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This documentary dissects a slanderous aspect of cinematic history that has run virtually unchallenged form the earliest days of silent film to today's biggest Hollywood blockbusters. The film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs--from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding "terrorists"--along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images, their development at key points in US history, and why they matter so much today.
Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People is a documentary film directed by Sut Jhally and produced by Media Education Foundation in 2006. This film is an extension of the book of the same name by Jack Shaheen, which also analyzes how Hollywood corrupts or manipulates the image of Arabs. The documentary analyzes 1,000 films that have Arab and Muslim characters, produced between 1896 to 2000, out of which great majority, 936 titles, were negative in their portrayal, arguing that the slander of Arabs in American filmmaking has existed since the early days of the silent cinema and is present in the biggest Hollywood blockbusters today. Jack Shaheen analyzes a long series of "demeaning" images of Arabs through his presentation of various scenes from different American movies which he has studied. He argues that this image is characterized by showing Arabs either as bandits or as a savage, nomadic race, or shows Arab women as shallow belly dancers serving evil, naïve, and greedy Arab sheiks. Most important is the image of the rifle in the hands of Arab "terrorists". The film then attempts to explain the motivations behind these stereotypes about Arabs, and their development at key points in American history, as well as why it is so important today.The film showed for the first time in Washington on 8 June 2007 and then in Los Angeles in the 20 June 2007. The run time of the film is 50 minutes, with Arabic and English subtitles. Soon afterward, the film was shown successively in more than a dozen of international film festivals between 2006 and 2009 The film's estimated budget is $100,000.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Reel_Bad_Arabs", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.