Driving to Zigzigland

Driving to Zigzigland
Genre:
Comedy | Director: Nicole Ballivian | Language: Arabic, English | Length: 92 minutes | Country: United States, Palestine | Year: 2006 | Rating: NR

A chronicle of a day in the life of a Palestinian cab driver in Los Angeles, DRIVING TO ZIGZIGLAND, portrays the social struggle of the Arab immigrant in post-9/11 America. The utilities are due and Bashar has twenty-four hours to make the money. For the remaining hours left until tomorrow, an unceasing flow of passengers ride in Bashar’s taxi and give the Arab cabbie the run around on issues that deal with suicide bombers, George Bush, Cat Stevens, the war in Iraq, music, and world geography.

Without losing its lightness or optimism, Driving to Zigzigland manages to contemplate discrimination and fear in the post-9/11 era, the desire to leave one’s homeland and the yearning to return to it, and the constant reinterpretations of identity that we all engage in. It is not only Palestinians who dream of Zigzigland, Bashar explains, “The American dream is just a Zigzigland dream.” In life, he says, “there is only struggle and survival.”

Available for free streaming online here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.8.2

Women’s Chitchat

Women’s Chitchat (Dardashah nisāʼīyah)
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Hala Galal | Language: Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 55 minutes | Country: Egypt | Year: 2006 | Rating: NR

This film studies the evolution of Egyptian society from the early 20th century to today, focusing on the status of women as experienced by several generations within the same family. The women discuss the inter-generational changes that have affected fashion, politics and courtship as well as society’s role for women in general. The achievements made by past leaders of the Egyptian women’s rights movement are also highlighted. By using old home movies, photographs and the verbal experiences of women young and old, WOMEN’S CHITCHAT provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Egyptian women over the past one hundred years.

Available for free streaming online here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.8.6

Love & Dance

Love & Dance
Genre:
Drama, Family, Music | Director: Eitan Anner | Language: Hebrew, English Subtitles | Length: 95 minutes | Country: Israel | Year: 2006 | Rating: NR

Chen, a young kid, is battling a cultural conflict between his Russian born mother and Israeli father. She is cultured and used to the finer things in life, including theater and fine dining. He is gruff on the outside but sweet on the inside – a Sabra; and looking to make his young son a man rather than the wimp his mother is raising. One day, Chen stumbles upon a ballroom dance class for young people and sees Natalie, a stunning Russian young girl he falls in love with immediately. His interest in Natalie leads him to taking ballroom dancing and to ultimately bridging the cultural divide of his own family – through the Cha Cha and the Tango. The teachers are a pair of former Russian world champions who never quite fulfilled their potential, but find themselves battling their demons through the instructions of the kids.