Middle East takes center stage during HFCC film festival

DEARBORN — To help the public understand the issues confronting the Middle East, Henry Ford Community College’s film festival Middle Eastern Visions II Nov. 1 to 9 offers in-depth examination of the varied social and political issues through the genre of film.

The visions of the Middle East conveyed in these films resonate with the rich heritage of the Arab world in poetry, music, dance and philosophy. The social and political problems distinctive of the region emerge within the documentary and narrative contexts — the conflict between Islamic and secular proponents; the evolving role of women; the strangle-hold of oppressive governments, the relentless leverage of the U.S., Europe and Israel.

The question of Palestine constitutes a central focus that both begins and concludes this week-long cinema program. The wrenching drama of a friendship nurtured by agony experienced by a Palestinian man who has lost his brother and an Israeli woman who has lost her son in violent border conflicts opens the series in the film “Encounter Point.”

Equally provocative, American Radical, a biographical profile of Norman Finkelstein (the controversial scholar who has been inspired by the suffering of his family in the Holocaust to illuminate and protest the oppression of the Palestinians) nearly concludes the festival. The final act occurs when, as if walking off the screen and onto the stage, Finkelstein himself appears to address the students, faculty and community members at HFCC on the dangerous and deplorable situation in Gaza.

Sponsored by the HFCC Arab Cultural Studies Program, this year’s festival marks the second year the college has offered a film series geared toward helping audiences better understand the cultural, social and political dynamics of the Middle East.

For more information about this event, contact Michael Daher at (313) 845-6457 or via e-mail at mdaher@hfcc.edu.