9/20: "Yol", 1982, directed by Serif Goren and Yilmaz Guney
The penal system in Turkey allows for certain prisoners to go home on leave, promising to return by a strict deadline. We follow five such prisoners as they take their long-awaited leave, having been granted seven days. Their anticipated return to prison dwells in each man's mind as they disperse, rushing to salvage remnants of their shattered lives. Yilmaz Guney, himself a political prisoner in Turkey, wrote the screenplay from his jail cell and collaborated with Serif Goren to direct the film. Guney eventually escaped to Switzerland, where he finished the post production of the film. Serif Goren and Yilmaz Guney won the Golden Palm from the Cannes Film Festival for their collaboration on Yol (tied with Missing, 1982). Yol was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film (1983).
9/20: Crisis in Kosova, Never Again? (Global Relief Foundation)
10/4: IRAN, A REVOLUTION BETRAYED:
1984, 60 min., 2", Color,
A remarkable work for its unique footage alone, this video expertly chronicles events leading to the Shah's overthrow and during the first several years of the Khomeini regime. Cameraman Ahsan Adib risked his life to secretly record footage of riots under the Shah, demonstrations by liberals against Khomeini, and evidence of the bloody purges, torture and repression under Khomeini. The film is valuable for its clear description of economic, political and social conditions leading to the Shah's overthrow, including the longtime U.S. role in Iran's internal affairs; the political mechanics of the overthrow; and the divisions within anti-Shah forces over Khomeini's rule. Illustrates the complexity of a revolution that has been oversimplified by the American press. Note: Contains brief but graphic scenes of execution and results of torture. [AGF] Directed by Ahsan Adib. Produced by BBC TV.
10/18: ALGERIA: WOMEN AT WAR
1992, 52 min, 2", Color, French & Arabic w/English subtitles,
This video deals with two distinct periods of national history for Algerian women: the empowering war for independence and everything after, which has meant a struggle to regain personal independence in the face of attempts to isolate and limit women's lives. Through a series of compelling interviews interspersed with wartime footage, Algerian women recount their experiences on the front lines of the eight-year struggle against France ending with independence in 1962. Educated, illiterate, urban, and rural women discuss their roles in commando units, providing refuge and aid, and taking over men's jobs in their absence. The remainder of the video moves through the 1980s and up to 1992, when the multi-party system that opened political participation for women has failed, the FIS is taking violent action against "disobedient" women, and President Boudiaf, who supported women's rights, has just been murdered. A penetrating look at the relationship between women's and the country's recent history. [AGF] Produced by Parminder Vir.
11/1: DREAMING A NATION: THE KURDS Nationalism: Blood and Belonging series:
1994, 50 min., 2", Color, H,U,G.
The researcher for this film is Sheri Laizer, author of Into Kurdistan: Frontiers Under Fire (Zed Books, 1991), which is part travelogue and part political commentary. The film has mainly been shot in the Iraqi and Turkish parts of Kurdistan and contains interviews with politicians as well as lay Kurds from parts of Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian Kurdistan. The film addresses how Kurds have managed to survive for more than four millennia, especially during nationalist clashes in recent decades (with Turkey and Iraq). Includes footage of the fledgling democracy in the de facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq and a few graphic scenes of the 1988 gas massacre in the Kurdish town of Halabja. There is rare footage of the training grounds for female fighters of the Kurdish Workers Party, which seeks a "socialist, feminist and secular Kurdistan." [AF] Produced by Films for the Humanities.
11/15: GULF WAR: OPERATION DESERT STORM, THE COMPLETE STORY:
199, 120 min., 2", Color, H,U.
This video serves as a record of the episode in the Persian Gulf. It examines the context in which the conflict occurred, the development of "Desert Shield", and the escalation towards full scale military war. With the lines of battle drawn, the two protagonists emerged as Norman Schwarzkopf and Saddam Hussein. A profile of each is included in the program, helping to bring into focus the pressures and dilemmas each faced. Produced by Independent Television News.
11/29: QUEST FOR CHANGE: CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE EAST:
1994, 29 min., 2", Color, U,G.
Based on the research of the three-year Civil Society in the Middle East project at NYU, scholars from Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Turkey challenge the view that the Middle East is immune to the global trend of democratization and address specific prospects for political reform. Includes discussion of the viability of civil society as well as the goals of Islamists. [CNES] Produced by August Richard Norton and Steven R. Talley.