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Film Finders: Exploring Special Topics

Middle East Films

Middle East month poster

During April 2017, the University of Delaware’s Newark Campus celebrated some of the many countries, cultures and contributions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Coordinated by the Institute for Global Studies, the month featured lectures, programs and events on contemporary and ancient topics ranging from U.S.-Middle East foreign relations to Middle Eastern traditions of hospitality, Egyptian archaeology and more.

As a campus partner, Morris Library supported Middle East Month by hosting film screenings.  Additional opportunities to explore the culture and history of various MENA countries abound in the Library -- below is a selection of feature and documentary films available for use by UD affiliates with a valid UD i.d. by visiting the Film & Video Collection, located on the Lower Level of Morris Library.

Additional Film & Video Resources on the Middle East

The resources featured on this page represent a small sample of the many moving image materials available to the UD community regarding the Middle East via the Film & Video Collection.  Additional resources can be found using DELCAT Discovery.  The following searches (with results limited to Film & Video materials) may help to serve as a starting point for further exploring related topics:

Satellite photo from space of the middle east

Arab Labor: The Complete First Season, 2007

DVD Cover of Arab LaborIn this controversial hit Israeli comedy series, viewers follow a 32-year-old Israeli-born Palestinian journalist in search of his identity.  He seeks high status in the society into which he was born but where his car is searched everyday when he drives from his neighborhood to his job at a newspaper in Jerusalem. Characters play on religious, cultural and political differences to daringly depict the mixed society that is Israel.

Available on DVD.

The Band's Visit / Biḳur ha-Tizmoret, 2007

DVD Cover of The Band's VisitA band comprised of members of the Egyptian police force head to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab arts center, only to find themselves lost in the wrong town.

Available on DVD.

The Destruction of Memory, 2016

DVD Cover of The Destruction of MemoryBased on the book of the same name, this documentary explores the urgent issue of cultural destruction by looking at how, over the past century, the intensity of destruction has accelerated, and at how legislation and policy have moved in and out of step with the issue.

Available on DVD and Streaming.

Feminists, Insha'allah!, 2014

DVD Cover of Feminists, Insha'allah!The struggle for Muslim women’s emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. This documentary recounts Arab feminism’s largely unknown story, from its taboo-shattering birth in Egypt by feminist pioneers up through viral Internet campaigns by today’s tech-savvy young activists during the Arab Spring.

Available on DVD.

5 Broken Cameras, 2011

DVD Cover for 6 Broken Cameras5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first hand-account of non violent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat's cameras, the filmmakers' collaboration follows one family's evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify and lives are lost.

Available on DVD.

Going Up the Stairs, 2011

​Akram is an illiterate 50 year old Iranian woman who became a painter unexpectedly when her young grandson asked her to work on a drawing. When invited to exhibit in Paris, she is at the mercy of her conservative husband. Will he let her go showcase her raw talent or give in to his sense of tradition and keep her home?

Available on DVD.

Mustang, 2015

DVD Cover for Mustang

In a village in the north of Turkey, Lale and her four sisters return home from school for the summer, innocently playing with boys. The supposed debauchery of their games causes a scandal with unintended consequences. The family home slowly turns into a prison, classes on housework and cooking replace school, and marriages begin to be arranged.

Available on DVD.

Offside, 2006

DVD Cover of OffsideDuring the 2006 Iran-Bahrain match, the Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men and, officially, no women. According to Islamic custom, women are not permitted to watch or participate in men's sports. Many of the ambitious young female fans who manage to sneak into the arena are caught and sent to a holding pen, guarded by male soldiers their own age. Duty makes these young men and women adversaries, but duty can't overcome their shared dreams, their mutual attraction, and ultimately their overriding sense of national pride and humanity.

Available on DVD and Streaming

Salam Neighbor, 2015

DVD Cover of Salam NeighborSeven miles from war, 85,000 Syrians struggle to restart their lives inside Jordan's 
Za'atari refugee camp. Two filmmakers fully embed themselves in the camp, providing an intimate look at this dire humanitarian crisis. 

A Sinner in Mecca, 2015

DVD Cover of A Sinner In MeccaA gay filmmaker filming in Saudi Arabia faces two challenges: filming is forbidden in the country and homosexuality is punishable by death.  Parvez Sharma looks to prove that his faith and sexuality are compatible, surreptitiously shooting via iPhone in the no-filming zone of Islam's holiest city.

Available on DVD.

Song of Sparrows, 2008

DVD Cover of The Song Of SparrowsAfter being let go from his job on an ostrich farm, a father leaves his small village to find work in the big city. As a motorcycle taxi driver, he soon becomes consumed with his passengers' lives, and is swept up in a world of greed. Now it is up to his family back home to help restore his generous nature.

Available on DVD.

Starless Dreams, 2016

DVD Cover Starless DreamsThis documentary examines the lives of young teenage girls sharing temporary quarters at a juvenile detention center on the outskirts of Tehran. The girls bond, and reveal—with playfully disarming honesty—the circumstances and acts that resulted in their incarceration. Outside the prison walls, danger is everywhere, even within their own families.

Available on DVD.

Syria: The Assads' Twilight, 2011

DVD Cover of Syria: The Assads' Twilight​Bashar al-Assad tells a French TV audience about his calling as a doctor, "You work for the health of humans. It's a humanitarian job." Two years later, the world would watch as this humanitarian sent black-clad troops to open fire on unarmed protesters seeking the fall of his regime. This documentary presents a history of the Assad regime, from its origins to its teetering days in 2011. It recounts the history of the regime and the region--including the tortured and troubled history of Syrian involvement in Lebanon.

Available on DVD and Streaming.

Taxi, 2015

DVD Cover for TaxiAcclaimed Iranian director ​Jafar Panahi drives a yellow cab through the vibrant streets of Tehran, picking up a diverse group of passengers in a single day. Each man, woman, and child candidly expresses his or her own view of the world while being interviewed by the curious and gracious driver.

Available on DVD.

More Films to Explore