Re: [Videolib] film suggestions please

Pat Shufeldt (
Thu, 27 Mar 2003 21:51:29 -0500

The film which immediately came to my mind is MARYAM (Streetlight Films, 2000).
For more information & reviews, see Internet Movie Database. The website
( mentions that the film will soon be released on VHS
and DVD. I've been checking periodically for its availability ever since
reading about its inclusion in Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival.
Unfortunately, I've not had an opportunity to see it, but it sounds like just
the kind of film Kim is looking for.

Ebert writes in his review:
"MARYAM was made before 9/11, and indeed I first saw it at the 2000 Hawaii Film
Festival and invited it to my own Overlooked Film Festival in April 2001. It is,
I learned, the somewhat autobiographical story of writer-director Ramin Serry,
who grew up in Chicago and was made sharply aware of his Iranian heritage during
the 1979 hostage crisis."

Another film which is less suitable for Kim's film series but is particularly
appropriate for the current world situation is WEST BEIRUT (New Yorker Films,
1998), which portrays three teens (two Muslim boys and a Christian girl) who are
living in the midst of the divided and war-torn city. The film has a lot of
humor, but the growing despair of both parents and teens as the turmoil drags on
is heartbreaking.

I second Jessica's recommendation of Arab Film Distribution as a good source for
many films you won't easily locate elsewhere. For one of the largest selections
of Iranian films with English subtitles, also check out
Today they mention having 63 subtitled Persian films. But don't count on
cataloging most of them unless you know Farsi...

Jessica, you aren't the only one with difficulties thinking of American films
with a major serious Arab character. REEL BAD ARABS: HOW HOLLYWOOD VILIFIES A
PEOPLE, by Jack Shaheen (Interlink, 2001) tells the sad story. Shaheen teaches
in the mass communication program at Southern Illinois University. I used his
very short list of "Best" films and slightly longer list of "Better" films to
try locating ones of interest for personal purchase and/or for additions to the
Library's collection. Unfortunately, most of the ones which sounded of greatest
interest were unavailable when I first looked about a year ago. Last week I had
better luck on Amazon--but every one of the seven which I ordered for personal
use were only available there as used copies being sold in the secondary market.

Pat Shufeldt
Greenville (SC) County Library System

Kim Crowley wrote:

> We have a group in Fort Collins that puts on the "Eracism Film Series"
> each year. In the past they have shown a mix of documentaries and feature
> films (four in all). They show a film and have a speaker-led discussion
> afterwards. Past films have included "Mississippi Masala" and "Essential
> Blue Eyed" "Mi Familia" and "Journey to a Hate-Free Millenium." The
> series will take place in September/October, one film each week.
> This is the first year I have been involved and we are thinking of
> "Postville" and "The two Towns of Jasper, TX" for the documentaries; and
> "Rabbit Proof Fence" for one of the feature films. The group would like
> another film that deals with people from the Middle East. Either a Middle
> Eastern film or, preferably, a film dealing with the Middle Eastern
> community (a middle eastern community) in the US. Since we still have
> lots of time to rearrange films, this could be either a feature film or a
> documentary. We would like it to be a fairly recent film.
> Thanks in advance for any suggestions,
> kc
> Kim Crowley, Technology Coordinator
> City of Fort Collins Public Library
> 201 Peterson Street phone: 970.221.6662
> Fort Collins, CO 80524 fax: 970.221.6398
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> Videolib mailing list

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