At first glance, Matthew Vandyke —a shy Baltimore native with a sheltered upbringing and a tormenting Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder diagnosis— is the last person you’d imagine on the front lines of the 2011 Libyan revolution. But after finishing grad school and escaping the U.S. for 'a crash course in manhood,' a winding path leads him just there. Motorcycling across North Africa and the Middle East and spending time as an embedded journalist in Iraq, Matthew lands in Libya, forming an unexpected kinship with a group of young men who transform his life. Matthew joins his friends in the rebel army against Gaddafi, taking up arms (and a camera). Along the way, he is captured and held in solitary confinement for six terrifying months.
A wholly innovative, original, and vital history lesson, with pioneering animation, Waltz With Bashir delivers its message about the Middle East in a mesmerizing fashion. Director Ari Folman's animated quasi-documentary follows the filmmaker's emotional attempt to decipher the horrors that unfolded one night in September of 1982, when Christian militia members massacred more than 3,000 Palestinian refugees in the heart of Beirut as Israeli soldiers surrounded the area". Folman was one of those soldiers, but nearly 20 years after the fact, his memories of that night remain particularly hazy. After hearing an old friend recall a vivid nightmare in which he is pursued by 26 ferocious dogs, Folman and his friend conclude that the dream must somehow relate to that fateful mission during the first Lebanon War. When Folman realizes that his recollections regarding that period in his life seem to have somehow been wiped clean, he travels the world to interview old friends and fellow soldiers from the war. Later, as Folman's memory begins to emerge in a series of surreal images, he begins to uncover a truth about himself that will haunt him for the rest of his days.
Set against the chaotic backdrop of recent events in the Middle East, Nadav Schirman's THE GREEN PRINCE retraces the details of a highly unprecedented partnership that developed between sworn enemies. In the style of a tense psychological thriller, this extraordinary documentary recounts the true story of the son of a Hamas leader who emerged as one of Israel's prized informants, and the Shin Bet agent who risked his career to protect him.
Jeremy Bowen presents a look back at the creation of the state of Israel, examining the the events leading up to the Israeli war of Independence in 1949, its impact on Arab/Israeli relations and the implications for the Middle East. It's a one hour crash course in some of the underlying causes of the current problems in the Middle East.
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