All posts filed under “Film

White Sun of the Desert

From Tashkent to Tbilisi

Brigands, burqas, and bushy eyebrows: Central Asia and the Caucasus in Soviet cinema

My ability to speak Russian like a native constantly brings about assumptions about my ethnic heritage, from jokes about vodka and imitations of Russian accents to comments about how I should be used to cold weather, whenever I so much as shiver. I, along with many Russian-speaking Central Asians and Caucasians (i.e. from the Caucasus) from countries belonging to the former Soviet Union, are caught in an identity limbo. How, for example, do I explain why it is that I’m more fluent in Russian than my native Juhuri, a Jewish variety of the Iranian Tati language closely related to Persian? Today, I force myself to wrap my tongue around the few Tati phrases I know, in a desperate effort to preserve what is left of my identity – an identity that is falling like sand through the spaces between my fingers. In the past two generations, my family’s heritage was subdued under Russian dominance; and now, as immigrants, we’ve had to adopt new American identities.

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Danielle Arbid

Beirut Blues

Edwin Nasr examines the career of the controversial Lebanese filmmaker Danielle Arbid, and catches up with her in Paris to talk about her many trials and triumphs

Abbas Kiarostami

Where the Boys Go

Joobin Bekhrad looks back on the oeuvre of the late Abbas Kiarostami – particularly his earlier films featuring child protagonists – and a recent encounter with the auteur in Toronto

Tareq Sayed Rajab de Montfort

Heaven’s Scent

Al Jazeera’s Ali Al-Woozain embarks on a journey around the world to discover the origins of oud and the beloved scent of his childhood days in Qatar


Lights, Camera, Revolution

A glance at the history and evolution of Iranian cinema, from Haji Agha and Film Farsi to New Wave modernism, postwar censorship, and widespread international acclaim

Youssef Nabil

I Saved My Belly Dancer

Youssef Nabil talks to Natasha Morris about his childhood, his fascination with the ‘Golden Age’ of Egyptian cinema, and his new series of work revolving around the figure of the belly dancer