ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Oh my god, you guys. If you haven't seen Amreeka, the film about a Palestinian mother and son who immigrate to suburban Illinois just as the US is invading Iraq in 2003, you totally should. I just screened it with my Arab Migrations seminar, and it was way cute.

Here are a random set of squeeful thoughts about it:

1) I love that all the actors appear, from their names and ability to speak Arabic as well as English, to actually be of Arab descent. The three lead adults and one of the kid characters all have to switch back and forth between English and Arabic, and do equally well in each language; the other kids have to respond to lines in Arabic as if they understand them, and nobody appears to hesitate. (Well, the littlest girl's timing is a little off, but she pulls it off.)

2) The opening cinematography of Bethlehem, where the protagonist, Mona, and her son Fadi start out, is just gorgeous. How much do I want to get on a plane right now? So much. (Frankly, suburban Illinois looks good too...but I harbor no suppressed longing to go there.)

3) The story is funny and "universal" (in that it tells a story that is accessible to folks who don't know much about Arabs/Palestine/Arab-Americans), but it still doesn't shy from talking about Middle Eastern politics and the problems of being Arab in American in 2003.

4) OMG, you guys, Nisreen Faour. She is so great. She's funny, she's got good timing and an excellent earnest "straight-woman" face, she can convey the angst and deliberation she's undergoing, and she can still pull off all the humor.

5) OMG MUNA, the character Faour plays.

It's a bit of a hokey movie, but so earnestly played that it all comes together. This is definitely a movie you could watch with no background info on Arab communities in the US, but for those who know a little, you won't get either enraged or nitpicky. It's just a sweet movie, and really uplifting. (It contains references to structural racism against Arabs, and you see them occur on screen, but in a way that touches lightly on them, and doesn't dwell on the ugliness of them--a way that lets the light shine through.)

Anyway. It's on Netflix, I think, and I rented it from my public library. Suuuuper sweet, you guys.

who wants to nom it for yultide
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (marxist feminist)
Why, yes, I am still here!

As you can guess by the fact that I made precisely zero posts between the first week of November and the first week of January, it was a bit of a mad dash to the end of the semester. Much of that busyness was productive. I served on a search committee making three senior hires in my field, and we had all the job talks in five weeks. That was followed by a full-barrelled attempt to finish a draft of my last dissertation chapter before I got final papers to grade, and then a total hard drive failure (Extended AppleCare: It works, bitches), and then the arrival of all those papers, timed perfectly to coincide with the first Christmas where my kid really understood what was going on. And then what happened? Oh, yeah, a blizzard. That.

So, it was a good semester, but a chaotic one. I'll admit, I'm very much looking forward to this semester "off," by which I mean that I have no teaching (or committee) responsibilities, and just four solid months to revise my dissertation and schedule a defense. It sounds blissful, and I'll probably do a post at some point soon about the process of planning for such a thing, which I'm thinking about a lot right now.

Before we get there, however, I wanted to share a cool project that I discovered with my students this semester. Women's Voices Now is a new international feminist group, in the process of organizing a film festival called Women’s Voices from the Muslim World, to be held in Los Angeles in March. All the films were submitted online and are available for viewing. While some of the messaging around the festival and the project made bitter-old-me roll my eyes, many of the films were fascinating, moving, and really engaging. We spent about half a class in my Gender and Politics in the Middle East class watching them and talking about them, and I found that it was a useful exercise for the students, one that got them involved in the material.

Another thing about this festival is that they're choosing (in part, I think) who to bring to LA based on the votes by viewers through the site. I'm enthusiastic about getting more viewers involved in the process, even if this does inject a tiny bit of popularity-contest into the mix.

Not all the videos we watched in class are still on the site; I think that low-ranking films must be getting eliminated. (At least one of the films I wanted to post was awful, so this is at least my hope.) But here are five short films from the Middle East which I think are worth watching.

(Caveat: I literally haven't watched any of the ones from outside the Middle East world, or any of the ones recently posted; see note above about my semester. If you're looking for more about the festival, or more recs, check out Muslimah Media Watch's coverage; they're now a sponsor of the festival, and posted a whole bunch of videos with discussions. Or if you've got favorites, feel free to rec in the comments! I do want to watch more of them.)

Films from Sudan, Qatar, Egypt, Iran/The Netherlands, and Jordan )

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ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

March 2016

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