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Showing posts from June, 2023

Nezouh: A Poignant Syrian Film Capturing Humanity Amidst War

Nezouh : Unveiling Resilience amidst War's Grasp  Film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University Nezouh نزوح stands out as a Syrian war film like no other. Director Soudade Kaadan سؤدد كعدان, known for her remarkable work in The Day I Lost My Shadow (2018), once again proves her talent with this empathetic portrayal of life under siege. The film primarily revolves around the everyday conflicts within a family, beautifully capturing moments that oscillate between comedic and emotionally charged melodrama as Zeina and her mother Hala express a common desire to escape their war-torn town, as most of their neighbors have already done. Scene from Nezouh Nezouh adeptly explores the toll of war on interpersonal relationships, skillfully juxtaposing mundane conflicts with the extraordinary backdrop of conflict. Through its delicate storytelling and engrossing narrative, the film delves into the resilience, desperation, and hope that coexist amidst adversity. Nezouh Trailer (YouTu

Unveiling "Q": A Journey of Faith and Family by Lebanese Director Jude Chehab

"Q" - Unveiling the Layers of Faith, Family, and Identity Film Review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University ©  Jude Chehab, 2023 Q is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking film directed by Jude Chehab that takes viewers on a captivating journey into the depths of faith, family, and personal discovery. Set in Lebanon, this compelling narrative centers around Jude's exploration of her mother Hiba's unwavering devotion to an all-female religious order known as "Q." The film beautifully captures the essence of a close-knit American family, now reunited in Lebanon. Jude seizes the opportunity to delve into her mother's spiritual world, aiming to unravel the enigmatic hold that "Q" has on Hiba's heart and mind. With curiosity and determination, Jude seeks a profound understanding of her mother's deep-seated commitment. Within the order, Hiba leads a life filled with teaching the Quran to her students and engaging in poetry readings alongside

Head Above Water: A Memoir of Shahd Alshammari’s Life, Triumph and Resistance

Head Above Water by Shahd Alshammari A Book Review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University In Head Above Water , Shahd Alshammari shares her deeply personal and thought-provoking journey of triumph and resilience, offering readers an intimate glimpse into her life as a woman marginalized by society and fueled by her passion for literature. This philosophical memoir delves into themes of disability, displacement, and the quest for belonging, encompassing not only physical challenges but also cultural, gender, and racial dynamics. Throughout the book, Alshammari imparts profound wisdom that resonates on a philosophical level. What sets this memoir apart is the remarkable fact that it is based on the author's diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the tender age of eighteen when her neurologist grimly informs her that she would not live past thirty. However, defying all odds and expectations, she not only surpasses that milestone but also becomes a professor of literature. Her journey ta

Tamer Nafar Releases New Single "Ameen" with Yacoub Alatrash

Indie musician and DAM band member Tamer Nafar has just released a new track called "Ameen آمين" along with music composer/producer Yacoub Alatrash. The single, released with a colorful lyric video on YouTube, is as catchy as it is innovative. Watch the music video below or at  this link . Here are the lyrics (in Arabic) to go along with the above video clip: عقبال ما اضلني عارف احوالك والدمعة ما تذوب ابتسامتك عقبال ما تضلي في بالي شغالة وعمرك ما تقدمي استقالة ما نحكم على بعض على شوية غلط شو معنى الحب بلا زعل بلا نكد نتحدى الروتين ع مدار السنين نكبر ونصير عدد عقبال ما نبقى كيف ما احنا دايماً هيك حلوين آمين وآمين وآمين ايامنا تصير سنين آمين وآمين وآمين يلا عليهم آمين ونضل نبتسم متل الصور وتنوري ليلي كالقمر نزرع شجر يثمر دولار ونضل نقطف طول العمر ونضل نبتسم متل الصور وتنوري ليلي كالقمر نزرع شجر يثمر دولار ونضل نقطف طول العمر ما بحكي على ليلة بحكي على عيلة ما بحكي على ليلة بحكي على عيلة ام كلتوم طول عمرها تخاف م الحب ، ومن سيرة الحب انا ما اخاف الحب ولا اخاف

Goodbye Julia: Landmark Sudanese Film Explores Redemption and Division

Goodbye Julia - A Sudanese Tale of Redemption Film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University Goodbye Julia , directed by Mohamed Kordofani, marks a significant milestone as the first Sudanese film to be showcased as an official selection at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival 2023. This captivating cinematic achievement weaves a thought-provoking narrative against the backdrop of Sudan's turbulent years leading up to the secession of South Sudan in 2011. Drawing from his own memories, Kordofani opens the film with a poignant scene on his balcony, setting the stage for the emotionally charged story that follows. At the heart of the film is Mona (played by Eiman Yousif), an upper-class Arab Muslim woman grappling with guilt over causing the death of a South Sudanese Christian man. Seeking redemption, Mona hires Julia (Siran Riak), the oblivious wife of the deceased, as her maid. Goodbye Julia delves into the complex ethnic, tribal, and religious divisions that have fractured S

New El Morabba3 Song 'Biban' Explores Fragmented Identities

Biban (Doors) is the latest track by El Morabba3  El Morabba3's Mohammad Abdallah (right) with Idreesi (left) Renowned Jordanian/Palestinian indie band El Morabba3 has once again captivated long-time fans and new enthusiasts with a new single titled "Biban" (Doors).  Released in May 2023, the song follows the band's successful return in February, after a seven-year hiatus, with the track "El Wuhoosh" (Monsters) (reviewed  here ). The words of the latest song (provided below) were collaboratively written by Mohammad Abdallah and the talented young Jordanian artist Idreesi, while Basel Naouri was responsible for the sound design and production. "Biban" draws inspiration from Bedouin language and the melodic patterns of traditional Khaliji music, capturing the elusive nature of personal growth, which proves challenging to capture and define. Mohammad Abdallah and Idreesi © oomerak Enhancing Abdallah's poetic vocals influenced by Bedouin culture,

Challenging Patriarchal Norms: A Film Review of 'Inshallah A Boy'

Empowering Resilience: Inshallah A Boy A film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University In the first-ever Jordanian film to be showcased at Cannes,  Inshallah A Boy إن شاء الله ولد director Amjad Al Rasheed explores the struggles of a widow as she confronts oppressive patriarchal laws. According to certain Jordanian laws, if a woman does not have a son, her husband's family is entitled to a portion of the inheritance. This premise sets the stage for Nawal (played by Mouna Hawa), who, recently widowed, finds herself entangled in a legal battle with her brother-in-law, Rifqi (portrayed by Haitham Omari). Her primary goal is to retain the only home she and her daughter have known. In her fight against the system, Nawal resorts to deceit by fabricating a pregnancy, a ploy aimed at postponing the court proceedings for nine months in the hopes of potentially bearing a male heir. Inspired by the real-life experiences of a close relative of the director, Inshallah A Boy  delivers a p

Daughters of Abdul Rahman: Film Screening at Stanford ft Discussion with Director (June 28, 2023)

  Click here for details and to RSVP You are formally invited to a free film screening of the award winning Jordanian film Daughters of Abdul Rahman at Stanford on June 28 at 5pm--followed by an in-person discussion with the Director Zaid Abu Hamdan, moderated by Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti. With thanks to the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and Stanford Global Studies Division Please RSVP through the "Registration Link" on this site: Film trailer for Daughters of Abdul Rahman.  RSVP here .

"Hanging Gardens" Film Explores Themes of War and Madness

Fragile Realities: Children, War, and Madness in Hanging Gardens A film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti (Stanford University) Hanging Gardens [Arabic title Janain mualaqa جنائن معلقة] is a is a 2022 comedy-drama film co-written and directed by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji. It is an Iraqi-Palestinian-Saudi Arabian-Egyptian-British co-production that has received much attention at Cannes 2023 after winning the Best Film Award at the Red Sea Film Festival (a film festival launched in 2019 and held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). This film takes viewers on a gripping journey as a young Iraqi rubbish picker stumbles upon an unexpected "treasure" amidst the Baghdad dumps—an American sex doll. What initially seems like a whimsical discovery quickly propels him into a perilous red zone, where friendships are shattered, allegiances become uncertain, and the line between love, war, and madness blurs. In this explosive mix of emotions, director Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji crafts a compelling narrative tha

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