Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review of 'Sin Visa' Film


Sin Visa is an independent, poignant film that broaches the topic of immigration in a powerful, thoughtful and unique way.  At a time when immigrants seem to be systematically portrayed en masse by so many media outlets, this film succeeds in humanizing the immigrant experience by reminding us all of the individuality and uniqueness of every immigrant that has ever crossed the border.

Sensitively written, in Spanish, by Bassam Kassab, this 81-minute drama takes us upon the often horrifying journey of Marco, a 17-year old Mexican who crosses the border in search of work, security, and a better life.  What he finds instead is that the road ahead is filled with treachery, exploitation, and a total lack of humanity.

This is not to say that this film does not offer hope, for the script does introduce us to characters that actually help Marco in overcoming various obstacles while adjusting to his new life.  These multi-ethnic characters serve to underline the need for various immigrant communities to support each other and, as such, offer a fresh and realistic alternative to traditional immigrant narratives.

This film was brilliantly directed by Ana Simoes, nicely edited by Egyptian Director Maher Sabry, and features a moving performance by Edgar-Arturo Camacho-Gonzales in the part of Marco.  That strong lead serves to keep the film on track and enables us to truly understand the real and constant danger that defines the lives of so many immigrants to the US.  The rest of the cast is also quite impressive and, at times,  so believable that one starts feeling that one is watching a real-life documentary instead of a fictional drama.

The film's soundtrack is also quite worthy of praise and includes new songs, in Arabic and Spanish, by Lebanese singing sensation Mike Massy.  Massy's voice is perfectly suited for the kind of  ballads, lamentations and odes that set the somber mood of the film.  One of the songs 'Ya Ummi' (written in Arabic by Bassam Kassab and recorded by Mike Massy) is so heart wrenching that several members of the audience could be heard literally sobbing their hearts out.

This film is highly recommended for anyone who is seeking a different way of broaching the topic of immigration all over the world today.  It contains some scenes that can be disturbing for some but none of these are gratuitous or sensational in nature.  They are, however, quite haunting as one feels the after-effects of this film long after having watched it.

--Reviewed by Ramzi Salti, Ph.D. (Stanford University)

For more info, see http://www.zarcofilms.com/sin-visa.html
For my interview with Bassam Kassab: https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology99#t=15:33

SIN VISA TRAILER: https://youtu.be/3ckqLQlG7Mw


'Ya Immi' by Mike Massy (Sin Visa Soundtrack): https://youtu.be/Z_iNVTo9y9o


PICTURES FROM SIN VISA PREMIERE AT THE ROXIE (SAN FRANCISCO):


Sin Visa Cast at the Roxie

Actor Edgar-Arturo Camacho-Gonzales (left) with singer Mike Massy

Egyptian Director/Editor  Maher Sabry with Sin Visa Director Ana Simoes

Bassam Kassab and Mike Massy at Sin Visa After-Party

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pierre Dulaine at Stanford on May 29, 2015

Legendary ballroom dancing champion Pierre Dulaine, who stars in the critically acclaimed documentary Dancing in Jaffa documentary (where he brought Arab and Jewish children together through his dancing method) will be at Stanford on May 29, 2015 for two events:  A talk at noon in 30-102 and a 7 pm screening of his film + Q&A with Mr. Dulaine himself in 260-113. See details below.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Taube Center for Jewish Studies, The Arab Film Festival, Stanford Language Center, Division of Literatures Cultures and Languages, Department of Comparative Literature, The Department of Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS), ITALIC, Arab Students Association at Stanford, Hillel, Jewish Student Association and a generous artsCatalyst grant by the Stanford Arts Institute.



Lunch event with Pierre Dulaine at the Language Center Building 30-102 at 1-2 pm:
Talk by ballroom dancing legend Pierre Dulaine about his 'Dancing Classrooms' method which he applied in his award winning documentary 'Dancing in Jaffa' to bring Arab and Jewish children together through dance. Mr. Dulaine will speak about the film, his journey into the world of dance and his experience as a Judge on the Arabic version of the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance.' Talk features audio-visual presentation and free lunch.
See http://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/arabreform/events/talk-ballroom-dancing-legend-pierre-dulaine


7 pm screening + Q&A in Building 260-113:
Screening of the award winning documentary 'Dancing in Jaffa' starring Pierre Dulaine who will be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A session following the film. Free and open to the public. Dinner provided. Preceded by short performance by the Stanford Middle East Ensemble.

Pierre Dulaine Bio:

Pierre Dulaine was born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1944 to an Irish father and a Palestinian mother--both of whom fled the area in 1948. After eight months of moving several times, Dulaine's family settled in Amman, Jordan. In 1956, the Suez Crisis forced Dulaine's parents to flee the country, eventually resettling in Birmingham, England. In 1994 Dulaine founded the Dancing Classrooms program in New York City's public schools in which he encouraged children from various backgrounds to dance together. He later traveled to the city of his birth, Jaffa, to visit his childhood home and to make a film,Dancing in Jaffa, where he brought Israeli Arabs and Jews together through dance and music. His life was also fictionalized in the film Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas. More recently, Pierre Duaine has gained much acclaim in the Arab world for his role as Judge on the Arabic version of the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance' where he encouraged young Arab men and women to pursue dance as way of dealing with difficult circumstances and certain outdated social taboos.

Trailer: Dancing in Jaffa at https://youtu.be/Y_ctPdWh_PA

TedTalk by Pierre Dulaine at https://youtu.be/MqnbE5WRPEU?t=6m19s

Pierre Dulaine encourages Contestant/Dancer Ahmad Joudeh during 'So You Think You Can Dance' TV Show (Arabia) at https://youtu.be/5acMbA0Mqx0


STANFORD EVENTS:

Friday, April 3, 2015

3/31 Arabology Podcast Available

https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology99

Arabology 9.9 aired on March 31, 2015 and included and interview with Bassam Kassab (who spoke about his film Sin Visa) as well as with 2 Arab women photographers whose work is currently exhibited at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford: Rania Matar and Tanya Habjouka.

The show also premiered a new song by Mike Massy titled 'Ya Immi' as well as Mashrou' Leila's new track called '3 Minutes.'  Other featured singers included Oum (Morocco), Macadi Nahhas (Jordan), Haifa Kamal (Jordan), Maya Waked (Lebanon/Canada), +Aziz (Kuwait), Rim Banna (Palestine), Zein Aljundi (Syria) and Aswat: the Bay Area Arabic Music Ensemble.

Listen to the podcast below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology99



Friday, March 27, 2015

Arabology Interviews Arab Idol Winners

With Hazem Sharif (left) and Haitham Khalaily (right)

A special episode of Arabology 9.8 aired on March 26, 2015 and included an interview with Arab Idol 2014 winners Hazem Sharif (Syria) and Haitham Khalaily (Palestine). Both singers came to Stanford for the interview in which they spoke about their upcoming concert at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City and which takes place on Friday March 27 at 8pm (tickets at  www.foxrwc.com).  They also sang live on the show.

Listen to the segment below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology98






Arabology Season 9 Podcasts

Arabology Season 8 Podcasts

Arabology Season 7 Podcasts

Arabology Season 6 Podcasts

Arabology Season 5 Podcasts

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