seder as the backdrop, Halawani examines the matriarch of a close Middle Eastern family, and the contrasts between the values and textures of life there and in America. Her grandmother misses the warmth and closeness of families in the society she left behind, as this is vividly portrayed in the care she lavishes on the elaborate and bountiful meal that brings her children and their families to her home each year. [AGF] Directed by Mary Halawani. Recommended for middle and high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

Media Type: Media

Iranian Journey (1999)

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Recommended because Massoumeh Soltan Baloghie is the first woman long-distance bus driver in Iran and perhaps in the Islamic world. Iraqi filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi joins this extraordinary woman on her 22-hour, 5,000-kilometer trip from Tehran to Bandar Abbas, talking with her passengers, her family and people en route to learn more about her remarkable story. These casual conversations strikingly reveal the overwhelming sense of expectation Iranians express about the possibility of change in their country, and the relationship between traditional and modern life, city and countryside, sacred and secular. Scenic footage from the road trip and stops along the way uncover an Iranian life that few foreigners see: a noted womens medical college in Qom, the production of rose water in Kashan, the Zoroastrian background of Yazd, and the bustling port of Bandar Abbas. A gentle and richly textured documentary, IRANIAN JOURNEY thoughtfully explores the lives and roles of women at a time of transition. In a country where womens choices, including what they wear, are restricted by legal and religious doctrine, Massoumeh is a symbol of determination for changes to take place in Islamic society. A film by Maysoon Pachachi, produced by Noura Sakkaf and Iraj Emami. Information about renting this film can be found at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

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Islam: Empire of Faith – PBS Video

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Recommended because there is an entire PBS companion website to this documentaries It includes extensive PBS educational resources to go along with the documentaries and 5 sets of K-12 lesson plans reviewed elsewhere on this site. The total documentary is 163 minutes. It covers the first 1000 years of Islam, from the pre-Islamic setting on the Arabian Peninsula, through the diffusion of the religion across the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia and parts of Southern Europe to the apex of the Ottoman Empire. Three aspects of this documentary set it apart from others: 1) excellent production, including narration by Ben Kingsley, 2) great footage of the sites of Islams development with re-enactments that are not cheesy, and 3) interviews with top academics on the subject. The material is accessible for high-school students and would work perfect in a history, religion or social studies class.

Media Type: Media

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Islamic Science & Technology (1988, 30 minutes)

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Recommended because of its information on Islamic contributions to science and technology. Topics and materials: From the middle of the 8th century until the European Renaissance, Arabic was the language of mathematics and science. Islamic science, synthesizing earlier Greek, Indian, and Near Eastern thinking made significant contributions in the fields of astronomy, physics, medicine, and engineering. Although it concentrates on some of these contributions, this film, originally titled “Islamic Knowledge,” is more a look at the relationship between the religion and scientific achievements. Opening with footage and narration of Sufi dervish dancing, the film continues by tracing the relationship of Qur’anic teachings and their practical applications in the development of science. (An example: the declared importance of rain to the world’s fecundity leads us to dams built during the 11th century when no such technology existed in the West.) Also explores the religion-philosophy-science relationship in fields of astronomy, astrology, medicine and physics. [AGF] Films for the Humanities, World of Islam series. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. This video is also available to teachers of Central Ohio through the Middle East Studies Center at OSU. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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Jerusalem, The Holy City (1987)

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Recommended because of its review of each of the three Abrahamic religions, and their ties to Jerusalem. This four-part series examines the political history, Biblical history and architecture of the three great religions that regard Jerusalem as a holy city. A fair treatment of each with few biases, though it inexplicably chooses to accord Islam less coverage. Focuses more on political (i.e. who controlled the city) and Biblical history than does A Common Ground. Part I: A Collage of Sacred and Secular History: 51 minutes. Part II: Jerusalem and the Jewish Tradition: 44 minutes. Part III: Jerusalem and the Christian Tradition: 44 minutes. Part IV: Jerusalem and the Muslim Tradition: 25 minutes. [AGF] Directed by Alan Rosenthal for Boston University Productions. Recommended for high school students. I recommend perusing the extended review of this film at the Hagop Kevorkian Center’s Video Catalog. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

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Kids Sing Israel (Grouches Don’t) (1991)

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Recommended because of its children’s songs in Hebrew with characters of the Sesame Street gang. Join host Kippi ben Kippod for an all-request musical trip through Israel. Sing-a-long with your favorite Israeli and Sesame Street songs?in English, Hebrew, and even in “grouch.” Watch Paul Shaffer as he tries to send a musical greeting to his friends in Jerusalem. See blues singer B.B. King teach his guitar to play in Hebrew. And cover your ears when Moishe Oofnik and his American cousin, Oscar the grouch, request a lullaby that could put only a grouch to sleep. PBS. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

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Lawrence of Arabia (1962, 216 minutes) (NYU)

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Recommended because of its story of Lawrence of Arabia. Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1962, this epic commercial film recreates the exploits of famed British officer, T.E. Lawrence, who, assigned to Arabia during World War I, unites the warring Arab factions into a guerrilla front that endures both brilliant victories and eventual defeat against the Ottoman Empire. With Peter O’Toole as Lawrence, and starring Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn among a host of others. Directed by David Lean Produced by Sam Spiegel . Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

Media Type: Media

Life & Nothing More (1992, 91 minutes) (NYU)

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Recommended because of it being an Iranian artistic film. Topics and materials: This is the second film of the trilogy by Abbas Kiarostami (The other two are “Where is the Friend’s Home?”, and “Through the Olive Trees”). Set in Koker after the earthquake, this amazing film explores the power of life, and at the same time reflects upon the relationship between life and cinema. A film director and his son set off from Tehran, heading for Koker in order to look for Ahmad, the little actor of the first film, “Where is the Friend’s Home?”. Most of the film was shot through the car windows, a metaphor of the camera and the postion of the audience; the director with his son in their “secure” car, and we, the audience, in “safe” theaters are witnessing life. This style of shooting allows to underscore the voyeuristic aspect of cinema, and to question the meaning of filming life. Closer to a documentary, the film consists of scenes from the ruined villages and conversations with the survivors of the catastrophe. Through this very realistic composition, the film in a most impressive and touchy way suggests that life goes on despite everything. While scanning the site of the earthquake behind his camera, Kiarostami throws a humorous and compassionate glance at the attempts of human beings to make life goes on. In a scene, for example, he captures bitter-sweet rush of the people of a village completely turned into piles of stones as they try to set a TV antenna with the hope of watching Brazil-Argentina football match in the worldcup. Emphasizing the continuity of life, the film ends in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of life Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. This video is also available to teachers of Central Ohio through the Middle East Studies Center at OSU. The University of Arizona and the University of Washington also carries Life & Nothing More. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

Media Type: Media

Lion of the Desert (1991)

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Recommended because of its indigenous view of resistance to Mussolini’s occupation of Libya. This historical feature about Umm Mukhtar and the 1930 resistance to Mussolini’s occupation of Libya is one of the best films for a view from the indigenous side of the colonial project, although the English version uses Western actors to portray many Arab roles. Includes Anthony Quinn as Mukhtar, Rod Steiger as Mussolini and Irene Papas as Mabrouka. [CNES] Directed and produced by Moustapha Akkad. Part I: 91 minutes; Part II: 68 minutes Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. This video is also available for loan through the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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LookLex Encyclopedia

Posted by: globaledadmin on Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recommended because of the information it provides on the Middle East and North Africa. There are also incredible links to maps, slides, and a free Arabic Language course. Topics and materials within the encyclopedia include history, people, up-to-date current events, countries, and more. This information is disseminated through written articles and is accompanied by photos, graphics, sound clips, music clips, and pronunciation clips. Start by clicking on the alphabetical listing of topics offered. Be aware of irritating ads on the page and as pop-ups. This resource was originally recommended by UCLA. Additionally, this site is related to the “Atlas of the Orient” (see above).

Lost City of Arabia – Nova

Posted by: globaledadmin on Monday, February 8, 2010

Recommended because this is an excellent Nova broadcast on archeological finds on the city of Ubar in the Empty Quarter, located in the current nation of Oman. Ubar was a famous trading center in the Southern Arabian Desert which lasted for thousand of years and was mentioned in the Quran as being a decadent city that was destroyed by God. Based on imagery and remote sensing data from the Space Shuttle, archeologists use GPS technology to locate the forgotten city. The documentary follows their journey, missteps and eventual success. It is a great look at one of the foremost archeological discoveries of the century. The documentary website includes updates, interviews, links and an artifact gallery.

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Marriage, Egyptian Style (199?, 50 minutes)

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Recommended because of its look into the life of a woman in Cairo. Topics and materials: A sensitively filmed documentary concerning the life of a middle-aged woman who lives in a lower class neighborhood in Cairo, and works as a domestic servant. Abandoned by her husband, she reveals with stinging wit her worries about an unmarried daughter and unemployed son and the problems the family faces. In tracing her attempts to find suitable marriage partners for her children, the film reveals much about the dynamics of gender relations and the realities of life for women of her social class. [TM] Directed by Joanna Head. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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Mirror of Kings: Tales From Kalila Wa Dimna (1970, 12 minutes)

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Recommended because of its fables of Arabia. An adaptation of the traditional fables from India and Arabia designed to teach morals and princely behavior to rulers through stories enacted by animals. The animated film narrated by Omar Sharif is based on a 14th Century Mamluk manuscript and its delightful illustrations. [CNES] Smithsonian Institution. Recommended for middle and high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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Nasser 56. Mohamed Fadel (1996, 140 minutes) (Arizona)

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Recommended because of its information on nationalization of the Suez Canal and bold defiance of the US. In thoroughly entertaining fashion, Nasser 56 gives an idea of what it means for a small Middle Eastern nation to dare to defy the world’s superpowers, the United States and its Western allies in particular. That’s exactly what Egypt’s then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser did in July 1956, when he boldly orchestrated the nationalization of the Suez Canal, the construction of which had cost the lives of 120,000 Egyptians from a population of only 4 million a little more than a century earlier. Director Mohamed Fadel and writer Mahfouz Abd al-Rahman, who shrewdly film in black and white so as to match vintage newsreel footage, present Nasser as a modest, selfless paragon dedicated to his nation?s self-determination and devoted to his family. They pull off the necessary trick of making suspenseful a pivotal incident, the outcome of which is part of modern world history. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

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Oman: Looking Beyond Oil – Power of Place Online Video Series

Posted by: globaledadmin on Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recommended because according to the website description, “Having benefited greatly from its relatively modest oil reserves, Oman looks to diversify its economy for future growth.” An important question for studying the Arabian Gulf countries is that of how they will transition beyond oil. This video gives an introduction to this issue. This free online video series is designed for the classroom. Start by completing the free registration for the website to watch any of their videos. Be aware of the fact that this series is designed for college students, but is very accessible and would work well in the high school classroom.

Paradise Lost (2003)

Posted by: globaledadmin on Monday, February 8, 2010

Recommended because it presents the rarely heard voice of an Arab Israeli. Arab Israeli filmmaker Ebtisam Mara’ana grew up in Paradise (Fureidis in Arabic), a small fishing village overlooking the Mediterranean. One of the few Arab communities remaining after the 1948 war, Paradise became culturally and politically isolated as Jewish settlements sprung up around it, and today it is a place defined by silence and repression. This thought-provoking and intimate film diary follows the directors attempt to recreate the villages lost history, including the story of her childhood hero Suuad, the legendary local bad girl who was imprisoned as a PLO activist in the 1970s and banished from the community. The directors frustration builds as her questions are resisted, and her hopes soar when she finally meets Suuad, now a Doctor of Law living in the UK. Stunning cinematography and evocative music underscore the power of Maraanas film, whose lyrical, emotionally charged tone is strikingly honest and straightforward. This important film offers valuable insight into the contradictions and complexities of modern womanhood and national identity in the Middle East.Information about renting this film can be found at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

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Rana’s Wedding

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Recommended because it shows the physical, social and cultural boundaries to life in Palestine. The film follows Rana, who is told by her father to marry from a list of men he has approved by a 4:00 deadline! Rana’s true love, Khalil, is hated by her father. She sneaks out of the house to find Khalil and resolve the dilemma. One of the best parts of this film is the look at the landscape of Palestine. It is worth watching for this alone. Much of the film is relatively “quiet,” with the exception of a piano soundtrack. It is a very visual film, showing the corridors of the old city in Jerusalem as well as the country side. The theme of “mobility” runs throughout the film as Rana tries to make her way around Israel and Palestine but constantly runs into obstacles. Start by reading some reviews of the film at Rotten Tomatoes

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Rivers of Fire (1990, 40 minutes)

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Recommended because of its information on conflicts over water. This video is a competent presentation highlighting the volatile Middle East conflict over the natural resource more valuable than oil: water. The film examines dilemmas within countries as well as between them: Turkey’s newest dam system can control waters from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flowing to Syria and Iraq, which lack adequate storage facilities for the reservoir-filling process; Jordan is a “fresh-water pauper” already surviving on aqueous overdraft, though a Syrian-Jordanian project for water storage threatens Israel; and Israel’s interest in the Golan Heights is as much related to control of the headwaters of the Jordan River as to fear of military strikes. With excellent maps, careful statistics, blunt interviews with politicians, commentaries from concerned citizens and good photographic coverage of the various areas. [EFB] Directed by Paul Woolrich and produced by Marshall Healey for Channel 4/BBC. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU, also available through the University of Arizona and the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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Saudi Time Bomb? Frontline Video

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Recommended because according to the Columbus Library Website, this video, “Looks at the delicate alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia, considering the vast difference in the culture of the two countries, and in light of the September 11th terrorist attack on the United States.” It is a great introduction to historical and contemporary developments in the US-Saudi relationship and to the social and economic constraints in Saudi Arabia. Start by visiting the website, reading about the film, and looking at the resources and links. Be aware of that this video would really only be appropriate for advanced high-school students.

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Search For Freedom (2003)

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Recommended because of its focus on women in Afghan history. Search for Freedom traces the dramatic social and political history of Afghanistan from the 1920s to the present through the stories of four remarkable women: Princess Shafiqa Saroj, sister of the beloved progressive King Amanullah (1919-1929); Mairman Parveen, the first woman to sing on Afghan radio; Moshina, a war widow and survivor of a Taliban massacre; and Sohaila, an exiled medical student who ran underground schools for RAWA (Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women) during the Taliban regime. Through their personal stories, a surprising portrait of Afghanistans history emerges. Stunning archival footage from the early 20th century captures a time of remarkable progress and freedom for women that belies most Western perceptions. Other historical footage and Jahnagirs incisive commentary reveal womens realities and resilience under near constant occupation, first with the Soviet invasion, then under the mujahadeen and more recently under the repressive Taliban. Defying and clarifying the image of Afghan women as mere victims, Search for Freedom offers a nuanced portrait of women who find choices where none are offered, who continue to find hope in the face of exile and isolation. A film by Munizae Jahangir. Film can be rented at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

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Syrian Bride

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Recommended because it deals with important issues of borders, citizenship, loyalty and family relations with regards to Syrians who live in the Golan Heights – now part of Israel. The story follows Clara, who lives in Golan with her family but is marrying a Syrian and moving to Syria. Once in Syria, she cannot return to Israel and thus may never see her family again. Dressed in her wedding gown, her family escorts her to the border where her future husband (whom she has never met) waits on the Syrian side across a wide demilitarized zone. Each of the characters represents different issues with reference to contemporary political, cultural and social tensions for Arabs in the Golan. The film was produced and directed by an Israeli, who co-wrote the screenplay with a Palestinian. Start by reading the

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Syriana

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Recommended because a very politically charged film with deals with important topics in contemporary Middle East studies, such as oil, power, terrorism, corruption and reform. Written and directed by Steven Gaghan (writer of Traffic), the film is intentionally confusing and organized like a patchwork quilt; most viewers get a headache trying to follow it. Gaghan spent significant time with former CIA agent and current author Robert Baer (portrayed by Clooney) and largely based the film on Baers books. The movie was filmed on location throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East. I would say that you get some great Middle East imagery, but the fictional settings for the Middle East scenes are not in the countries they imply. While the locations imply Iran, Saudi Arabia or Lebanon, the real filming locations were Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. This film is being recommended, because it attempts (for better or for worse) to put the Middle East- US crisis in a single framework. The critics seem to have no consensus on the quality and value-added of this film. Some negative reviews claim that the film is over-simplified and biased, others negative reviews say that is poorly directed, confusing and nothing but a conspiracy theory. Positive reviews claim that the film is supposed to be contradictory and confusing in order to accurately represent the inherent paradoxes in US-Middle East relations. My one negative comment would be that each of the characters too obviously represent their roles in contributing to problems in the Middle East, to the point of being clich

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Teeny-Tiny and The Witch-Woman (1993, 14 minutes) (Arizona)

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Recommended because of its Turkish folktale. Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman is a Turkish folktale based on a theme very similar to that of Hansel and Gretel. The story concerns three brothers who are told not to venture into the woods in order to avoid the wrath of the wicked witch who lives there. One day, the boys take a chance against the wishes of the youngest brother, Teeny-Tiny, and find the home of the witch. The older brothers, Big-One and In-the-Middle, willingly go inside. Teeny-Tiny follows reluctantly behind. Once inside, the witch offers them a meal and a bed for the night. Teeny-Tiny suspects that this witch is indeed the witch they were warned about. That night, Teeny-Tiny resists sleep. When the witch calls to the boys to see if they are asleep, Teeny-Tiny tells the witch that he needs one thing after another before he will be able to sleep. Eventually, Teeny-Tiny asks for water from the well. He sees the witch leave her magic soap, needle and knife behind before she goes out to collect the water. Teeny-Tiny wakes his brothers, warns them about the evil witch, and the three escape with Teeny-Tiny snatching the witch?s three magical objects on the way. The end of the story finds Teeny-Tiny using the magical objects to keep the pursuing witch away from himself and his brothers. Teeny-Tiny and his brothers return safely home, never again to venture into the forest which is the home of the evil witch. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

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The Cow (1969, 79 minutes)

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Recommended because of its reputation as a classic film. Classic Iranian film about a farmer who being unable to accept the death of his cow—a symbol of his identity, wealth, and status—withdraws into madness. Directed by Dariush Mehrjui, based on a story by Golam Hosain Saedi. Available for loan to teachers in the Northern Pacific and Upper Midwest States through Washington University. Reviewed by the Middle East Center at Washington University, 4/29/02.

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The Cyclist (1989, 75 minutes)

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Recommended because of its treatment of contemporary social problems. Director Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s early work is distinguished by its visual sophistication and treatment of contemporary social problems. Here, as in The Peddler, he embroiders his regular themes of man’s exploitation of man and the inequities between rich and poor. The cyclist of the title is Nassim, an Afghan refugee in need of money to pay his wife’s medical expenses. With work difficult to come by, a sleazy promoter suggests he undertake a bicycle marathon. Touting him as the Afghani superman, the huckster wagers that Nassim will circle a small area on the outskirts of town, day and night, for a week. Gamblers, bookies, and food vendors gather to watch the desperate cyclist from the sidelines, cynically turning his suffering to their own profit. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, also available through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU and the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

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The Gift of Islam (1970, 28 minutes)

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Recommended because of the focus on the achievements of the Islamic world. This film introduces the great cultural achievements of the Islamic World to the West in the fields of architecture, engineering, navigation, geography, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, horticulture, crafts, metallurgy, calligraphy, literature, music, and philosophy. High points of extant Islamic architecture – the Ka’aba, the Prophet’s Mosque at Medina, Dome of the Rock – exemplify the flow of architectural style. Stressing the concept that “each civilization is nourished by the other,” this film is a recommended preface to studies in Islamic civilization. [Images and Echoes] Produced by Graham Associates for Exxon. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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The Horse. Ali Ozgenturk (1983, 116 minutes) (NYU)

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Recommended because of its Turkish tale of modern everyday life. Set in modern Turkey, The Horse is a beautiful and moving portrayal of a father and son coming to grips with external hardships and their own human frailties as they attempt to earn enough money to send the boy to school. Ozgenturk’s goals for the film were simple: “I wanted to interweave problems of everyday life so closely into the story of this film that they seem to be no longer common at all.” The director’s portrayal of the characters’ problems against the realistic background of poverty and desperation proved so unsettling that the Turkish government sent him to prison for making The Horse. Directed by Ali Ozgenturk. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/25/02.

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The House on Chelouche Street (1973, 111 minutes)

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Recommended because it provides insight into the world of Israel during British occupation. Nominated for the Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film of 1973, The House on Chelouche Street is the story of a European immigrant family in Israel during the period of British occupation in 1946. Clara has brought her entire family to the “promised land” with dreams of a better life. Opportunities are rare, however, and the best she can do is a job cleaning houses. Her son Sami is only fifteen, but he takes work in a machine shop to help his widowed mother provide for them all. His experiences become the focal point of the film, making this an engrossing coming-of-age drama. His unwitting encounter with a labor walkout and an affair with a woman ten years older throw Sami headlong into the adult world. Directed by Moshe Mizrahi. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona and through the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

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The Islamic City (1988, 30 minutes)

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Recommended because of its information on Islamic cities. Topics and materials: Astute and able narration marks this exploration of cities established under Islam and enduring as primarily Islamic centers. The film visits cities founded during several periods of Islamic rule by different ruling dynasties: Kairouan, Tunisia built as a frontier town during the first generation of Islam; Istanbul, Turkey established in the 15th century under the Ottomans; and so on, including cities in India, Morocco, Yemen, Egypt, Iran and Syria. Covers the variety of architectural styles and histories while explaining the unifying features of Islamic cities: the mosque and related buildings (especially schools), and a center’s often inward-turning configurations. Brief and insightful treatment given to role of women in society as defined by the Qur’an and as adapted to 20th century lives. Only a few stumbles, such as labeling pre-Islamic Arabs “warrior tribes in search of wealth.” World of Islam series. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. Also available through the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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The Legend of a Sigh (Afsane-ye-ah) (1991, 105 minutes)

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Recommended because of its feminist views. This strikingly feminist film draws on the literature of Azarbayejan province. According to legend, Ah is a handsome young man who materializes to succor those in need whenever he hears a heartfelt sigh. Milani?s protagonist is a woman novelist, suffering from writer?s block, who, with the help of Ah, experiences the lives of four women from different social strata. From a wealthy Tehrani who feels unfulfilled by her life, to a poor servant, to a Turkman wife unable to leave the house without her husband’s permission, to a rebellious student, the film offers a fascinating portrait of a range of Iranian womena nd their problems. Directed by Tahmineh Milani. Milani considers the Legend of a Sigh her favorite film. Available through the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Arizona, 4/29/02.

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The Oil Kingdom Series (1984)

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Recommended because of its history of oil. This series on Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman is hosted by journalist Jo Franklin-Trout using on-site interviews. Her goal is to demythologize this area for Americans, offering insight into contemporary social life as well as politics and plans for the future. But there is confusion, at times, about exactly where she is! [UNC] Produced by PBS/Pacific. Part I: Kings and Pirates: The historical background of “commerce, colonialism and culture” of the Gulf States — from Portuguese conquest through British hegemony –leads to discussion of the discovery of oil and the impact of the petrodollars on the modernization process. [UNC] Part II: The Petrodollar Coast: Franklin-Trout visits Oman, a nation described as “medieval” in 1970, but now miraculously modernized. Interviews in the United Arab Emirates address the role of women and issues concerning foreign workers. [UNC] Part III: A Sea of Conflict: This video documents the volatility of the smaller Arab Gulf States, their vulnerability as international pawns, and their sensitivity to local Arab religious and political pressures. [UNC]. PBS. Recommended for high school students. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02.

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The Olive Harvest (2003, 97 minutes)

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Recommended because it successfully focuses on life, romance and obligation in a Palestinian village. Upon his release from an Israeli prison, older brother Mazen develops romantic feelings for his childhood friend, Raeda. However, Raeda is already engaged to Mazen’s younger brother Taher, their love kept a secret because of the tradition for the eldest brother to wed first.
The two brothers become estranged soon after reuniting as they struggle to win over Raeda’s heart. Mazen, with his romantic poetry and simple love for the olive groves that provide his community and family with their livelihood, shares in Raeda’s dreams to remain in the village and harvest the olives. Taher, on the other hand, prefers to live in the city and ambitiously seeks to contain the growing Jewish settlement of the territories as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Counsel. Although his love for Raeda is strong, Taher’s devotion toward this cause leads him to neglect his commitment to her.
Unsure of her true feelings, the beautiful Raeda is forced into making a decision by the feuding brothers and by her authoritative father. Each of the three central characters find themselves painfully torn between conflicting choices in this tale of love and loyalty to family, to those that they love, and to the land that they are connected to.
More than a mere love story, The Olive Harvest explores the dynamics of human relationships – between brother and brother, woman and man, father and daughter, sister and sister, and person to land. Writer/Director Hanna Elias.For more information go to www.theoliveharvest.com.

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War in Iraq

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Recommended because Recommended for discussion of and sensitivity to issues surrounding war in Iraq and prisoner abuse. New York, Independent Media Center at New York University. (NYU) Online film. Be aware of vidoes being about very sensitive subjects. May not be suitable for elementary and middle school students. Be aware that you will need Real Player to view this movie. Go to http://www.real.com for a free version.

Wedding in Galilee

Posted by: globaledadmin on Monday, February 8, 2010

Recommended because While there have been many wedding films that focus on the Israel-Palestinian issue (see reviews of Syrian Bride and Ranas Wedding) this one has always been a personal favorite. Set in the biblical town of Galilee, a village leader must travel to the city to meet with the Israeli governor in order to ask for a waver on the dusk-to-dawn curfew so that he can hold his sons wedding. The governor refuses until he realizes the political benefits which could be gained from the wedding – as long as he and a small delegation of soldiers are invited. The story follows the preparation and performance of the wedding and the tensions that arise due to the invitation of the governor and soldiers. Not only do we see a traditional Palestinian wedding, but we also get a glimpse into gender, age and nationality conflicts through the lens of one wedding ceremony. Be aware of Warning: objectionable content for teachers only.

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Where is the Friends Home? (1989, 90 minutes)

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Recommended because of it being an Iranian artistic film. This is the first film of the trilogy by the master of Iranian cinema, Abbas Kiarostami ( the other two are called, “Life and Nothing More” and “Through the Olive Trees” ). Set in a village near Koker, this film is a story of Ahmad’s epic quest -a boy at the threshold of adolescence who is about to bid farewell to innocent childhood and to discover that life is full of unanswered questions. The opening scene unfolds the tragic cause of Ahmad’s quest : the teacher scolds Ahmad’s classmate Nematzadeh, because ha has done his homework again on a sheet of paper instead of in his notebook; it is a matter of discipline, if it happens again, the teacher will dismisss Nematzadeh from school. Going back home, Ahmad finds Nematzadeh’s notebook in his own bag. He starts desparately to look for the friend’s home, out of breath along the zigzag road, and this search itself becomes a metaphor for life. Just as describes in a poem addressed to a boy written by an Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri, which has inspired Kiarostami to shoot this film, Ahmad goes “…till the end of that valley leading to adolescence…”, and “… stops at the fontain which sprinkles the myths of the earth”. Through Kiarostami’s masterful, documentary-like photographs and simple but impressive narrative, the film provides a penetrating look at the Iranian countryside and rural social relations, while exploring a universal theme. Available to teachers in the tri-state area through the Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU. This video is also available to teachers of Central Ohio through the Middle East Studies Center at OSU. Also available through the University of Arizona and the University of Washington. (See Overview-Centers for more information.) Reviewed by Hagop Kevorkian Center, NYU 4/26/02

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Women Like Us (2002)

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Recommended because it focuses on women in Iran. Filmmaker Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri returns to Iran after 20 years as an expatriate to present this intimate and revealing portrait of five ordinary Iranian women: a nurse, a journalist, a rice farmer, a religious college graduate and a piano teacher. Against a backdrop of Islam, revolution and war, they share their views on the veil, the relationship of Iranian women to the West and the long-ranging impacts of the 1979 Revolution on the status of women in their country. What emerges is an image of Iran that resists easy classification, a nation in flux at a unique historical moment, still reeling from the residual effects of the Iran-Iraq war but poised for a new future. An important and timely look at contemporary Iran, WOMEN LIKE US offers surprising insights into the changing role of women in the Middle East from a perspective that rarely makes it to international headlines. This fim can be found at http://www.wmm.com/beyondtheveil/

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