These five groundbreaking films present a fresh, insightful picture of contemporary life across the Arab world, including life in countries we know little about. They tell intimate stories of individuals confronting the hardships and conflicts related to the most basic milestones. Each film thematically centers on one of the universal phases of life - BIRTH, YOUTH, LOVE & MARRIAGE, WORK, and HOME.
The stories are taken from Arab countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Palestine, Syria and Iraq. And they are notable for the large representation of women filmmakers and women's stories.
Titles in the series:
- Birth - The story of a Palestinian woman caught up in a cycle of pregnancies because of social pressure to produce a male child, and two other stories of babies, one in need, the other absent, in Syria and Iraq.
- Home, or Maids in My Family - A Moroccan woman confronts her liberal bourgeois family and their servants about the relationship between them.
- Love and Marriage - The stories of people confronting obstacles to their personal relationships and happiness in Algeria and Lebanon.
- Work - Explores the hopes and aspirations of Arab men and women as embodied in the dreams and realities of flying.
- Youth - Four young women striving for independence and empowerment in Algeria, Egypt, and Lebanon.
"Highly Recommended! [ARAB DIARIES] presents a rare critical insight into contemporary life in the Arab world. The quality of sound and cinematography of this series is superb. The films contain a rich source of information on a culture that is often guarded from the west. It dares to bring up strong issues without imposing judgment on the values discussed. The series is a good example of how much more we have to learn about the Middle East – the films managed to raise an eyebrow once or twice, even though I spent almost 20 years in that region. Highly recommended to all kinds of libraries, especially academic libraries with undergraduate studies related to culture, anthropology, or Middle Eastern studies, as well as libraries with internship programs in the Middle East."—Educational Media Reviews Online