A vivacious Palestinian woman (Nisreen Faour) and her teenage son (Melkar Muallem) cope with culture clash and more as they try to build a new life in rural Illinois. (via Rotten Tomatoes)
Battle of Algiers (1966)
One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s...Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today. (via Criterion)
Cities of Light
Over a thousand years ago, Europe experienced one of its greatest periods of cultural enlightenment. "Cities Of Light: The Rise And Fall Of Islamic Spain" (from the producers of "Muhammad: Legacy Of A Prophet") takes viewers on an epic journey back into one of the most captivating and important periods of world history — a centuries-long period when Muslims, Christians and Jews inhabited the same far corner of Western Europe and thrived.
The lemon tree, the water wheel and Aristotle's lost philosophy all arrived in Europe through Islamic Spain, as did algebra and the beginnings of modern medicine, science and poetry. Here were the very roots of the European Renaissance. But the fragile union dissipated, destroyed by greed, fear and intolerance. (via KPBS)
Five Broken Cameras
5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal first-hand account of life and nonviolent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village where Israel is building a security fence. Palestinian Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, shot the film and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi co-directed. The filmmakers follow one family’s evolution over five years, witnessing a child's growth from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him. The film is a Palestinian-Israeli-French co-production. (via POV)
FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her.
Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.
The film is the first feature documentary by Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. (via For Sama Film)
Free Men (Les hommes libre)
In Paris during WWII, an Algerian immigrant is inspired to join the resistance by his unexpected friendship with a Jewish man. (via IMDB)
Gaza Surf Club
Gaza Surf Club is a 2016 documentary film from Little Bridge Pictures, which follows several surfers from Gaza and documents their efforts to surf and survive. The film takes a "day in the life" approach and does not discuss the Gaza Surf Club project itself but instead focuses on some the characters that make up the Gaza Surf Club community. (via Gaza Surf Club)
Hepta: The Last Lecture (Egypt, the psychology of love, 2016)
Dr. Shukri Mokhtar is a renowned social psychology specialist, best known for his ability to answer the simplest questions, who decides to give one last lecture about the very simple question: "how do we love?". (via IMDB)
The Cave (2020 Oscar nominated movie about a female Syrian doctor in the besieged Ghouta)
Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, The Cave. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballour and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, The Cave paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity. (via National Geographic)
The Olive Harvest (a love story that depicts the Palestinian struggle 2003)
Upon his release from an Israeli prison, Mazen (Saade) begins to fall in love with Raeda (Adun), his friend since childhood who is already engaged to Taher (Najeeb), Mazen's younger brother. (via IMDB)
The Wanted 18
It’s 1987 and the Israeli army is in hot pursuit of eighteen dairy cows in the town of Beit Sahour, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The cows are declared a threat to Israel’s national security after a group of Palestinians begin producing milk for the town’s residents.
These newly minted dairy farmers have to learn the most basic skills—even just how to milk the cows! But they are determined to be a model of self-reliance and provide their community with alternatives to replace Israeli goods.
The Israeli soldiers find themselves in a game of cat-and-mouse as residents of the town work together to shuttle the cows from barn to barn. The fugitive cows of Beit Sahour become legendary and the “intifada milk,” often distributed under cover of night, is a part of residents’ daily diet.
Humorous and thought-provoking, The Wanted 18 shows the power of mass mobilization and nonviolent resistance to the Israeli Occupation during the First Intifada – an era too-often simplistically depicted with stone-throwing Palestinian youth facing armed soldiers. This is a poignant film about nation-building from the bottom up, by the people not the politicians. (via Just Vision)
Zaman, the Man From the Reeds (movie about the Iraq war 2003)
The first film from Iraq in 15 years! Zaman is a sweet and sad story about love and devotion, hope and fear. Zaman (Sami Kaftan), and his wife, Najma (Shatha Salim), have built their happy life together in their house of reeds and, though childless, adopted a boy, Yacine (Hussein Imad), orphaned by the 1991 Gulf War. They have lived a quiet, contented existence until Najma falls ill. The local doctor tells them she needs surgery or some special medicine he does not have. And so Zaman sets off in his small boat and journeys up the Tigris to Baghdad in search of the precious cure. Thus begins the journey of salvation and discovery for Zaman, the Man from the Reeds. (via Amazon)