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  (Unavailable) Lebanon: Bits and Pieces
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film_image LEBANON: BITS AND PIECES is an exquisitely beautiful and profoundly moving exploration of the myths and realities of present-day Lebanon, as reflected through the voices of women. During Olga Nakkas’ childhood, Lebanon was known to the outside world as an exemplary model of peace in the heart of an Arab Middle East dominated by dictators. Following a seven year absence, Nakkas returned to Lebanon with a camera to record the dreams, disappointments and worries of women of her own generation and to meet a younger generation of women whose only memory is that of war. Through these voices, Nakkas’s own voyage of rediscovery is revealed — rediscovery of her country and of herself.

  Maria's Grotto
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film_image A gripping portrait of women, whose lives were dictated by a moral code, Maria's Grotto is a painful true film about the issue of honor killings in Palestine . Khoury explores the issue through the stories of four women: one is wrongly accused of dishonoring her family and then murdered; the second dies after being forced by her brothers to swallow poison; the third survives repeated stabbings inflicted by her brother; and the fourth is a Hip-hop singer who dares speak out about honor killings, and faces death threats. Through these stories, Khoury exposes the magnitude of honor killings in Palestine.

  Responsible Women
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film_image In Cairo, there is a significant number of Egyptian families living without "the supports of a man", who may be absent for a number of reasons. In these families women are shouldering the responsibilities and burdens, facing difficulties to proceed with their lives.

  Hidden Faces
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film_image Originally intended as a film about internationally renowned feminist writer Nawal El Saadawi, HIDDEN FACES develops into a fascinating portrayal of Egyptian women’s lives in Muslim society. In this collaborative documentary, Safaa Fathay, a young Egyptian woman living in Paris, returns home to interview the famed writer and activist, but becomes disillusioned with her. Illuminated by passages from El Saadawi’s work, the film follows Fathay’s journey to her family home and discovers similar complex frictions between modernity and tradition. Her mother’s decision to return to the veil after twenty years and her cousins’ clitoriectomies reveal a disturbing renewal of fundamentalism. This absorbing documentary broaches the contradictions of feminism in a Muslim environment; a startling, unforgettable picture of contemporary women in the Arab world.

  Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt
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film_image A special-interest documentary about Egypt's (and the Arab world's) legendary superstar, a singer-performer in a category all her own: Umm Kulthum, perhaps the greatest singer who ever lived. Omar Sharif narrates while we are shown bits of her life story, interviews, live performances, and the Egyptian public's reaction to this legend, coming from all levels of Egyptian society.

  My Country My Country
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film_image The director follows a Sunni Ara doctor as he prepares to run for the early 2005 elections in Iraq. Six months in Iraq, culminating in the national election on January 30, 2005. We watch logistic preparations for the election, with UN, US, Australian, and local personnel unsure if the election will be held as scheduled, bracing for violence and for world attention. We also cut back and forth to Dr. Riyadh, a Sunni physician who practices at the Adhamiya Free Clinic and prays at the Abu Hanifa Mosque. He's an Iraqi Islamic Party candidate for the Baghdad Provincial Council; he visits Abu Ghraib prison and speaks out. We meet his wife and daughters: the family is cheerful, ironic, and droll. Will his party participate in the elections? Will he vote? Is his family safe?

  Four Women of Egypt
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film_image Amina Rachid was raised in a non-religious, Westernized, aristocratic household before embracing Socialism and fighting for social justice. Another deeply committed activist, Shahenda Maklad, a Muslim, was a student demonstrator in Egypt’s national movement who lost her husband to a political assassination before pursuing political office herself. Her mentor, Wedad Mitry, a devout Christian, is a militant nationalist leader and author. Their friend, Safynaz Kazem, is a political journalist and strict Muslim. These four women are the subject of this impressive documentary exploration of opposing religious, social, and political views in modern-day Egypt. There is little they agree upon—being Christian, Muslim and atheist—and little they won’t speak out about—yet their friendship endures. Though possessed of widely divergent and often incompatible viewpoints, these women maintain a deep and committed friendship with each other, arguing openly but with extreme tolerance for their differences, and often dispelling tension with hearty laughter. Through their friendship, we learn of the reality behind the Western myth of Egypt. Essential viewing for all interested in the political history of Egypt and women’s lives in the Middle East.

  Lijang: Cultural Evolution
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film_image Cultural Evolution, a film about the city of Lijang, China, is a cultural documentary produced from the perspective of students and specifically for their peers. Two Rice students chose to travel to Lijang to film this documentary. While there, they also volunteered to teach English at the Lijang Teacher's Training college. Cultural Evolution shows various aspects of Chinese culture and focuses on the contrast between the old and the new.

  Enemies of Happiness
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film_image "In September 2005, Afghanistan held its first parliamentary elections in 35 years. Among the candidates for 249 assembly seats was Malalai Joya, a courageous, controversial 27-year-old woman who had ignited outrage among hard-liners when she spoke out against corrupt warlords at the Grand Council of tribal elders in 2003. "Enemies of Happiness" is a revelatory portrait of this extraordinary freedom fighter and the way she won the hearts of voters, as well as a snapshot of life and politics in war-torn Afghanistan."- Caroline Libresco, "Sundance Film Festival"

  A World of Differences: Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication
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film_image When we encounter people from other societies or cultures, we may fail to understand them for many reasons, including differences in language, values, gestures, emotional expression, norms, rituals, rules, expectations, family background, and life experiences. This extraordinary video shows that cross-cultural communication can be successful if we manage to understand the powerful differences that separate people who come from differing cultures. The video examines 14 key facets of cross-cultural miscommunication. In each case, the power and subtlety of cultural differences are explored and illustrated. As the video demonstrates, culture can be like a veil that prevents us from understanding those from other societies, and also prevents them from understanding us. While some aspects of "culture shock" are predictable, such as language differences, many powerful differences are less obvious, and perhaps therefore even more "culture shocking." Examples include dramatic differences in personal space, patterns of touching, etiquette and ritual, the expression of emotions, ideas about edible and delicious food, gestures, courtship patterns, and parent-child relationships. A World of Differences: Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication was produced by and features Prof. Dane Archer, of UC Santa Cruz. Like his other widely acclaimed videos, this one is both richly instructional and keenly enjoyable. This is essential viewing in a variety of courses. Viewers will be rewarded with a greatly enhanced awareness of the importance and nature of cultural differences.

This collection of international films and documentaries is used exclusively by students and faculty of the School World Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. The World Studies Media Center strictly adheres to the copyrights and fair use guidelines of all titles housed in this collection.

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