American Arab

American Arab
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Usama Alshaibi | Language: English | Length: 60 minutes | Country: United States | Year: 2013 | Rating: NR, some strong language

In Kartemquin’s American Arab, Iraqi-born Director Usama Alshaibi takes a provocative look at the contradictions of Arab identity in post 9/11 America, weaving his own life’s journey and “coming-of-Arab” experiences into the life stories of several diverse characters. Exploring the values, passions, and hopes of his fellow Arab-Americans, Usama tries to make peace with his conflicted chosen homeland.

Arab-Americans are not one monolithic group, but rather a diverse and complex array of many voices and cultures. This film weaves sadness and humor, anger and satire, provocation and understanding, embracing the multifaceted Arab American experience of post 9/11 America. By shedding light and giving clarity to a recent and difficult time for Arabs living in the US, American Arab shows how the struggles over identity within this documentary are universal.

American Arab is a project of Kartemquin’s first Diversity Fellowship, sponsored by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Ford Foundation. For more information, see the film’s website: https://www.kartemquin.com/films/american-arab

This film is available to colleges, schools, and libraries through the Cinema Guild, click here for more information.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.7, WH.H.8, AH2.H.7, AH2.H.8, 12.C.1.3 (Sociology)

Cairo in One Breath

Cairo in One Breath
Genre
: Documentary | Director: Anna Kipervaser | Language: Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 79 minutes | Country: Egypt | Year: 2015 | Rating: NR

The adhan is the Muslim call to prayer, an invitation to sacred space traditionally performed by a muezzin at a mosque five times each day. Cairo has thousands of mosques, and with countless muezzins chanting the call simultaneously there is a holy cacophony that reverberates through the city’s soundscape. Enter the Ministry of Religious Endowments with the concept of a unified adhan, a single call from one muezzin broadcast from a central studio to a network of mosques, each relaying the adhan through its own sound system. This beautiful and timely film is full of rich details of everyday life and maintains a quiet respect for the range of opinions voiced on either side of this somewhat unpopular edict. In a culture still unsettled by recent revolution, the idea of any kind of unification is controversial, and the loss of local traditions and individual voices is deeply felt.

For more information about the film and multimedia project, click here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.8.2

I am the People

I am the People
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Anna Roussillon | Language: Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 110 minutes | Country: Egypt | Year: 2014 | Rating: NR

January 2011 in Egypt was marked by anti-government demonstrations. While tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo, poor villagers in the country’s south followed the tense situation on Tahrir Square on their TV screens and in the daily newspapers. It is from their perspective that this documentary captures the political changes in Egypt, from the toppling of President Mubarak to the election of Mohamed Morsi. The film reveals the villagers’ hopes and disappointments, and shows that despite the wild events, very little has actually changed in their lives.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.8.2, WH.H.8.6