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Salem State University | Department of World Languages & Cultures | Language Resource Center

Italian Language Films and Documentaries

Films and documentaries kept at the LRC are for viewing at the LRC exclusively. They may not normally be checked out. VHS tapes may be viewed in the two TV-VHS combo machines at the lab (ask the lab attendant for a set of headphones). DVD's may be viewed at any of the computers.

Arabic-language feature films

Where do we Go Now?

Year: 2011 - Country: - Language: Arabic (English subtitles) - Director: Nadine Labaki - Genre: - Runtime: 102 min. - Actors: Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Layla Hakim - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep 2015

"In an isolated Lebanese village, the mosque and the church stand side by side--but religious tension threatens to boil over, particularly as a series of pranks escalates into ever-increasing hostility. The women of the village, both Christian and Muslim, concoct improbable schemes to defuse the tension, including hiring a troupe of Ukrainian belly dancers. Where Do We Go Now? veers back and forth between wrenching drama and cheerful comedy but somehow maintains a balance. Director-actress Nadine Labaki leads her mostly nonprofessional cast with heart and fervor. This commitment allows the movie to juggle the broad comedy of the mayor's wife pretending to channel the Virgin Mary and the grief of a mother losing her son to a random bullet. In a particularly poetic moment, the belly dancers take a tour around the town and discover that the cemetery is segregated into Christian and Muslim plots; even in death, the town is divided. Where Do We Go Now? has been a huge success in the Middle East and deserves to reach an audience in the broader world, both for its message of compassion and its vivid emotional power. --Bret Fetzer "

Lemon Tree

Year: 2009 - Country: Israel - Language: Hebrew (English subtitles) - Director: Eran Riklis - Genre: - Runtime: 106 min. - Actors: Amos Lavie, Makram Khoury - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep 2015

"Director Eran Riklis makes his home in Tel Aviv, but his films tend to occupy the borders between nations. Co-written with Suha Arraf, Lemon Tree serves as a companion to their previous collaboration, The Syrian Bride. Hiam Abbass from The Visitor returns as Salma Zidane, a widow who tends the family lemon grove along the Green Line dividing Palestine from the West Bank (Arraf and Abbass are both of Palestinian-Israeli descent). When the Israeli defense minister, Israel Navon (Doron Tavory), and his wife, Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael), move in next door, his security detail advices him to destroy it since terrorists could use the trees for cover. After Navon conveys his intentions, Salma springs into action, hiring a recently-divorced lawyer, Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman, who co-starred with Abbass in Paradise Now), to take her fight to the courts. Initially, Navon has all the power and Salma has none, but Mira, who also suffers from empty nest syndrome, feels for the lonely woman next door--and Ziad finds her compelling in ways that Salma's Palestinian neighbors finds inappropriate (he's younger and rumors link him to a politician's daughter). Then the media gets wind of the skirmish and paints it as a classic David versus Goliath story, but the Israeli Supreme Court will have the final say. Like the The Syrian Bride, Lemon Tree presents a parable about the Middle East, but the characters feel more like real people than cardboard cut-outs, and Abbass commands the screen with her calm, determined presence. --Kathleen C. Fennessy"

Salt of This Sea

Year: 2010 - Country: - Director: Annemarie Jacir - Genre: - Runtime: 105 min. - Actors: Suheir Hammad, Saleh Bakri - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep. 2015

"An urgent and devastating portrait of life in Palestine, Salt of This Sea is essential viewing. Sixty years after her grandparents exile from Jaffa, Soraya (Suheir Hammad) leaves Brooklyn to live in her homeland. Discovering that her family's bank account was frozen after the Arab- Israeli way, she decides to leave Brooklyn for her homeland, determined to reclaim her birthright, through whatever means necessary. With the help of her disillusioned lover Emad (Saleh Bakri) and his filmmaker pal Marwan (Riyad Ideis), they plan on one big heist to settle the historical debt. Driving through the countryside like an Arab (and pacifist) Bonnie and Clyde, Soraya and Emad discover their roots while rejecting their status as exiles. Hammad and Bakri attack their roles with feral intensity, electrifying the screen. The first fiction feature of Palestinian-American director Annemarie Jacir, and the first feature film from Palestine by a female director, it is an intimate, urgent and rousing piece of political filmmaking."

Under the Bombs

Year: - Country: Lebanon - Language: Arabic (English subtitles) - Director: Philippe Aractingi - Genre: - Runtime: 98 min. - Actors: Nada Abou Farhat, Georges Khabbaz - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep 2015

"Filmed on location during the 2006 Lebanon-Israeli conflict. During a cease-fire in the Lebanon-Israel conflict of 2006, a Christian taxi driver brings an untraditional Shiite woman from Beirut to the heart of the conflict in the country s south. While they scour the rubble of local towns for her son, who was sent to live with her traditional family while she was staying with her husband in Dubai, they discover that despite their very different backgrounds they have much in common. And during their trip through the desolate countryside, the two travelers develop a deep bond as a response to the death striking all around them. The film was shot entirely on location during the summer of 2006, in the middle of the ruins of war-torn Lebanon. Aractingi only hired two professional actors, the rest are real refugees, journalists, soldiers, etc..., playing themselves."

May in the Summer

Year: 2013 - Country: - Director: Cherien Dabis - Genre: Drama, Comedy - Runtime: 99 min. - Actors: Hiam Abbass, James Garson Chick - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep 2015

"May In the Summer (2013 release; 99 min.) brings the story of a woman named May. As the movie opens, we see May arriving (from New York) in the Middle East (specifically, Jordan), where she meets up with her mom and her 2 sisters. May is getting ready for her wedding in a few weeks to Ziad, a secular Muslim who is a professor at NYU. May's mom, an Arab Christian, disapproves of the marriage. Meanwhile we also get to know May's dad, who divorced her mom 8 years ago and is now remarried to a much younger woman. One evening, May and her sisters go out and May gets to know Karim, a nice guy who seems to take a liking for May (and maybe likewise). Will May marry Ziad? Will her mom change her mind and approve of the marriage? And what about May's friendship with Karim? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll have to see for yourself how it all plays out."


Year: 2010 - Country: Saudi Arabia - Language: Arabic - Subtitles: French - Director: Cherien Dabis - Genre: - Runtime: 96 min. - Actors: Yussuf Abu-Warda, Hiam Abbass, Jeff Sutton, Alia Shawkat, Amer Hlehel - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep. 2015

"Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle. Told with heartfelt humor by writer-director Cherien Dabis in her feature film debut, Amreeka is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home. Amreeka recalls Dabis's family's memories of their lives in rural America during the first Iraq War. The film stars Haifa-trained actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, and Melkar Muallen plays her 16-year-old son, Fadi. Also in the cast are Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Yussef Abu-Warda and Joseph Ziegler. Written and directed by Cherien Dabis, Amreeka was produced by Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin. Alicia Sams, Dabis and Gregory Keever were executive producers; Liz Jarvis and Al-Zain Al-Sabah were co-producers. Amreeka made its world premiere in dramatic competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and played as Opening Night of New Directors/New Films, a co-presentation of The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Amreeka made its debut internationally in Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival."


Year: 2012 - Country: Saudi Arabia - Language: Arabic - Subtitles: French - Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour - Genre: - Runtime: 93 min. - Actors: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Sep. 2015

"Wadjda is the story of a young Saudi girl whose burning desire for a bicycle leads her into bold defiance of and conflict with her society’s restrictive codes of gender and religion. Wadjda is a film of firsts. Not only is it the first film to be shot within Saudi Arabia it is also the first Saudi film directed by a woman. In its bold and affecting representation of the rigid social hierarchies in place in Saudi Arabia alongside its significant production history, Wadjda emerges as one of the most dynamic and important films of world cinema in the 21st Century."

Caramel / Sukkar banat (2007)

Year: 2007 - Country: Lebanon - Language: Arabic, French - Director: Nadine Labaki - Genre: Romantic comedy - Runtime: 95 minutes - Actors: Nadine Labaki, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad, Yasmine Elmasri, Adel Karam - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Oct. 2011 "Taking its title from the sweet substance that doubles as a depilatory, this honey-hued diversion makes few claims towards originality. Other female-oriented films have centered around salons, but the Lebanese locale of Nadine Labaki's debut distinguishes Caramel from the likes of Venus Beauty Institute (with Audrey Tautou) and Beauty Shop (with Queen Latifah). In Labaki's generous take on the subgenre, she plays Layale, a stunning stylist in love with a family man. Little does she realize bashful beat cop Youssef (Adel Karam), who issues Layale a stream of traffic citations, feels the same way about her. Parlor regulars include Muslim bride-to-be Nisrine (Yasmine Elmasri), ambiguous assistant Rima (Joanna Moukarzel), age-obsessed actress Jamale (Gisèle Aouad), and lonely seamstress Rose (Sihame Haddad). The inclusion of neighbors Youssef and Rose, who spends most of her time caring for a delusional sister, confirms Caramel's true subject as the city of Beirut. Aside from their reduced circumstances--Layale lives at home and shares a room with her brother--the central quartet echoes the tart-tongued professionals of Sex and the City (which makes Jamale the group’s Samantha). Before the bittersweet conclusion, each woman experiences a revelation of sorts. For Layale, it entails getting to know both her sympathetic rival and her secret admirer. Compared to most Western comedy-dramas, Caramel is as modest as the culture it depicts--Rima's attraction to women, for instance, is merely suggested--but Labaki's compassion for her characters redeems the sometimes-familiar situations. --Kathleen C. Fennessy"

Rachida (2002)

Year: 2002 - Country: Algeria - Language: Arabic - Director: Yamina Bachir - Genre: - Runtime: 100 minutes - Actors: Ibtissem Djouadi, Bahia Rachedi, Hamid Remas, Rachida Messaoui En, Zaki Boulenafed - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

The first full-length feature film by Yamina Bachir evokes memories of the worst atrocities of the terror in Algeria. RACHIDA is a moving story about a community - and especially the courageous women in it - under the threat of terror. It's a world where there is little escape from terrorism, where you can be kidnapped, raped, or shot in any moment. The young Rachida is teaching at a school in Algiers, when she is stopped in the street by a group of youths who demand she take a bomb and place it in the school. When Rachida refuses, she is cold-bloodedly shot and left for dead. Richida miraculously survives this attack, and to recover, she hides with her mother in a village far from the city. In spite of her endless fear, Rachida starts to feel whole again when she begins to teach and make new friends. Sadly, violence is unavoidable there too, and she and the other villagers must bravely continue to find small signs of hope among the endless despair.

Nazrah: A Muslim Woman's Perspective

Year: - Country: - Language: Arabic - Director: Farah Nousheen - Genre: - Runtime: 55 minutes - Actors: - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

NAZRAH: A Muslim Woman’s Perspective is an intimate look at a diverse group of Muslim women living in the US Pacific Northwest. By creating a forum where Muslim women can freely engage in an open dialogue about complex issues, filmmaker Farah Nousheen exposes a vast and fascinating array of thoughts and ideas. The women discuss their views on Islam, current political events and how they reflect on the image of Islam in the West. The women also talk about the difficulty of achieving equality within the Muslim community while also fighting stereotypical portrayals of Muslim women in the US media. NAZRAH (the Arabic word for "perspective") also includes director Farah Nousheen's own views on being a Muslim woman at a time when Islam is in the international spotlight. Winner: Best Film Producer - 2003 National Association of Muslim Women

Captain Abu Raed (2007)

Year: 2007 - Country: Jordan - Language: Arabic - Director: Amin Matalqa - Genre: - Runtime: 102 minutes - Actors: Nadim Sawalha, Rana Sultan, Hussein Al-Sous, Udey Al-Qiddissi, Ghandi Saber - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

Filmed in Aman, Jordan, Captain Abu Raed is a universal story of friendship, inspiration and heroism set in contemporary Jordan. The first dramatic independent feature film to come out of Jordan in the last 50 years. Abu Raed is an aging airport janitor who has always yearned of seeing the world but has never been able to afford to travel. One day a group of children in his poor neighborhood assume he is a pilot and beg him to share stories of the world outside of Amman, Jordan. Through imaginary tales a friendship forms and he finds the grim realities of the children's home life. He takes it upon himself to make a difference. Bonus Features: The Making of Captain Abu Raed - Composing the music - Audio Comentaries of Director & Producer and Director & Composer - US Theatrical trailer -

Iraq in Fragments

Year: 2007 - Country: - Language: Arabic, Kurdish - Director: James Longley - Genre: - Runtime: 94 minutes - Actors: - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

An opus in three parts, Iraq In Fragments offers a series of intimate, passionately-felt portraits: A fatherless 11-year-old is apprenticed to the domineering owner of a Baghdad garage; Sadr followers in two Shiite cities rally for regional elections while enforcing Islamic law at the point of a gun; a family of Kurdish farmers welcomes the U.S. presence, which has allowed them a measure of freedom previously denied. American director James Longley spent more than two years filming in Iraq to create this stunningly photographed, poetically rendered documentary of the war-torn country as seen through the eyes of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Winner of Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing awards in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival documentary competition, the film also earned the Grand Jury Prize at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and was nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar at the 2007 Academy Awards®.

Paradise Now (2005)

Year: 2005 - Country: Palestine - Language: Arabic, English - Director: Hany Abu-Assad - Genre: - Runtime: 90 minutes - Actors: Kais Nashif, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Hamza Abu-Aiaash, Lotuf Neusser - Rating: PG-13 - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

Two men, best friends from childhood, are summoned to fulfill their agreement to be suicide bombers for the Palestinian cause. Khaled and Said (Ali Suliman and Kais Nashef, both making striking film debuts) believe fervently in their cause, but having a bomb strapped to your waist would raise doubts in anyone--and once doubts have arisen, they respond in very different ways. Paradise Now is gripping enough while the men are preparing for their mission, but when the set-up goes awry and Khaled and Said are separated, it becomes almost excruciatingly tense. The movie passes no judgment on these men; impassioned arguments are made for both sides of the conflict. This is a work of remarkable compassion and insight, given the shape and sharpness of a skillful thriller. Its psychological portrait goes beyond the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and resonates with fanaticism and oppression throughout the world, be it related to a religious, nationalist, or tribal cause. A stunning film from writer/director Hany Abu-Assad. --Bret Fetzer (

The Yacoubian Building

Year: 2008 - Country: Egypt - Language: Arabic - Director: Marwan Hamed - Genre: - Runtime: 165 minutes - Actors: Nour El Sherif, Ahmed Rateb, Yousra, Ahmed Bedir, Adel Imam - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

An eye-catching construction, the Yacoubian Building in Cairo was long regarded as the last word in comfort and elegance. Nowadays the veneer has cracked and the shine has dulled to reveal the truth underneath the façade. Through interwoven stories of a number of the residents, the film paints a portrait of corruption, fundamentalism, prostitution, homosexuality, and drugs in central Cairo and creates a vibrant but socially critical picture of contemporary Egypt.

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Arabic-language documentaries

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Salem State University | Department of World Languages & Cultures | Language Resource Center

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Last updated: February 6, 2012