Film Collection

Annotated Filmography

Special recognition to Ellen-Fairbanks Bodman for much of the information included here.

 

ABC NEWS NIGHTLINE EPISODE, THE HAJJ Hajj           

1997 22 minutes DVD

The Hajj. This edition of Nightline follows pilgrims through the annual rituals of the Hajj. This presentation earned positive reviews from a wide cross-section of SERMEISS viewers when it first aired.

 

ABOUNA Africa

2002  65 minutes DVD 

Home Vision, Mahamat-Sakeh Haroun

From a dusty village in the Republic of Chad, two brothers, amine and Tahir, set out in search of their father. ABOUNA is a film rich in culture with a deep understanding of the human condition and youth in particular. A follow-up to Haroun’s award-winning “bye Bye Africa.”

 

AFGHAN NOMADS: THE MALDAR Afghanistan

Faces of Change Series

1974 21 minutes DVD

American University Field Services and Louis Dupree

Depicts the interaction between nomadic Maldars and the townspeople of Aq Kupruk, northern Afghanistan. Reveals the mixture of faith and distrust that has kept nomads and sedentarists separate yet interdependent for centuries.

                                   

AFGHAN VILLAGE Afghanistan

Faces of Change Series

1974 45 minutes DVD

American University Field Services and Louis Dupree

View of daily life in Aq Kupruk, northern Afghanistan. Shows village bazaar, work activities (grazing, sheep shearing), harvesting wheat, and communal work to clear irrigation canal. No women shown, Unnarrated, Insert titles give some background information.

 

AFGHAN WOMEN Afghanistan

Faces of Change Series

1974 17 minutes DVD

American University Field Services and Louis Dupree

Activities of a group of women in northern Afghanistan. Shows traditional dress, bead making, and preparation of household goods for an upcoong marriage. Discusses the marriage customs and the society’s attitude toward death, education of women, and women’s place in national affairs.

 

THE ANDALUSIAN EPIC: ISLAMIC SPAIN Spain

 2001 27 minutes, Films for the Humanities, DVD

This program addresses the expansion of the Arab empire into Spain, whre Muslims ruled with tolerance or more than seven centuries. Special attention is given to the prosperous reigh of Abdel Rahman III and the flowering of Muslim culture that welcomed the contributions of Christians and Jews alike.

 

THE ARAB WORLD: THE IMAGE OF GOD

DVD, Bill Moyers

Who they are – who they are not.

 

ARABIA: SAND, SEA, AND SKY Saudi Arabia

1990 80 minutes, National Geographic Society. VHS, DVD

A tour of Arabia’s natural world – a land of vivid contrasts and splendor. From the coral reefs of the Red Sea to baboon colonies in the mountains, from migrating birds of the lowlands to camel treks across the desert, a beautiful look at the Arabian peninsula.

 

ARABS, MUSLIMS, ISLAM Islam

40 minutes Teachers Discovery DVD

Visits into the lives of Muslim teenagers around the Muslim world. Winner of a Telly Award.

 

ARABS IN AMERICA United States

1981 29 minutes DVD

Wolfe and Friedlander: UCLA

Recreates the history of Arab immigration to America, the problems Arabs faced and adjustments they made becoming Americans. Imaginative use of old photographs as well as contemporary slides and interviews. Excellent musical score.

                                                           

ART IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD

Middle East Institute, 32 minutes, DVD

Overview and introduction

 

BABAN AND OGLUM Turkey

2006 Palermo Films DVD

Feature film completely in Turkish,

 

BAHRAIN: THE PEARL OF THE ARABIAN GULF Bahrain

1995 23 minutes VHS DVD

Bahrain-American Friendship Society

An official “chamber of commerce” introduction to the country, its sites, and people; Dilmun civilization, Islamic civilization, folk crafts, foods, fishing, pearling, modern themes such as banking, luxury hotels, dry dock, telecommunications. Equally interesting for what is omitted: Sunni-Shia divide, British colonial legacy, tensions with neighbors, expatriate labor.


BAKHTIARI MIGRATION Iran

1973 52 minutes 16mm, DVD

Anthony-David

Visually splendid coverage of the semi-annual Bakhtiari migration which takes about five weeks and covers nearly 200 miles. Half a million people and millions of sheep and goats cross the rugged Zagros mountains in southern Iran twice yearly to move between summer and winter pastures. Features Persian folksinger, Shusha

 

THE BAND’S VISIT Arab/Israeli

2008 87 minutes, Sony Pictures DVD

An Egyptian band arrives in Israel to play at the Arab Cultural Center. They take a wrong bus and end up in a desolate Israeli village where they are forced to spend the night. Two different cultures realize the universal bonds of love, music, and life. Cross-cultural comedy, winner of the Audience award and the Munich and Warsaw Film Festivals.

 

BARAN Iran

1999 96 minutes  Majid Majidi DVD

In Farsi with English subtitles

A romance between a young Iranian worker and the supposed son of an Afghan co-worker. Winner of the Best Picture Award at the Montreal Film Festival.

 

THE BEAUTY ACADEMY OF KABUL Afghanistan

2004 74 minutes Docudrama, DVD

An arresting and optimistic portrait of post-Taliban Afghanistan. Captures the wonderfully odd circumstances that bring Afghan and American women together – international goodwill through hair care in exquisitely humane terms.

 

BEDOUIN HACKER: HACK THE AIRWAVES Tunisia

2006 99 minutes Cinema Libre Studio, DVD

From a remote mountain village in Tunisia, Kaly, a female hacker, hijacks the airwaves in northern Africa and France to broadcast political messages. A French intelligence officer flies in from France to infiltrate the hacker world. Things quickly turn into a cat and mouse game.

 

BEHIND THE FLAG Gulf War

1991  20 minutes DVD

Friendly Fire Video Project, Educational Media Associates

This provocative film offers a perspective largely absent from the mainstream media reports on the Gulf War and questions whether war was the best alternative response to the Iraqi invasion of  Kuwait. From a pacifist point of view, the Us sacrificed domestic needs for a militaristic policy flaunting our high-tech to the world.

 

BEIRUT: THE LAST HOME MOVIE Lebanon

1991, 90 minutes, DVD

Essenay Entertainment

Chronicles three months in the life of a Lebanese family living through Lebanon’s civil war in Beirut’s Christian Ashrafia neighborhood. Winner of seven international awards.

 

THE BLOOD OF MY BROTHER Iraq

2005 81 minutes Andrew Berends DVD

The story of one Iraqi family’s struggle to survive amidst the carnage of the growing Shia insurgency. Includes scenes of fighting in the streets of Najaf and Baghdad. Official Selection of the Tribeca, Silverdocs, and IDFA Film Festivals.

 

BUDRUS Arab/Israeli

2011, 82 minutes, JustVision Films, DVD

The story of a Palestinian village that organizes to try and stop the expansion of the Israeli Security Barrier through their town. Palestinians of all political factions join together o initiate a little-known nonviolent movement that is still gaining ground today.

 

BYZANTIUM: THE LOST EMPIRE Byzantium

2010 280 minutes VHS DVD

The Learning Channel

            Part I: Building the Dream/ Heaven and Earth

            Part II: Envy of the world/ Forever and Ever

A three and one-half hour look at the “glory that was Byzantium…powerful legacy of ancient Greece and Rome, the first Christian empire, and the last flowering of classical civilization before it fell to the armies of the Ottoman Turks.”

 

CAIRO: 1001 YEARS OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE Egypt

2000 97 minutes Fons Vitae, DVD

Caroline Williams, Grey Henry, Dar Nun

A four-part series introducing the art and architecture of a great medieval city. Certain monuments make several appearances and are viewed from different angles. The arrangement is intended to give the viewer a better understanding of the structures, forms, and functions.

            Part I: The Grandeur of Cairo

            Part II: The Word, the Vine, and the Star (Spiritual)

            Part III: Survivors in stone: 1001 Years of Islamic Architecture in Cairo

            Part IV: Some Saints of Cairo

 

CARAMEL Lebanon

2008 93 minutes Nadine Labaki DVD

A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut. An Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.

 

A CHANCE FOR PEACE: A SIGN OF HOPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST Arab/Israeli

1991 60 minutes VHS DVD

CNN Special Report  

A brief history of the Middle East conflict between Arabs and Israelis, with the focus on the negotiations leading to the 1993 declaration of Principles. CNN film footage of the signing of the peace accord in Washington.

 

THE CHANGING MIDDLE EAST Middle East

1975 25 minutes 16mm DVD

IFF

Shows the effects of oil production on the economies of the Middle East and discusses the economic and social changes that are occurring. Brief but unbiased mention of Arab-Israeli conflict. Dated, but with great diversity of scenes, sometimes without adequate identification of specific cultures and sites. Good introductory film, particularly with emphasis on rising middle class and urbanization

 

THE CHRISTIANS: PEOPLE OF THE BOOK Christianity

Part of the Islam: Empire of Faith Series. DVD

 

THE CIRCLE Iran

2000 91 minutes Winstar Cinema, DVD

THE CIRCLE, which, like the 25th CIFF's other Iranian feature, "The Girl in the Sneakers," traces a sublimely devastating critique of modern Iran as an authoritarian state, which oppresses and disenfranchises females, beginning with an infant born at the beginning; her family expected a boy - and this will surely mean the mother's divorce. From there, Panahi's camera follows a succession of women. One is a recent parolee from a women's penitentiary; her temporary companion is a cohort who walked away from custody unauthorized and now seeks an abortion. She looks to help from a former inmate, now a doctor's wife trying to keep her shameful past a secret. The women are connected by jail or by the threat of jail, but no matter what side of the bars they're on, all remain prisoners in a harsh, patriarchal society. (In Farsi with English subtitles) Winner of Golden Lion Best Film, Venice Film Festival, and Fipresci Grand Prix Best Film of the Year.

           

CITIES OF LIGHT: THE RISE AND FALL OF ISLAMIC SPAIN Spain

2010 120 minutes DVD

Unity Publications Foundation

This film dramatizes the world of al-Andalus, southern Spain where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together and thrived. Their cultures and beliefs intertwined and the knowledge of the ancients was gathered. Here were the very seeds of the Renaissance, a brief time of tolerance that was swept away. Lesson plans are also available.

 

THE CLOSED DOOR Egypt

1999 105 minutes Arab Films Distribution VHS DVD

Directed by Youssef Chahine's longtime assistant, The Closed Doors touches on several taboos in contemporary Egyptian society, examining their social and political implications. Set during the Gulf War, it tells the story of Mohamad, a highly impressionable young man who embraces fundamentalist ideas as a way of dealing with the confusion of adolescence and sexual awakening. This powerful first feature by one of Egypt's most promising young directors tackles complex themes like oppression, jealousy, virtue, the love ideal and violence in an uncompromising way. Arabic with English subtitles.

 

THE COLOR OF LOVE Iran

2005 104 minutes Maryam Keshavarz DVD

A poetic and charming glimpse into the lives of a number of Iranians, as the filmmaker interrogates them about their opinion on love and romance. The film clearly illustrates the tension between younger Iranians, who yearn for modernity, and the fundamentalist elders who run the state.

                                               

THE COLOR OF PARADISE Iran

2002 90 minutes Majid Majidi DVD

Mohamed, a young blind boy, returns to his rural home for the summer and yearns for his father's acceptance. Best Picture, Montreal Film Festival

                                                                       

A COMMON GROUND Muslim world

1987 25 minutes VHS, DVD

David Nall for Middle East Institute

Exploring the communalities as well as the differences among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, this film emphasizes the shared beliefs as outweighing their divergences and offers a refreshing selection of unusual visuals. The pace is contemplative. This is not a dramatic production, but gives great insight into three religions; it surprises many; it provokes discussion.

 

CONTROL ROOM Iraq War

2004 84 minutes DVD

IMDb, Jehane Naujaim

A chronicle which provides a rare window into the international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the Arab world's most popular news outlet. Roundly criticized by Cabinet members and Pentagon officials for reporting with a pro-Iraqi bias, and strongly condemned for frequently airing civilian causalities as well as footage of American POWs, the station has revealed (and continues to show the world) everything about the Iraq War that the Bush administration did not want it to see.

 

CUT FROM DIFFERENT CLOTH: BURQAS AND BELIEFS Afghanistan

2005 56 minutes Red Door Video DVD

Two filmmakers set out on a journey to learn what it means to be a woman in Afghanistan today. As they speak with women who still wear the burqa, their desire to respect Afghan culture comes into conflict with their beliefs in universal rights for women. They come to understand the risks Afghan women take to assert their rights.

 

A DANGEROUS MAN: LAWRENCE AFTER ARABIA Arabia

1992 104 minutes Anchor Bay Entertainment VHS DVD

 British television film depicting the experiences of T. E. Lawrence and Emir Feisel of the Hejaz at the Paris Peace Conference after the end of the First World War. The film goes further than its predecessor in reflecting the work of contemporary historians. It demonstrates contemporary concerns about British and international politics and ethnic conflict. It also explores further Lawrence's enigmatic personality and suggests more openly his alleged homosexuality.

 

DAYS OF RAGE: THE YOUNG PALESTINIANS Arab-Israeli conflict

1989 90 minutes VHS DVD

Pacific Productions

A Palestinian perspective of the intifada, featuring interviews with Palestinians from a broad cross section of the population, supplemented with news clips.

 

DIVINE INTERVENTION: A CHRONICLE OF LOVE AND PAIN Arab-Israeli conflict

2002 90 minutes Elia Suleiman DVD

 A portrait of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict laced with wicked and subversive humor. Suleiman again plays the central character himself: “E.S.” cares for his ailing father in Jerusalem whilst conducting an affair with a Palestinian woman living in Ramallah (Manal Khader). Barred from moving between the two cities, the lovers are forced to share their intimate moments in the shadow of an Israeli army checkpoint, from whence they observe the daily feuds between the troops and civilians. Nominated for the Golden Palm and winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival in 2002, the film also won awards at the European Film Awards.

 

A DREAM OF DYING: SIX DAYS PLUS 20 YEARS Arab-Israeli

DVD, 53 minutes

 

THE DREAMS OF SPARROWS Iraq

2005 75 minutes Haydar Mousa Daffar DVD

An unfiltered portrait of Life in Baghdad after the US invasion shot by five Iraqi filmmakers. Arabic with English subtitles.

 

EGYPT: YOUSSOU N’DOUR Music

Documents Youssou D’Nour’s musical pilgrimage to the heartland of Sufism in Senegal. The rhythms of Senegal drive arrangements featuring Egyptian and Arab orchestral styles.

 

EGYPT: QUEST FOR ETERNITY Egypt

1982 60 minutes VHS  DVD

National Geographic: Vista Video

A look at the civilization of ancient Egypt through the monuments and tombs of the Nile Valley.

 

EGYPT: QUEST FOR STABILITY Egypt

Arab Experience Series

1976 28 minutes 16mm, DVD

An honest, comprehensive picture of contemporary Egypt and its massive economic and demographic problems from the point of view of various segments of the population. A national portrait rich in detail and insight, perceptive of family values and the inherent dignity and pride of Egyptians. Recommended.

 

THE ENGLISH SHEIKH AND THE YEMENI GENTLEMAN Yemen

2000 76 minutes Bader Ben Hirsi VHS DVD

A glimpse into life in the Yemen as rarely seen by Western audiences: images of the country's landscape and insight into the characters of the colorful Yemeni people and their rich customs. The film's journey across the Yemen is seen from the points of view of both expert and novice. 

 

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN: ASTRONOMY, MATHEMATICS AND ISLAM Spain

 26 minutes Films for the Humanities, DVD

Picking up mathematics and astronomy from where the Greeks had left off, Arab scholars paved the way for the Copernican revolution and the rebirth of science in Europe.

 

EXPLORE THE EMIRATES United Arab Emirates

26 minutes Uaenationalday.ae, DVD

A DVD featuring scenes of the Emirates, a government production.


FACES OF CHANGE SERIES See under individual titles

1974 Louis and Natalie Dupree, American University Field Staff

The setting for the five films in this series is the village of Aq Kupruk in the northern foothills of Afghanistan, homeland of two basuc ethnolinguistic groups, the Tajik and the Uzbek. The theme of all five is rural societies in transition. Aq Kupruk is characterized as a “village town of Neolithic yesterday and transistorized tomorrow.” All five assume special knowledge for effective use.

            AN AFGHAN VILLAGE 44 minutes

            NAIM AND JABAR 48 minutes

            WHEAT CYCLE 16 minutes

            AFGHAN WOMEN 17 minutes

            AFGHAN NOMADS: THE MALDAR 21 minutes

 

FACTORIES FOR THE THIRD WORLD Tunisia

1979 43 minutes 16mm DVD

Troeller, Defarge

Surveys the history and economic change and development in Tunisia with footage of actual factory experiences and interviews with owners and workers to exemplify the responses of the working classes to change. Advanced.

 

THE FENCE Arab-Israeli conflict

2004 46 minutes Bullfrog Films DVD

Filmmaker Alexandre Trudeau spent a season working and living with families in Israel and the West Bank. This documentary is the intimate tale of families from opposing sides of the security barrier in the Jenin-Afula area.

 

THE FIFTY YEARS WAR: ISRAEL AND THE ARABS Arab-Israeli conflict

1999 two 150 minute segments PBS VHS DVD

Leading statesmen, generals, terrorists and others who made the headlines I one of history’s most enduring struggles tell the story of the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1947 until the late `990s.

 

THE FIFTH PILLAR OF ISLAM Hajj

1992 35 minute, VHS, DVD

Information Office of the Saudi Arabian Embassy, Washington, D.C.

This film offers a view of the modern Hajj, following a group of pilgrims though each stage of the ritual. There are numerous references made to the efforts made by the Saudi government to modernize facilities and male the pilgrims’ experiences ore rewarding.

 

FOLK ART OF THE ARAB WORLD Middle East

1995 20 minutes VHS DVD

Arab-American Women’s Society of Georgia

A short, locally produced video that introduces the Arab world through a selection of paintings, textiles, metal crafts, and music.

 

FORCES OF CHANGE: ARTISTS IN THE ARAB WORLD Art

25 minutes, VHS, DVD

 

THE GATES OF JERUSALEM: HISTORY OF THE HOLY CITY Jerusalem

1996 125 minutes Questar VHS DVD

            Part I: The Spirit of the City, Abraham to Roman Conquest

            Part II: In Search of Peace, Crusades to the 21st Century

 

GEOMETRY, SYMMETRYAND ORDER: ISLAMIC ART IN THE PERSIAN TRADITION Iran

1992 20 minutes VHS, DVD

Helen V. Graeff

This intriguing introduction to the Islamic art of Iran – its traditions, philosophy – uses film, animation, and slides with a particularly valuable sequence on calligraphy. Outstanding musical score.

 

GIFT OF ISLAM Middle East

 1970 28 minutes 16mm, VHS, DVD

Graham Associates for Exxon

Excellent introduction to the great cultural achievements of the Islamic world, contributions to the West in fields of architecture, engineering, astronomy, medicine, horticulture, crafts, metallurgy, calligraphy, literature, music, and philosophy. Stresses the concept that “each civilization is nourished by others.” 

 

THE GLORY AND THE POWER: FUNDAMENTALISM OBSERVED Middle East

1992 60 minutes each VHS DVD

WETA PBS video

This three-part series explores the rise and impact of fundamentalism in three religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

           

FIGHTING BACK. This program explores the diverse aspects of Christian fundamentalism in the United states profiling, among others, Randall Terry, head of “Operation Rescue,” and convicted Watergate conspirator and born-again Christian Charles Colson

 

THIS OUR LAND. Filmed in Israel, this program focuses on Gush Emunim (“the bloc of the faithfu”), a sect of radical, religious Jews who are spearheading the settlement of the west Bank.

 

REMAKING THE WORLD. This program profiles activist Muslims in Egypt who believe their ailing society can be cured by a return to the Islamic values of age past.

 

GOD’S WARRIORS Middle East

2007 Three segments CNN News DVD

A documentary produced which examines the rise of religious fundamentalism as a political force in the world. The documentary was filmed in the United States, Europe and Middle East. It focuses on the three major monotheistic religions of the world, JudaismChristianity, and Islam.

            PART I: JUDIASM  45 minutes

            PART II: ISLAM  99 minutes

            PART III; CHRISTIANITY 98 minutes

 

GOLAN HEIGHTS: FACT AND FICTION Golan

52 minutes, Howard Films

 

GREETINGS FROM IRAQ Iraq

1993 28 minutes VHS, DVD

Signe Taylor, Stanford University

Filmed in 1992. This documentary focuses on the legacy of the Gulf war and the impact of the subsequent embargo on the lives of Iraqi children and their families in Baghdad. This personal and provocative record of daily life forthrightly questions the validity of the UN policy.

 

HAJJ (See FIFTH PILLAR OF ISLAM)

 

THE HAJJ: A JOURNEY OF FAITH Hajj

1998 44 minutes CNN VHS DVD

CNN was the first western media organization allowed to provide live, unilateral coverage of the Hajj. CNN correspondent Riz Khan hosted six days of live coverage from Makkah.

 

HONEY AND ASHES North Africa

1996 80 minutes 7th Art Films VHS DVD

Three women in a contemporary North African country are caught between tradition and modernity as they try to take control of their lives. Their lives weave together in unexpected ways portraying a society where patriarchal authority gets in the way of love, sexual expression, and individual freedom.

 

HOUSE OF SADDAM Iraq

2009 3 hours, 52 minutes DVD

British Broadcasting Corporation, Igal Naor and Shohreh Aghdashloo                               

House of Saddam is a 2008 drama that charted the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein. A co-production between BBC Television and HBO Films, the series was first broadcast on BBC Two in four parts between 30 July and 20 August 2008.    

 

IN ARAB LANDS: AN AGE OF CHANGE Spain, Gulf States

1979 28 minutes VHS DVD

Bechtel/Sunset Films

Filmed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Spain. Addresses the challenges and response to precipitant change in these traditionalist areas, carefully avoiding ethnocentric stereotypes. Good survey of the history of the Arabs, Islam, and the contributions from Muslims lands to Western knowledge. Mild propagandistic flavor does not impair usefulness.

 

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH Islam, Morocco

1970 76 minutes 16mm DVD

Granada TV

Examines the culture, history and scriptures of Islam by studying aspects of life in the Muslim community of Fez, Morocco. Emphasizes the importance of Qur’an and shows ceremonies and rituals surrounding events such as circumcisions, bargaining for a wife, and marriage in the Moroccan context.

 

IN TAHRIR SQUARE Egypt

2012 36 minutes         DVD

HBO

18 days of Egypt’s unfinished revolution. Emmy-award winning documentary made on the scene in Cairo, capturing the sights, signs and emotions of a modern-day revolution. A small peaceful demonstration that grew into a revolutionary movement that would force the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

 

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ABRAHAM: SHITES, FOLLOWERS OF ALI Islam

1984 27 minutes Landmark Films

The first dissidents within Islam, Shiites had been opposed to the authority of the Sunni caliphs and more generally to power of any kind

 

INCH’ ALLAH DIMANCHE Algeria

2006, 98 minutes. Yamina Benguigui  DVD

The immigrant story of a young woman struggling against old world traditions. Zouina leaves her homeland with her three children to join her husband in France. In a land and culture foreign to her, Zouina struggles against her mother-in-law’s tyrannical hand and her husband’s bitterness in an attempt to adjust to her life in exile.


THE INNER LIFE Middle East

Traditional World of Islam Series

1976 30 minutes 16 mm DVD

Institutional Cinema

Deals with the historical and contemporary importance of Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam as revealed in poetry, music, art, and architecture. Profiles the rules of Sufi masters in leading others in their search for spiritual union with God. No mention of personal Sufism to the lay Sufis integrated in society.

 

INSIDE MECCA Hajj

2003 60 minutes National Geographic, DVD

This film follows three pilgrims from different parts of the world as the make the pilgrimage to Mecca. One is a woman from the United States; another is a businessman from Indonesia; the third travels from Africa. Each comes with different expectations. Good overview of the rituals and offers insight into individual experiences. Good for pre-collegiate students.

 

INSIDE THE KORAN

National Geographic, DVD

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE ARAB WORLD Middle East

1989 45 minutes VHS DVD

AMIDEAST

Winner of a Bronze apple at the 1989 National Film and Video Festival, and a finalist in te Birmingham International Educational Film Festival, this video is divided into three 15-minute sections which may be viewed separately or together.

 

IRAN: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Iran

1992 40 minutes VHS DVD

Sina Productions

A “travel film” produced by the Iranian government since the end of the Gulf war. This film is an interesting study in image building.

 

IRAN: TEMPTATION OF POWER Iran

1976 43 minutes 16mm DVD

Troeller, Defarge; Icarus

D0cuments many of the internal contradictions in the Iranian economy that brought about the collapse of the last shah’s regime in 1978-1979. It is thus a prophetic analysis of Iran made at a time when few observers were as prescient as the makers of this film.

 

IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS Iraq

2006 94 minutes DVD

Typecast Releasing

An opus in three parts, "Iraq In Fragments" offers a series of intimate, passionately-felt portraits: A fatherless 11-year-old is apprenticed to the domineering owner of a Baghdad garage; Sadr followers in two Shiite cities rally for regional elections while enforcing Islamic law at the point of a gun; a family of Kurdish farmers welcomes the US presence, which has allowed them a measure of freedom previously denied.

 

THE ISFAHAN OF SHAH ABBAS Iran

1975 28 minutes 16mm  DVD

Fogg Museum

Surveys the resplendent 17th century architectural achievements in Isfahan commissioned directly by shah Abbas and his successors. Oleg Grabar offers scholarly commentary on both monuments and details of tiles, paintings, and calligraphy. Shaky quality of film transfer

 

ISLAM: AN INTRODUCTION Islam

1980 24 minutes VHS DVD

The National Committee to Honor the Fourteenth Centennial of Islam

A good general overview of both Islam and the history of the Middle East. This film is appropriate for secondary and introductory-level college students. The film comes with a guidebook of lesson plans and teaching suggestions.

 

ISLAM; EMPIRE OF FAITH Islam

2001 163 minutes DVD

Public Broadcasting System

Islam: Empire of Faith is a documentary series, made in 2000, that details the history of Islam, from the birth of the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad to the Ottoman Empire. The first episode deals with the life of Muhammad, the second with the early Caliphates, Crusades, and Mongol invasion, and the third with the Ottoman Empire and Safavid dynasty.

 

ISLAM: A PICTORIAL ESSAY IN FOUR PARTS Islam

1995 90 minutes VHS DVD

The Islamic Texts Society

An audio-visual program on Islam featuring over 300 slides of masterpieces of Islamic art and architecture, as well as photographs of important sites throughout the Muslim world. The focus is on beliefs, culture, and history of the Islamic world.

 

ISLAM IN AMERICA General

1992 26 minutes VHS DVD

The Christian Science Monitor

A good general overview of Islam as it is practiced in the United states. This film is especially good for use in the classroom as it is arranged in thematic segments.

 

ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM AND DEMOCRACY Middle East/ Egypt

1993 57 minutes DVD

Julie Gal for Galex Productions

Completed in 1991 after two years of filming, narrated by National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, this film is a provocative survey of the forces of democracy and Islamic fundamentalism in today’s Middle East. Interviews with a diverse selection of both Arabs and Americans – including a rare vignette with Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman just two weeks before the bombing of the World Trade Center – tends to pain a black and white picture, devoid of gradations of positions and the existence of Islamic moderates.

 

ISRAEL: 1969-1987 Israel

48 minutes

 

IT’S NO DREAM: ISRAELI VOICES ON THE OCCUPATION Israel

53 minutes

 

JERUSALEM: CENTER OF THE WORLD Jerusalem

2009 120 minutes Oregon Public Broadcasting DVD

The story of the rich mosaic of Jerusalem’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities. Key events in the city’s history and major points of interest are included. Interviews with locals, scholars, and clergy

 

JERUSALEM: WITHIN THESE WALLS Jerusalem

1986 59 minutes DVD

A kaleidoscopic view of Jerusalem’s Old City and its inhabitants, focusing on the most venerated shrines of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

 

JORDAN: THE ROYAL TOUR Jordan

2005 52 minutes DVD

Travel Channel

His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein leads a tour through Jordan, from Wadi Rum to the Red Sea, Petra, Jerash, the Dead Sea, and finally a meeting with the Bedouin Camel Guard. Admittedly a promotional film, but beautiful visuals.

 

JOURNEY TO THE SUN Turkey

1999 104 minutes Facets Video

Mehmet, a young Turkish man newly migrated from the village Tire, takes a job searching for water leaks below the surface of the streets of Istanbul. Due to a strange set of events, he is mistaken for a Kurd, imprisoned, and brutally beaten. Upon his release a week later, he becomes an outcast marked as a Kurd, losing his apartment, his job, and eventually his girl friend, Arzu. When a Kurdish friend, Berzan is killed in a street protest triggered by a hunger strike, Mehmet takes a trek to return the body to Berzan's home village near the Iraqi border, and learns why so many Kurds are refugees.

 

KANDHAR: JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF AFGHANISTAN Afghanistan

2000 85minutes Malmabof Films DVD

back to her homeland in search of her sister. The sister was maimed by the long war, and her life under oppressive Taliban rule is no longer worth living; she has resolved to commit suicide on the last solar eclipse of the century.

Dependent for her travels on the uncertain help of men, Nafas encounters many other charismatic women hiding under the seclusion of the burqas. The inquiries she makes to find her sister raise the veil just enough to reveal the torment of Afghan women, deprived of rights, education, and basic health care. A doctor must question his women patients, who are hidden from him by a canvas wall, through a child intermediary; he does not touch them. The ending is inconclusive.


KHARTOUM Sudan

1996 136 minutes MGM VHS DVD

Charlton Heston stars as British Gen. Charles "Chinese" Gordon and Laurence Olivier as the Mahdi (Muhammad Ahmed), with a supporting cast that includes Richard Johnson and Ralph Richardson.  The film is based on historical accounts of Gordon's defense of the Sudanese city of Khartoum from the forces of the Mahdist army, during the Siege of Khartoum. The opening and closing are narrated by Leo Genn.

 

KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD Middle East

Traditional World of Islam Series

1976 30 minutes 16mm DVD

Institutional Cinema

Explains the religious impulse behind the Islamic search for knowledge; learning is recognized as a duty of all pious Muslims drawing them closer to God by means of greater understanding of His creative acts. Details schools, universities, and Islamic contributions to math, astronomy, medicine, and navigation.

 

KUWAIT: ONE YEAR AFTER LIBERATION Kuwait

1992 18 minutes, Kuwait University VHS DVD

Produced by the university in the aftermath of the Gulf war and the Iraqi occupation

 

KUWAIT: A DREAM SUSPENDED Kuwait

30 minutes VHS DVD

 

KUWAIT: THIS IS MY HOME, PRAY FOR KUWAITI HOSTAGES Kuwait

1992 10 minutes, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences DVD

A plea for help in returning those believed to be held hostage in Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War.

 

THE LIGHT IN HER EYES Syria

2012 58 minutes DVD

 Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix

Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher who founded a Qu’ran school for girls in Damascus over 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immersed themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A study of women claiming space within the mosque.

 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, REVOLUTION Iran

2002 60 minutes, CBS VHS DVD

A small television studio broadcasting out of Los Angeles called NITV (National Iranian Television) is inciting a revolution against the Islamic regime in Iran. Bob Simon reports.

 

MAN AND NATURE Middle East

Traditional World of Islam Series

1976 30 minutes 16mm DVD

Institutional Cinema

Emphasizes the Islamic view of the balance between society and the environment with man the link between nature and God, Examples of pre-modern and some pre-Islamic technological adaptation in building styles and agricultural techniques.

 

MAKKAH, HISTORY OF MADINAH Hajj

Pilgrim Roads, world of Islam Theater 20 minutes

 

MECCA, THE FORBIDDEN CITY Saudi Arabia

1962 52 minutes VHS DVD

Iran Film, Abol Razai

This is still the classic film of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, leading the viewer through the ritual step by step. The involvement of the individual as an individual as well as the sense of the Islamic community is implicit. More recent films show the modernization of Hajj facilities, but lack verisimilitude.


THE MIDDLE EAST IN TRANSITION Middle East

1994 56 minutes VHS DVD

Julia and Peter white, Southern Center for International Studies

This sturdy five-part educational review of US/Middle East relations, problems, and policies, with a brisk pace enlivened by humor, is a flexible springboard for discussion. A study guide accompanies the video.

 

MIDDLE EAST: CRADLE OF CONFLICT Middle East

1991 40 minutes VHS DVD

Bridgestone Group

This documentary begins by exploring the 5,000 year old Mesopotamian culture along the Rigris and Euphrates, the birth of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. History and conflicts are documented through Operation Desert Storm

 

MUHAMMAD: LEGACY OF A PROPHET Islam

2002 I hour, 56 minutes DVD

Unity Productions Foundation

Tells the story of the seventh century prophet who changed world history in 23 years, and continues to shapes the lives of more than 1.2 billion people. The film takes viewers not only to ancient Middle Eastern sites where Muhammad's story unfolds, but into the homes, mosques and workplaces of some of America's estimated seven million Muslim to discover the many ways in which they follow Muhammad's example.

 

MUSLIMS Islam

2002 120 minutes DVD

Wellspring

This video takes a look at what it means to be a Muslim in the 21st century. Filmed in Egypt, Malaysia, Iran, Turkey, Nigeria and the United States, Muslims explores the influence of culture and politics on religion. The film emphasizes Islam’s kinship with Christianity and Judaism and looks at diverse interpretations of Islam among the Muslim people.

 

NAIM AND JABBAR Afghanistan

Faces of Change Series

1974 55 minutes VHS

American University Field Staff, Natalie and Louis Dupree

Presents two teenage boys of northern Afghanistan, their hopes, fears, home life, friendships, and cultural surroundings. Follows them farming with their father, on a trip to the market to buy some used clothes, and applying for entrance to school

 

AL NAKBA: THE PALESTINIAN CATROSTROPHE 1948 Arab/Israeli conflict

 2009 56 minutes, DVD

Landmark Media Inc.

The 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba (Arabic: النكبة‎‎, "al-Nakbah", literally "disaster", "catastrophe", or "cataclysm"), occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Palestine war.  This film chronicles that exodus and its aftermath.

 

NAWAL SAADAWI; UNVEILING THE MIND US/Egypt

1994 22 minutes VHS DVD

Lindsay Miller for Duke University On Line

The appealing and informative autobiographical survey of Nawal Sadawi, Egypt’s leading feminist, is conducted by Dr. Miriam Cooke of Duke University.

                                               

A NEW DAY IN OLD SANA’A Yemen

2005 90 minutes Typecasting films, DVD

A young photographer, Tariq, must choose between his love and his duty of this aristocratic family. He can either run away with his lover, an orphan from the lower class, or go through with his arranged marriage to the daughter of a judge. A young photographer, Tariq, must choose between his love and his duty of this aristocratic family. He can either run away with his lover, an orphan from the lower class, or go through with his arranged marriage to the daughter of a judge

 

NOMAD AND CITY Middle East

Traditional World of Islam Series

1976 30 minutes 16mm DVD

Institutional Cinema

Contrasts the lifestyles of nomad and city-dwellers of classical tradition, pointing out the symbiosis as well as the tensions between them. Features crafts and their role in both societies and cities of Fez and Sana’a. Villages, towns, and agriculture are not represented.

 

OASES OF THE SEA; AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ARAB STATES OF THE GULF

1984 55 minutes VHS DVD

American Educational Trust

Edwin Newman narrates this serious overview of the countries bordering the Persian Gulf – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Moan, and the United Arab Emirates, summarizing their history and the impact of petrodollars. Stresses the developmental achievements, particularly in the areas of education, communication, health, and social services.


OBSESSION: RADICAL ISLAM’S WAR AGAINST THE WEST Islam

2006 60 minutes DVD

A film about the “threat of radical Islam against western civilization.”

 

THE OIL KINGDOM SERIES Gulf States

See under individual titles

1984 57 minutes each DVD

This series on Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman is hosted by journalist Jop Franklin-Trout, using on-site interviews. Her goal is to demythologize this area of the world for Americans, offering insight into contemporary social life as well as politics and plans for the future. There is confusion at times about just where she is.

1.     PETRODOLLAR COAST

2.     SEA OF CONFLICT

 

OUR TIMES Iran

2005 75 minutes Facets Multimedia, DVD

A privileged and unique look inside the dreams and challenges faced by Iran’s struggling movement for democracy, Bani-Etemad is one of Iran’s leading filmmakers of both documentaries and features.

 

PALESTINE: 1890-1990 Arab-Israeli conflict

33 minutes, DVD

A chronology of the Arab-Israeli conflict over a 100 year period.

 

PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE Arab-Israeli conflict

2002 53 minutes, Bullfrog Films VHS  DVD

In a series of extraordinary interviews with both Palestinians and Israeli, John Pilger weaves together the issue of Palestine as an update of an earlier documentary made in 1977.

 

PALESTINIAN COSTUMES AND EMBROIDERY Palestine

1990 35 minutes, Munayyer Collection VHS DVD

Presentation of 19th and early 20th century complete costumes of Palestine describes the various styles worn in the villages and deserts, and explains the symbolic meaning of the patterns. The dresses are modeled to the beat of Mideastern music, with numerous close-ups of the embroidery of each region.

 

PARADISE NOW Arab-Israeli conflict

2005  90 minutes Warner Video

In Nablas on the West Bank, Said and Khaled, who have volunteered to be suicide bombers, receive word it will be tomorrow - the cell's first operation in two years. They're shaven and shorn, in black suits to pose as settlers in Tel Aviv for a wedding. Something goes wrong at the crossing, they're separated, and the action is postponed, long enough for renewed questioning of what they're about to do. Arabic with English subtitles. Academy Award nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, 2005; Golden Globe Winner, best Foreign Language Film

 

PATTERNS OF BEAUTY Middle East

Traditional World of Islam Series

1976 30 minutes 16mm DVD

Formal Islamic aesthetic traditions in art, architecture, and calligraphy put into the context of praise of God and artistic creation as an act of piety. Examples from Safavid Iran, ottoman Turkey, and Mughal India.

 

PETRODOLLAR COAST Gulf States

Oil Kingdom Series

1984, 57 minutes VHS

Franklin/Trout/ PBS

Franklin-Trout visits Oman, a nation medieval in 1970 but now miraculously modernized. Interviews in the United Arab Emirates addresses the role of women today and the problem of foreign workers.

 

A PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA Hajj

50 minutes

PRAY FOR THE KUWAITI HOSTAGES Kuwait

501992 10 minutes VHS DVD

Sulaiman al-Awadi

This short, high-impact film is a poignant plea for world attention to focus on the Kuwaiti POWs and LIAs. Grim scenes of Iraqi torture of Kuwaiti prisoners are horrifying. This is a valuable yet discouraging commentary on the plight of human rights in today’s world.

 

PRICE OF CHANGE Egypt

1982 26 minutes VHS DVD

Elizabeth Fernea for Granada Productions

This examination of the ways in which Egypt is seeking to deal with the conflict between overpopulation and traditional values shows local pioneering women using and dispensing birth control devices. With earthy humor, women are finding out that, although they now have a choice or even necessity of working outside the home, they do not necessarily experience this as a liberating change.

 

PROSPECTS FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST Arab-Israeli Conflict

1992 120 minutes VHS DVD

ECHO: B.J. Fernea

Israeli, Palestinian, and American peach advocates share their hopes about prospects for peace in the Middle East. Questions from a live audience at various educational centers in the U.S. enliven the discussion. The video conference addresses the current situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, differing perceptions concerning the history of the conflict, obstacles to the current peace negotiations, and the international context of the conflict.

 

QUEST FOR CHANGE; CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE EAST  US/Middle East

1994 29 minutes VHS DVD

August Richard Orton and Steve Talley for Banda Productions

Based on the research of the Civil Society in the Middle East program, five scholars from Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey challenge the view that the Middle East is immune to the global trend of democratization and address directly the prospects for political reform. Dealing with the validity of civil society as well as the goals of Islamists, they offer diverse potentials for democracy in the Middle East.

 

RAHIL’S SECRET Iraq

2006 86 minutes Vimeo Productions DVD                                                               


Rejected by her fellow countrymen and left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar land, a twelve-year-old Iraqi refugee living in Rome recounts her remarkable journey through the bars of a remote and undisclosed prison. Back in Iraq, young Rahil's guardians would frequently argue, and the local bullies were relentless. Yet regardless of her dire circumstances, optimistic Rahil never lost hope that a better future was just around the corner. Years ago, Rahil's country was consumed by strife, and she was forced to travel the desert with armed Arab men. Later, one of her protectors had a business deal that ended in violence and Rahil was forced to flee. As she wandered the outskirts of home, she would seek out the assistance of fellow countrymen who shunned her upon learning her father's name. When authorities eventually catch up to Rahil her story is revealed, though she is still left a stranger in a strange land.


RECKLESS HUSBANDS Comedy

1976 98 minutes Egyptian Cinema Classics

A film featuring two of the greatest comedians in the Arab world dringthe last 50 years. Fouad El Mohandes and Abdel Moneim Madbouly. Two husbands suffer the neglect of their wives and try to cope in their own way with a problem that is common in modern society. Hilarious comedy. Arabic with English subtitles.

 

REEL BAD ARABS US Media

2010 50 minutes DVD

 Media Education Foundation, Jack Shaheen.

This documentary exposes American media’s long love affair with Arab villainy and buffoonery, from over-sexed Bedouin bandits to submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and bloodthirsty terrorists. This film provides striking insights into the origins of these images, their disturbing similarities to anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes from the past and their political resonance today.

 

RIVERS OF FIRE Middle East

1994 40 minutes VHS DVD

Landmark Films

The film highlights the Middle East conflict over a natural resource more valuable than oil – water. Specific segments deal with the damming of the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and the controversy over water resources claimed by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinians.

 

SAUDI ARABIA: THE KINGDOM Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Series #1

1981 60 minutes VHS DVD

Franklin-Trout, PBS

Discusses with many interviews, how Saudi Arabia handles its oil production and invests its surplus petrodollars in securities, businesses and properties outside the country, Gives insight into the Saudi royal family with a glimpse of governmental processes. Assesses future problems and roles in international politics.

 

SAUDI ARABIA: THE OIL REVOLUTION Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Series #2

1981 60 minutes VHS DVD

Franklin-Trout, PBS

Deals with the social and cultural upheaval thrust upon a traditional and conservative society by the sudden influx of uncountable wealth. How do the Saudis purchase a developed economy, modern transportation system and communication systems, health care for all and mass education while still retaining their Islamic values and adhering to Quranic law? Scenes of extended family villa enclaves and majlis sessions.

 

SAUDI ARABIA SERIES  See under individual titles

1.     SAUDI ARABIA: THE KINGDOM

2.     SAUDI ARABIA: THE RAE WITH TIME

3.     SAUDI ARABIA: SEA OF CONFLICT


SEA OF CONFLICT Gulf States

Oil Kingdom Series #3

1983 58 minutes VHS DVD

Documents with interviews the volatility of the smaller Arab states in the Persian Gulf with their economies ties to the international oil market and sensitive to both international rivalries and crises as well as to more local Arab religious and political pressures.

 

SEARCH FOR SOLID GROUND Arab-Israeli conflict

33 minutes, DVD

Anti-defamation League video on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

SECRET BALLOT Iran

2001  80 minutes Sony Pictures DVD


A female election agent and a gun-toting soldier try to collect votes among the local islanders with mixed success.

SECRETS OF JERUSALEM’S HOLIEST SITES Jerusalem

2006 52 minutes DVD

National Geographic Channel

Using footage filmed inside the Dome of the Rock to the vast underground expanse of Solomon’s stables to the traditional sites of Jesus’ death and resurrection, this film offers a journey into this ancient, multilayered urban landscape of both worship and war.

 

SESAME STREET IN ARABIC Children

90 minutes

Sesame Street episodes in Arabic

 

SOME WOMEN OF MARRAKECH Morocco

1976 55 minutes 16mm, DVD

Granada TV, Icarus

Shows daily life of urban women in Marrakech, their habits and customs in a variety of settings, all centered around a devout adherence to Islam. Intimate personal situations revealed in sensitive interviews.

 

SPLENDOR OF THE OTTOMAN SULTANS Ottoman Empire

1991 60 minutes VHS DVD

CARRCON Productions: Carrier

This film presents a video-taped version of the spectacular exhibit that traveled through the U.S. in 1992, featuring clothing, armor, furnishings, paintings, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry of the ottoman Empire. Many items are from the collection at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Good narrative places the objects in their historical context.

 

STRADDLING THE WALL Arab-Israeli conflict

44 minutes Discovery Channel  DVD

 

THE SWORD OF ISLAM Islam

85 minutes DVD

 

THE STRUGGLE FOR PEACE; ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS Arab/Israeli conflict

1991 58 minutes VHS DVD

Steve Talley, Elizabeth Fernea for PBS

This in-depth and personal look at grassroots peace movements focuses on four groups: The Vigil of Women in Black, the dialogues at Beit Shahur, the Yesh Gvul refusniks, and the Friends school in Ramallah. Unbiased, this film offers insights into the diversity of popular opinions in Israel.

 

SULEYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT Ottoman Empire

1987 57 minutes VHS DVD

Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery, S. Bauman

Produced on location in Turkey, this spectacular and accurate film explores the magnificent architectural and artistic achievements of the Ottoman Empire, focusing on the life and personality of Suleyman, the Lawgiver, whose 16th century reign marked the zenith of Ottoman political and economic power.

 

SYRIA Syria

Video produced by the Syrian Tourism office

 

TERRORISM Middle East

2001 70 minutes PBS VHS DVD

Peter Jennings documentary, October 22, 2001

 

THE TRADITIONAL WORLD OF ISLAM SERIES Islam

See individual titles

The focus of this series of six films indicated by the title word “traditional”: thus these photographically spectacular films display an idealized classical Islam in stasis, with little or no indication of modernism, of towns except in maps and the Hajj sequences, the cultural diversity and range of Islam from Africa to Indonesia

1.     UNITY

2.     NOMAD AND THE CITY

3.     MAN AND NATURE

4.     PATTERNS OF BEAUTY

5.     KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD

6.     INNER LIFE


TRANSPARENCY Islamic dress           

2006 30 minutes Zahara Pictures, DVD

This award-winning documentary examines one of the more controversial issues in Islam today, the hijab, the Islamic dress code for women. It seeks to answer the fundamental question: is the hijab a form of oppression?

                                                           

TURTLES CAN FLY Kurds             

2005  97 minutes  IFC Films Bahman Ghobadi DVD

On the Iraqi-Turkish border, enterprising 15 year-old “Satellite” (Soran Ebrahim) is the defacto leader of a Kurdish village, thanks to his ability to install satellite dishes and translate news on the pending US invasion. Organizing fellow orphans into landmine-collection teams to eke out a living, his life changes with the arrival of a clairvoyant boy and his quiet, beautiful sister.

 

TV’S PROMISED LAND US media

2003  75 minutes  Mafi Films, Nick Dembowski  DVD

A clever collage of found footage from Hollywood movies, cable news networks, European news broadcasts, American westerns, etc, the accumulated evidence powerfully asserts that western media has lonf demonized a catch-all “Arab/Muslim world” via selective coverage and dehumanizing imagery that boosts the “good v evil” rhetoric. No narration other than that in the clips.

 

TWENTY FINGERS Iran

2004 72 minutes BD Productions VHS

This film features a contemporary Iranian couple in a series of conversations and sometimes quarrels reflecting the problems facing Iranian men and women and the struggle between modernism and tradition, liberalism and conservatism. Winner oif the Best Film Cinema Digitale prize at the Venice Film Festival.

 

ULEMA AND PHILOSOPHERS: FAITH AND REASON IN ISLAMIC ARABIA

26 minutes Films for the Humanities VHS DVD

This video studies the codification of Islamic law and assimilation of no-Arab texts. The contributions of key figures, including the Caliph al-Ma’amun, Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi, Avicenna, and Averroes are also examined.

 

UMM KULTHUM: A VOICE LIKE EGYPT Egypt

1996 67 minutes VHS DVD

The Film Makers Collaborative

Narrated by Omar Sharif, this documentary is the first to bring Umm Kulthum to an American audience. The film connects her life to the epic story of twentieth century Egypt as that country shook off colonialism and confronted modernity.


UNCLE SADDAM Iraq

DVD

Everything you ever wanted to know about Saddam Hussein but were afraid to ask.

 

UNDER THE SKIN OF THE CITY Iran

2001 93 minutes Cinema 79 VSH

Tuba works daily at a grueling textile factory in Iran, returning home every night to deal with the rest of her problematic family, which includes: a pregnant daughter whose husband beats her regularly; a teenage son, who's been getting into trouble due to his burgeoning career in radical politics; and an older son who goes to great lengths--such as attempting to sell the family's meager house--in order to get an engineering job in Japan as a means of getting out of Iran. Unfortunately the 'friend' to whom he gave his money as an advance for his trip took off with the money, and the son finds himself without money, without a career, and with a debt towards a lot of people. To solve his problems he wants to deliver a package of heroin, but loses it, and has to flee. The film ends dramatically with a direct call from the mother to the camera crew asking what life has given them after all the sacrifices they have done, mirroring the opening scene.

 

UNITY Middle East

Traditional World of Islam Series

1976, 30 minutes, DVD, VHS

Institutional Cinema, Inc.

Defines Islam as submission to the will of God, the Qu’ran as the Holy Book, the role of Muhammad, loved and revered but never worshiped, the inner meaning of Islamic ritual to the ordinary believer, and the significance of the Ka’ba and Mecca. There is no discussion of the Judeo-Christian background of Islam.

 

USHPIZIN Israel

2004 90 minutes Picture House DVD

Moshe and Mali Bellanga are an impoverished, childless, Hasidic baal teshuva ("returnees to Judaism") couple in the Breslov community in Jerusalem. After Moshe is passed over for a stipend he expected, they cannot pay their bills, much less prepare for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot. After some anguished prayer, they receive an unexpected monetary gift on the eve of the holiday[2] and Moshe buys the etrog for 1000 shekels (approx. $300), a large sum of money that is much more than he can afford. The couple is visited by a pair of escaped convicts, one of whom knew Moshe in his earlier, non-religious life. The convicts become their guests (ushpizin) in the sukkah, creating many conflicts and straining Moshe and Mali's relationship.

                                                                                                           

A VEILED REVOLUTION Egypt

1982, 26 minutes, VHS, DVD

This classic film documents various attitudes in the early 1980s towards the increased popularity of hijab, forms of conservative Islamic dress. Interviews include a young woman who has chosen this custom and also an older woman who was one of the first to reject the veil in the 1920s.

 

VOICES OF IRAQ Iraq

2004 80 minutes, Magnolia films, DVD

Beginning amidst the Fallujah uprising and going through the marshlands in the south, the Kurdish communities in the north and ending in September 2004, thousands of Iraqis became filmmakers to reveal the richness, complexity and emotion of their lives.

 

WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS Turkey/Greece

2003  90 minutes   Facet Video Yesim Ustaoglu  DVD

The story of a women living along Turkey’s Black sea coast who has guarded the secret that her family is in fact Greek rather than Turkish. They escaped deportation in the 1920s by hiding. Now, 50 years later, she wants to risk exposure and search for a long-lost brother in Greece.

 

WALL Arab-Israeli conflict

2004 97 minutes Cine Sud Productions DVD

A stern whisper of protest rather than a cry of righteous anger and a bit too leisurely paced at times, Wall nonetheless succeeds in humanising an issue usually discussed in purely political terms. That it takes sides will no doubt prompt those who do not agree wholeheartedly with Britton's viewpoint to dismiss the film as propagandist, but the points made are all valid and these voices have as much right to be heard as any other. it is a worthwhile and involving documentary, and could well prove a useful tool for those looking to clarify to others a situation in which the human issues are too often lost under the weight of sweeping statements and simplistic judgement. And with the situation in the Middle East as volatile as ever and the American government considering a similar barrier between its southern border and Mexico, this release could not be better timed.

 

THE WAR AGAINST AL-QAEDA Middle East

2004 50 minutes, The History Channel DVD

Good overview of US evaluation of Al-Qaeda at this point in history.

 

WE BECAME AMERICANS, FINALLY Immigration

1998 60 minutes Ajyal Theatrical group DVD

When Um Hussain and Abu Hussain, her husband of 40 years, finally become American citizens they resolve to blend into their new culture. Abu Hussain update his wardrobe and buys a jazzy American car to make himself attractive to the opposite sex. After all, being an American male means having a female side dish. Yes, Aby Hussain goes looking for a girlfriend. Meanwhile Um Hussain is too busy to notice what is going on under her nose.

 

WHEAT CYCLES Afghanistan

Faces of Change Series

1974, 16 minutes, VHS Umatic

American University Field staff, Louis and Natalie Dupree

Documents the work of rural people in northern Afghanistan, where life revolved around the annual whet cycle: plowing, planting, reaping, threshing, winnowing, milling, and bread baking. No narration.

 

WOMEN IN KUWAIT Women

1992, 30 minutes, VHS, DVD

Professor Leila Achmed on the pressures and processes, the impulses and dichotomies, that confront traditional women in the modern world and modern women in the world of tradition.

 

YOUNG VOICES FROM THE ARAB WORLD: THE LIVES AND TIMES OF FIVE TEENAGERS

1998 30 minutes AMIDEAST VHS DVD

Everyday aspects of Arab culture and society are conveyed through the lives of five young people from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco. Casey Kasom provides historical, geographical, and other background information.

                                                                                                           

ZAMAN: THE MAN FROM THE REEDS Iraq

2003 75 minutes Pathfinder Pictures DVD

One of the first feature films to come out of Iraq in fifteen years, Zaman, The Man from the Reeds was shot under difficult circumstances in January 2003, just before the war began. A quiet, lyrical picture in the Iranian realist tradition, it finds drama not in falling bombs, but in the aging Zaman's (Sami Kaftan) life-or-death quest to find the medicine that could save his beloved wife (Shadha Salim.) Life in Mesopotamia dates back to 3000 B.C., and people still live in floating reed houses in the Tigris and Euphrates swampland. From this ancient world of reeds and waterfowl (destroyed in large part by Saddam Hussein's regime), Zaman journeys to urban modernity. Yet even his timeless world is shaken by international events, from an orphan's traumatic memories of his parents killed in the last Gulf War, to the sound of invisible military jets flying overhead, to the undiagnosed illnesses that have begun to strike the population. The film's strength rests on a successful blend of fiction and documentary techniques, including the strange one of having Zaman answer questions posed by an off-screen interviewer. Director Amer Alwan, returning to Iraq for the first time in 20 years, takes a documentarian's delight in capturing the unglamorous atmosphere of modern Baghdad as one big dusty traffic jam.