Film Review: The Controversy around American Sniper

Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper has created an intense debate, one that I honestly feel is undeserved. On one side, you have the film critics and Hollywood (and American moviegoers) who rave about the movie, which is up for several Oscars. On the other side, you have the Muslim community and your typical liberals (I am … More Film Review: The Controversy around American Sniper

Film Review: OSS 117 Le Caire, nid d’espions

A comedy set in the Middle East and made by a Western director (a French one, Michel Hazanavicius, no less!) has the automatic potential to be incredibly politically incorrect. Alas, all comedies are by nature politically incorrect and as a rule I believe that, to an extent, comedy is allowed to lampoon (otherwise this world … More Film Review: OSS 117 Le Caire, nid d’espions

‘Happy’ Videos Take over the Middle East

Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy,’ which I love, is everywhere. The phenomenon of groups of people (often by city) filming themselves dancing to the song has spread around the world, and the world’s Muslims and Middle Easterners are not to be left out. Of course, much like that now-infamous ‘Mipsterz in America’ video that featured trendy … More ‘Happy’ Videos Take over the Middle East

The Square and January 25th’s 3rd Anniversary

Today is the third anniversary of the January 25th Uprising, the day that shall “live in infamy” in Egyptian and world collective memory. The past three years have been rough for Egypt, but the situation has devolved into a confusing shift of battle lines and allegiances: I can’t help but feel that Egypt is going … More The Square and January 25th’s 3rd Anniversary

Film Review: Wadjda

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of heading down to the Angelika Film Center (my first time!) to see the film Wadjda, director Haifaa Mansour’s debut full-length feature film and the first feature film shot on location in Saudi Arabia. With superb acting and brilliantly shot scenes depicting Riyadh, as well as an inspirational plot … More Film Review: Wadjda

I’m Back! And More Inspired by the Middle East than Ever!

I’d first like to sincerely apologize for neglecting this blog for the past couple of months. Unfortunately I had to prioritize between my personal blog and research versus my research for school. My first semester as a graduate student in international affairs was challenging not only in terms of the amount of reading we had … More I’m Back! And More Inspired by the Middle East than Ever!

Lemon Tree: Quiet Sadness and Rage in an Israeli-Palestine Film

Like the Lebanese  film Caramel, Lemon Tree makes an illusion to the idea that life is, well, like food: in this case, like a lemon, life is both sweet and sour. Lemon Tree is a remarkable movie in that, as the lawyer Ziad says (and in contrast to The Syrian Bride) “life does not always have a Hollywood ending.” Lemon … More Lemon Tree: Quiet Sadness and Rage in an Israeli-Palestine Film

Argo Fuck Yourself: Proof that nonviolent Means can be a Success

Or we can just send them training wheels and meet them at the border with Gatorade. -Tony Mendez Ben Affleck’s film Argo (nominated for the Oscar’s Best Picture award) may be just a movie, but I call it a great propaganda piece for international relations, and, more specifically, a way to show that sometimes you … More Argo Fuck Yourself: Proof that nonviolent Means can be a Success