Films

Syrian Refugee Drama Troupe Seeks to Heal Traumas

Al Jadid Staff

It is no accident that the "Love Boat" theatrical sea journey ends in Shakespeare's "King Lear," as more and more Syrians die either under assault from Assad and Russian bombs or by drowning, desperately taking to the seas in hopes of escaping genocidal policies.

Unrelated to an American TV series under the same name, “Love Boat,” directed by Nawar Bulbul and performed last April in Amman, weaves together a charming fictional story about members of a theatre troupe who have fled Syria in the midst of war and reunited in the Mediterranean. The characters in the story band together to perform a new play in each of the countries they cross as they inch towards Germany seeking refuge.

Women of the Revolutions: The New Faces of Arab Feminism

By 
Angele Ellis

“Nada’s Revolution” follows the tale of the 27-year Nada Ahmed, an Alexandrian woman looking to make decisions about marriage and career in the years after the revolutionary wave of the Arab Spring. In “Feminism Inshallah: A History of Arab Feminism,” Feriel Ben Mahmoud, the film’s director, traces the beginnings of feminism to male feminists such as the Egyptian Qasim Amin (1863-1908), whose nationalist aspirations for Egypt fueled his assertion that the Quran supported women’s rights—essential to throwing off the yoke of colonialism and joining the modern world.

 

Feminism Inshallah: A History of Arab Feminism
Directed by Feriel Ben Mahmoud
Women Make Movies, 2014

Nada’s Revolution
Directed by Claudia Lisboa
Women Make Movies, 2014

 

(Un) hyphenated Complexities?

Angele Ellis

The son of an Iraqi Muslim father and a Palestinian mother, Alshaibi immigrated to the United States as a child in the mid-1970s. Though he did not become a U.S. citizen until 2002, he is in many ways American – a lover of punk and metal music, a director of music videos, and the husband of a white Midwesterner. In his youth, he found solidarity with a group of American experimental filmmakers, musicians, and artists, and identifies himself as an atheist, who nonetheless feels respect for the “Mother Mosque” in Iowa City and its thoughtful imam....When his mother encourages him to change his name from Usama as part of his new citizenship, Alshaibi – who can be quite humorous – says, “At least now people know how to pronounce it.” 

A Subtle Approach to Unmasking the Assad Regime

Bobby Gulshan

I struggled a bit to know what to say about PBS Frontline's “Inside Assad's Syria.” Searching the internet for reviews of the film, I found a rather uninteresting piece in a Hollywood business daily, as well as a blogger who felt that PBS had finally abandoned any pretext of truth in favor of outright propaganda in order to sell Assad to the American people. Clearly, they weren't paying attention to the fact that Smith registers his frustration throughout the program, wearing a purposefully tired expression while being carted along on an obvious pro-regime tour. Their inability to identify this clue made me wonder if the blogger and his approving commentators proved equally oblivious to the fact that Frontline obviously recognized the dog and pony show being provided by the regime, and could see just how easily people could fall for such tactics. 

The Legacy of a Martyr

Paige Donnelly

The late Mohamed Bouazizi was a butterfly for Tunisia. In life, he went unnoticed by society’s radar. But in death, his small wings blew tremors throughout the Arab world; his self-immolation on December 17, 2010 was seismic for the region. His death epitomizes the butterfly effect.

Rouge Parole
Directed and written by Elyes Baccar
Cinema Guild, 2011, 94 minutes

.The late Mohamed Bouazizi was a butterfly for Tunisia. In life, he went unnoticed by society’s radar. But in death, his small wings blew tremors throughout the Arab world; his self-immolation on December 17, 2010 was seismic for the region. His death epitomizes the butterfly effect.

Documentary Film Gives Voice to the Erotic Body

By 
Kim Jensen

Joumana Haddad, Lebanese feminist, author, and poet, founded Jasad, the Arabic Journal of Erotic Arts, in order to advocate for the sexual liberation for the Arab World. In her film, “Jasad & The Queen of Contradictions” Amanda Homsi-Ottosson combines interviews with Haddad, Jasad journal contributors, and critics, as well as reactions from the street, and footage taken from the literary salons of Beirut, the Queen of Contradictions herself.  

Jasad & The Queen of Contradictions
A film by Amanda Homsi-Ottosson
Women Make Movies,  2011, 40 minutes 

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