Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain
Genre: Documentary | Director: Robert Gardner | Language: English | Length: 117 minutes | Country: Mediterranean, Global | Year: 2007 | Rating: PG

Over a thousand years ago, Europe experienced one of its greatest periods of cultural enlightenment.For more than three centuries in Medieval Spain, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together and prospered in a thriving multicultural civilization. Here, remarkable individuals of different faiths made lasting contributions in such areas as poetry, art, architecture, music, dining etiquette, science, agriculture, medicine, engineering, navigation, textiles, and even hydraulic technology.

Their rich, complex culture reached a high point in the Mediterranean Middle Ages. However, larger forces in conquest of land and power brought about puritanical judgments, absolutism and religious extremism. The conflict they triggered extinguished the shared learning that once flourished in this enlightened land.

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain takes viewers through an engaging, insightful journey into this critical period in world history. This website allows you to further explore this significant past to better understand the present.

Lesson plans and classroom ideas available here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: 6.C.1.2, WH.H.2.5, WH.H.3.1

Salata Baladi

Salata Baladi
Documentary | Director: Nadia Kamel | Language: Arabic, English, Hebrew, Italian, English Subtitles | Length: 105 minutes | Country: Egypt, Israel, Global | Year: 2007 | Rating: N/A

 Nadia Kamel’s heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half Jewish, half Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia’s half Turkish, half Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew was growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she decides to let her mother, Mary Rosenthal, share their diverse family history. But, as she and Mary weave their way through the family’s fairy tales, they bump into silence around old prejudices concerning their estranged Egyptian-Jewish branch of their family living in Israel since 1948. Inspired to further challenge the boundaries between cultures, religions, and nationalities that are used to divide us, Kamel travels, along with her mother and nephew, to Israel and Italy and confronts fear and prejudice along the way.

NCSCOS Essential Standards:  7.G.1.2, WH.H.8.1, WH.H.8.2

I Love Hip Hop in Morocco

I Love Hip Hop in Morocco
Genre: Documentary | Director: Joshua Asen, Jennifer Needleman | Language: Arabic, French, English, English Subtitles | Length: 80 minutes | Country: Morocco | Year: 2007 | Rating: NR

Our story begins with a group of Moroccan Hip Hop artists who share a single dream: to rock a professional concert for a hometown crowd. Unfortunately, resistance is strong in their society and resources scarce. With the help of the American filmmaker, they appeal to the American Embassy for funding and begin the journey that will leave to the “I Love Hip Hop in Morocco’ festival.

This film reflects the thoughts and dreams of the true future of the Arab world: its youth. These are not the images portrayed by the media, these are the real people. And their views on America, Islam, and the world in general, might surprise a few people around the globe.

Free for available online streaming here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: 7.C.1.2