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

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

Zahrah

Zahrah
Genre:
Documentary, Biography | Director: Mohammed Bakri | Language: Arabic, English Subtitles | Length: 70 minutes | Country: Palestine, Israel | Year: 2009 | Rating: N/A

Director Mohammad Bakri narrates this personal documentary about his aunt Zahra Bakri. Mrs. Bakri was born and raised in the Palestinian village of al-Bane in the Galilee. Starting with her childhood, the film takes us on a journey through Palestine’s turbulent history and chronicles the effects of these unfolding events on Zahra and her extended family. We experience the violence that resulted in the establishment of Israel, the effect of life under martial law (1948-1966) on Palestinian family life, and the radical transformation of Palestinian society from a majority to a disenfranchised minority in their own homeland.

NCSCOS Essential Standards: WH.H.8.1