Video and Book Reviews

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Videos

Harem [1985] (directed by Arthur Joffé)

Starring Natasha Kinski wearing lots of veils and Ben Kingsley playing a Moroccan sheikh. This film is not the cheesy soft-porn that you might expect, but instead quite a deep and moving study into the powers of attraction. Great mask-veil and bridal preparation scene.

Watch a 10 minutes excerpt on YouTube with the scene described above and shown at right.

Reviewed by Dave

Dave's favourite

 

Harem - The Loss Of Innocence [1986] (directed by William Hale)

Starring Sarah Miles wearing lots of veils and somebody playing the Ottoman sultan.

Reviewed by Dave

Michelle's favourite

Kandahar [2001] (directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf)

A veritable burqa-feast with a variety of our favourite garments in all colours under the sun. The story on the other hand is rather slow-moving and do not expect any sumptuous luxury. This is poverty, not decadence being portrayed. Cannot comment too much on the acting either, under those burqas it's impossible to tell.

Watch on YouTube.

Reviewed by Dave

Bo_Emp's favourite

 

The English Harem [2005] (directed by Robin Shepperd)

An ITV mini-series starring Martine McCutcheon who only wore one veil. Watch this for the story instead, which deals with culture clash and the dynamics of Muslim marriage in a sympathetic manner.

The book is better. (Scroll down to Books for outside link to book)

Reviewed by Dave

 

Arabian Nights [2000] (directed by Steve Barron)

This Hallmark Channel production may not stay as closely to the original tales as some of us purists might like, but it's good fun and there are several veils floating about, inc. some Turkish karsaffs.

Watch on YouTube.

Reviewed by Dave

The Mummy [1999] (directed by Stephen Sommers)

A well-known, big box office hit starring Rachel Weisz whom in one scene dons a light yet extrememly alluring gauze half-niqaab. Worth a watch for that alone.

Reviewed by Dave

 

Harem Suare [1999] (directed by Ferzan Ozpetek)

Set in the declining years of the Ottoman Empire, this film tells the story of life inside the Sultan's decadent harem in the Dolmabahce Palace. Sultan, harem, decadence, need I say more?

Reviewed by Dave

Hidalgo [2004] (directed by Joe Johnston)

Viggo Mortensen plays a half-white, half-Native American who enters a famous Arabian horse race with an unthinkable beast, an animal that is not purebred. Whilst there, he falls in love with the veiled daughter of a Sheikh, whilst a corsetted Victorian Englishwoman tries to seduce him. Good for both veil and corset devotees alike.

Watch on YouTube (in French).

Reviewed by Dave

A New Day in Old Sana'a [2006] (directed by Bader Ben Hirsi)

Veiled women in most outdoor scenes, and veiling and unveiling indoors. The main story isn't much; the side story is of a photographer intrigued by catching the veiled beauties. The setting of the old city of Sana'a can't be much more exotic.

Watch on YouTube.

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

Na Putu (On The Path) [2010] (directed by Jasmila Zbanic)

A look at a modern Bosnian/Herzegovinan relationship from the woman's point of view. Her boyfriend looses his job because of drinking and meets an old friend who has become Salafist strict Muslim. He offers him a job in their Summer camp, putting their relationship to a hard test. Black veiled women in many of the scenes with the Salafists, and especially when the main character goes to visit the camp.

Watch on YouTube (original version without subtitles).

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

The Taqwacores [2010] (directed by Eyad Zahra)

It's hard to believe that there is or was a group of Muslim punks sharing a house on the West Coast of USA. But a female tenant always wears burqa making the scenes with her interesting. And you can always turn down the volume, especially during the many night party scenes, if punk music isn't you.

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

Osama [2003] (directed by Siddiq Barmak)

During the Taleban rule of Afghanistan around 2000 they forbid women to work, and in a small family without men a mother is forced to dress her 12-year old daughter as a boy she names Osama to be able to go out. Set in Kabul and not in the country this movie probably has more women in burqas than in "Kandahar". Warning: violent and discusting scenes showing how the Taleban enforced their law.

Watch on YouTube (original version with Arabic subtitles).

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

Panj é asr (At Five in the Afternoon) [2003] (directed by Samira Makhmalbaf)

Despite set after the Talebans have been overturned many Afghan women are still not allowed to take an education. A young woman secretly attends a girls school in the afternoon while her father is at the mosque. The story and photography is not as good as "Kandahar", but because set after the Taleban the mood is much more optimistic than "Kandahar" or "Osama"; and there are plenty of burqas.

Watch on YouTube (original version with Arabic subtitles).

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

Khaddama (Housemaid) [2011] (directed by Kamal)

The basic storyline follows the story of a 'gaddama' meaning maid servant from India who is forced to find work as a 'gaddama' in Saudi Arabia. There is extensive veiling throughout the movie including lots of scenes of the lead actress herself, Kavya Madhavan, in a niqab and abaya. She is in hijab throughout most of the movie and covers her face with the niqab a lot as well.

Watch on YouTube.

Reviewed by Mr. A_B

Wadjda [2012] (directed by Haifaa Al Mansour)

Wadjda is an eleven year old Saudi girl who wants to own a bike. The movie portrays a lower class Saudi family and a public girls school. Being the first movie ever filmed on location in Saudi Arabia it has many scenes with women in black and shows both niqabs and bushiyas.

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

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Books

The English Harem [2008] by Anthony McCarten

The story deals with culture clash and the dynamics of Muslim marriage (polygami) in a sympathetic manner.

Also made into a television series. (See Videos above)

Reviewed by Dave

Finding Nouf [2008] (previously released as The Night of the Mi'raj) by Zoe Ferraris

A murder mystery set in Saudi Arabia evolving around a female coroner. Written by a woman the women are at the front, always veiled in public, but also along with the men trying to bend the rules of segregation to be able to work with and enjoy the opposite sex.

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

City of Veils [2010] by Zoe Ferraris

Same as above (Finding Nouf) with the same main characters to solve the crimes, and a development in their lives from book to book, but just having read the summery of the first is enough to start with this, the second.

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

Kingdom of Strangers [2012] by Zoe Ferraris

The same main characters as in the previous books by Zoe Ferraris to solve crimes. With many interesting desriptions of the veiling and life of the many supporting female characters.

Reviewed by Bo_Emp

'2041' [2014] by '2041'

‘2041’ is an eponymous collection of self-portraits in which the image and identity of the artist remain concealed. Using the camera to articulate a passion he has secretly indulged for decades, he appears dozens of times in a variety of garments, but is always anonymous.

From publisher's presentation

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