Ayed Morrar, an unlikely community organizer, unites Palestinians from all political factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines.
With “an elegiac poignancy” (New York Times), director James Allen Smith’s Floored “captures the waning heyday of the Chicago Trading Pits” (ABC News) and tells the bizarre and gripping stories of the traders—”overgrown kids with money, brains and a pathological need to release stress” (Barron’s) whose chaotic, audacious and thrill-seeking way of life has all but vanished with the recent shift toward automated computerized stock trading.
A devoted son of Holocaust survivors and ardent critic of Israeli foreign policy, the polarizing American political scientist and author Norman Finkelstein has been called a lunatic and self-hating Jew by some, and an inspirational revolutionary by others. Uncompromising even in the face of his recent denial of tenure at DePaul University, Finkelstein is revealed as a complex, politically isolated figure who puts the pursuit of justice above the safety of his academic career. Exploring the difficult and deeply-felt issues at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, American Radical is the insightful and enraging documentary that follows Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a powerful voice among his impassioned critics and supporters.
Women across the Arab world are redefining their role as leaders in Islam. In director Brigid Maher’s insightful documentary film, Veiled Voices, three influential women Islamic leaders are profiled—along with their families and the communities in which they serve: Ghina Hammoud in Lebanon, Dr. Du’ad Saleh in Egypt and Huda al-Habash in Syria.
The three personal stories featured in Veiled Voices give insight into how Muslim women are increasingly willing to challenge the status quo from within their religion, promoting Islam as a powerful force for positive transformation in the world.
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.
A young student of the arts, Dunia aspires to be a professional dancer and poet. Her artistic expression is inhibited, however, by her inability to experience and express desire. Dunia’s reasoning that women should not move their bodies to evoke an act of love is challenged by the ardent public intellectual Dr. Beshir–played by Egyptian superstar singer Mohammed Mounir.
Shooting on location in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and at checkpoints in-between, Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) sees the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the eyes of a young woman who, with only ten hours to marry, must negotiate her way around roadblocks, soldiers, stone-throwers, overworked officials … and into the heart of an elusive lover.
Inspired by real events, documentary filmmaker Saverio Costanzo’s feature debut is a minimalist psychological drama about a Palestinian family of seven suddenly confronted with a volatile situation in their home that in many ways reflects the larger ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Winner of a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, Private is convincingly shot in a documentary style with a hand-held camera and a quick pace. Director Costanzo has created a unique occasion for both Israeli and Palestinian actors to work together, and being an outsider himself, he has worked to maintain a neutral standpoint while dramatizing the conflict.
In this achingly romantic tale, handsome young Tariq is about to marry Bilquis, eldest daughter of a prominent and powerful judge. But as he wanders the ancient city of Sana’a late one night, he spots a beautiful young woman dancing in the street and falls madly in love with her.
Before long, the young groom must choose between following his heart and protecting his family’s honor. Filmed entirely on location in the ancient city of Sana’a, this exquisite film is the first feature film ever to come out of Yemen.
Just when the world is losing hope about the possibility of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict comes Encounter Point. Created by a Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American team, Encounter Point moves beyond sensational and dogmatic imagery to tell the story of an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian bereaved brother who risk their safety and public standing to press for an end to the conflict. They are at the vanguard of a movement to push Palestinian and Israeli societies to a tipping point, forging a new consensus for nonviolence and peace. Perhaps years from now, their actions will be recognized as a catalyst for constructive change in the region. Encounter Point is a film about hope, true courage and implicitly about the silence of journalists and politicians who pay little attention to vital grassroots peace efforts.
In one of the most enduring and popular films of Chahine’s career, Cairo’s main railroad station serves as a microcosm of Egyptian society, with a community of railroad workers and drink vendors living together in abandoned train cars. When the crippled newspaper dealer Kinawi (played by Chahine himself) is rebuffed by the beautiful-but-indifferent Hanuma (Hind Rostom), he kidnaps the object of his obsessive desire—with disastrous consequences.
Chahine’s steamy noir masterpiece of repressed sexuality, madness and violence earned the director international acclaim when it was nominated for the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958.
A visual poem of incomparable beauty, this masterpiece from director Nacer Khemir (Wanderers of the Desert) begins with the story of a blind dervish named Bab’Aziz and his spirited granddaughter, Ishtar. Together they wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes that takes place just once every thirty years.
A traveling writer and teller of fables, Nacer Khemir here applies his age-old skills to a narrative feature film, the first in his highly-regarded Desert Trilogy that includes The Dove’s Lost Necklace andBab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul .
Khemir creates an exotic world withWanderers of the Desert when a young teacher arrives to take over a village school isolated in the shimmering desert. Reminiscent of the best Iranian films of the 1970s in its use of color and setting, it also has something of the wit, cruelty and ambiguity of the Arabian Nights.