Sunday, March 20, 2011 Hollywood Ignores East-West Exchange

Richard Jenkins, foreground, is a professor who befriends Hazz Sleiman, a Syrian immigrant musician, in "The Visitor," directed by Thomas McCarthy.
"But why isn’t the United States also part of that same emerging global cinematic conversation? Why isn’t Hollywood also making movies that grapple with the issues that are provoking filmmakers elsewhere? And when Arab and Muslim characters do appear on screen, why are they presented in such simplistic and stereotyped ways?" 
Interesting article in the Times today about the shortage of sympathetic Eastern perspectives in American films. They highlight a few American movies that do attempt to address Islam, the Middle East conflict, and its victims on all sides in a thoughtful way, including:
The Hurt Locker
The Visitor
Three Kigns

Foreign films mentioned include:
In a Better World (Best Foreign Film Oscar winner, in theaters in April)
The Band's Visit
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
A Prophet

Rent one today and join the conversation!

In related news: "Jonathan Demme (director of Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphis) has bought the rights Dave Egger's book “Zeitoun,” about a Syrian immigrant in New Orleans who was helping neighbors after Hurricane Katrina when he was arrested, and is now developing a script for an animated film version of that story." Should be great!

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