On the Bride’s Side

On the Bride’s Side
Genre: Documentary | Director: Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande, Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry | Language: Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 98 minutes | Country: Global | Year: 2014 | Rating: NR

In Milan, five refugees of the Syrian Civil War and survivors of the October 11, 2013, migrant shipwreck in Lampedusa meet an Italian journalist and a Palestinian-Syrian poet who are eager to help the group reach Sweden, a safe haven for migrants. How can the group traverse the European continent from Milan to Stockholm without being stopped at the borders of Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden? What if they pretend they are on their way to a wedding party? What border patrol agent would ever stop a bride to check her documents?

With a Palestinian friend dressed up as the bride and more than a dozen Italian and Syrian friends as wedding guests, the group crosses halfway over Europe on a four-day journey of almost two thousand miles. This emotionally charged journey not only brings out the stories, hopes and dreams of the five refugees and their new friends, but also reveals an unknown side of Europe – a transnational and supportive Europe that opposes the restrictive laws that are meant to keep refugees out.

Winner of Human Rights Nights Award at the Venice International Film Festival, ON THE BRIDE’S SIDE is a timely look at the urgent refugee crisis happening in the Middle East and Europe and an irreverent and unexpected take on the immigrant road movie.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.7.1, WH.H.8.2 , WH.H.8.3, WH.H.8.6

Our Summer in Tehran

Our Summer in Tehran
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Justine Shapiro | Language: English, Persian, English Subtitles | Length: 59 minutes | Country: Iran | Year: 2009 | Rating: NR

Justine Shapiro, a Jewish-American filmmaker and former host of the travel series GlobeTrekker, takes her 6-year-old son with her to Tehran where they spend the summer with three families: the family of a doctor who works with the Revolutionary Guards; a two-career, multi-generational family; and a single mom who’s an actress. The surprising relationships that arise over the time of the filming, and the exposure to politically and culturally diverse Iranians living normal, middle-class lives in the midst of great international tension, make this film a real must-see. When the Iranian government abruptly gives Justine and Mateo 48 hours to leave the country, promising relationships are severed. Produced by Promises Films and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with partial funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Visit the film’s website here.
Available to purchase to stream online here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.8.2, WH.H.8.3

Koran by Heart: One Chance to Remember

Koran by Heart: One Chance to Remember
Genre:
Documentary | Director: Greg Barker | Language: English, Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 90 minutes | Country: Egypt, Global | Year: 2011 | Rating: NR

There is a passage in the Qur’an that says if you memorize the Qur’an and teach it to others, you will be successful in this life and the next life.” In Koran by Heart, the young scholar who says this has already committed the entire Muslim holy book to memory. He has also earned a place in the Islamic world’s oldest Qur’an memorization contest—though he’s only ten.

Every year, about 100 of Islam’s best young students from around the world come to Cairo for the International Holy Koran Competition. Many are in their late teens, some as young as seven. Koran by Heart follows the progress of three scholars, a girl and two boys, all ten years old, as they compete against students who, in some instances, are nearly twice their age.

Koran by Heart captures the skill, determination, and faith of the young competitors, but never lets the viewer forget that they are children: the solemn girl we watch as she accepts a prize from the president of Egypt is the same high-spirited kid who squeals with delight on her first camel ride.

Viewing guide and related resources available here (Muslim Journeys | Item #308: “, August 21, 2015 http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/items/show/308.)

Available for free streaming online here.

NCSCOS Essential Standards:  6.C.1.1, 6.C.1.2, 7.C.1.2, WH.H.2.5