30 March 2009 | dhoward-12
A powerful documentary
This 50-minute documentary analyzes the way Arabs have been shown in Hollywod films, from the black-and-white classics to recent films like Syriana. The film, narrated by Jack Shaheen, consists of virtually non-stop clips from American films, organized by topic, including "Myths of Arabland," "the Arab Threat," "Terror, Inc.," "The Only Good Arab," "Islamophobia," and "Getting Real." The thesis of the film is that Hollywood has perpetuated stereotypes of Arabs as violent, greedy, and oversexed, stereotypes that would not be tolerated of other groups such as Blacks and Jews. Shaheen argues that the films are an aspect of an American view of Arabs that is broadly shared by common people and by the politically powerful, and he includes a number of films that have been made with the cooperation of the Department of Defense. The impact of his footage is quite powerful. In the last segment Shaheen talks about several recent films that begin to break down the stereotypes. He ends with an expression of hope in young, creative filmmakers who are moving beyond the ignorant and bigoted depictions from Hollywood's past.