Check out Terri Ginsberg’s latest post at Mondoweiss, “Valentino’s Ghost makes comeback after 4 years of suppression.”
In the years since the first U.S. bombing of Iraq more than two decades ago, Arab Americans have been producing films that confront the negative portrayal of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood films and U.S. culture in general.
Hollywood Harems, directed in 1999 by Tania Kamal-Eldin, focuses on the cinematic positioning of Arab and Muslim women as erotic, exotic, and dangerously alluring objects of the orientalist gaze. Her film was followed in 2006 by Jack Shaheen’s Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, which examines the preponderance of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stereotypes in the U.S. commercial mediascape. The more recent The Muslims Are Coming! (2013), directed by and starring Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, provides a comedic illustration of mainstream preconceptions and prejudicial attitudes towards Arabs and Muslims in the United States, while A Thousand and one Journeys: The Arab Americans, a 2015 release produced and directed by Abe Kasbo, stands to counter the contemporary proliferation of anti-Arab/-Muslim stereotyping and attitudes through interviews with prominent Arab Americans from a range of social positions and professions.
These films are as groundbreaking as they are rare, but not even the most renowned of them has received more than a modicum of the public exposure which this crucial subject matter demands and deserves.
Into the matrix steps Michael Singh’s Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs (2015), an epic documentary that resituates the whole question of anti-Arab/-Muslim stereotyping as a matter of the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel….