Soak film review in Horror Estremo

[NOTE: This is auto translated from the original review in Italian  from horrorestremo.altervista.org]

Here is SOAK, the first work of the volcanic Iraqi director and artist Usama Alshaibi known, best known for the extreme anthology SOLAR ANUS CINEMA (with the exaggerated CONVULSION EXPULSION) and PROFANE, film of 2012, to date his latest film work. An abstract, confused and logical work that mixes memories, desires, fears and alienation, centering on the theme of sexually transmitted diseases and violence against women in order to fulfill their somewhat distorted sexual and mental desires.

We follow the vicissitudes of a boy traveling in Southeast … Read the rest

Film review for Profane

“There’s a cinematic mastery lying at the very core of Profane…”

Great review for my underground film Profane. Read more at the The Independent Film Critic. 

“Kara portrays Muna masterfully by refusing to peel away the layers of her complex persona. Profane isn’t a film for the casual moviegoer, because it requires active listening and participation.”
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“The original music by Ehsan Ghoreishi is haunting and deeply felt, while Alshaibi’s camera work is at times stunning in its intimacy and its heartbreak. While it may seem absurd to mention in a film with so much nudity (and there’s a lot!), … Read the rest

Exploring Identity Through Film by Mariam Elba

American Arab film review from The Islamic Monthly. From the article:

A lot of what Alshaibi said in the film resonated with me as an Arab-American. He spoke about watching movies as a child that grossly misrepresented Arabs as mindless and sex-starved, and seeing violent Arabs come at Michael J. Fox’s character in the film Back to the Future. Many times, I was fed the same narratives as a student. In my Advanced Placement World History class, we were shown the film Not Without My Daughter, which was full of bigoted depictions of Muslims and Iranians in … Read the rest

American Arab review in Al-Jadid Magazine

In Usama Alshaibi’s autobiographical documentary, the director recalls watching the popular comedy/adventure “Back to The Future” (1985) in a movie theater in Iowa City. He recounts how the appearance, out of nowhere, of a gang of “Libyans” determined to kill Doc, the movie’s loveable mentor, forced him to confront his own divided and complicated identity. The event abruptly dislocated Alshaibi from his role as an American teenager (something he longed to be) into the Other – the caricatured, malevolent, and despised Arab.

Watching “Back to the Future” in movie theaters in Pittsburgh and Houston, this reviewer and her brother experienced Read the rest

Underground Film Journal Reviews American Arab

Amal Family
“American Arab does not attempt to provide a definitive statement about the Arab experience in America. That might make a fine documentary some day — and Alshaibi would be excellent at making it — but here he is more of the inquisitive artist, seeking some kind of answer to questions that seem to keep shifting with each major life event, from the death of his brother to a brutal hate crime assault in 2011 to the birth of his beautiful daughter, Muneera.”-By Mike Everlet
Read more

American Arab in the Chicago press

American Arab is playing Sunday, April 6 at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and I’m in town promoting the film and getting ready for our big premiere. The film has been featured in the Chicago Reader, The Chicago Sun Time and the Chicago Tribune. Here are some links and quotes.

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“It’s our responsibility to change the visual landscape. The people who are making these Hollywood films have a cartoonish conception of what a Puerto Rican is and what an Arab is. They put the simplest two-dimensional character on the screen, another movie copies it, and they become cookie cutters. We … Read the rest

American Arab: a documentary on life in America | The National UAE

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Published November 25, 2013 in The National, Abu-Dhabi, By David D’Arcy

American Arab is full of troubling images. None more so than close-ups of Usama Alshaibi with bloody bruises on his face. Alshaibi had stumbled into a house in Fairfield, Iowa, the mid-western town where he lived in 2010, thinking that he’d been invited to a party inside. For some young men there, it wasn’t so much that he was an intruder, but that the man named Usama was an Arab. The attackers were never prosecuted. It would have been Alshaibi’s word against theirs.

Alshaibi’s new film made its world … Read the rest

Indiewire: American Arab: Racism in the Post-9/11 Age

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BY ANTHONY KAUFMAN

From documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films comes the news that Usama Alshaibi’s new documentary “American Arab” is nearing completion, readying for festival screenings in late 2013 and 2014, which could mean a Toronto premiere or a fall regional fest appearance. I got to know Alshaibi’s work when I profiled him for the Creative Capital Foundation a few years back. His 2006 doc “Nice Bombs” offered a refreshing new perspective on Iraq War, allowing Westerners to sympathize with an Arab perspective in a much deeper way. “American Arab” promises to do the same.

In March 2011, Alshaibi was beaten, … Read the rest

Cinesploitation: Profane (DVD Review)

Muna_downtownProfane (2011, DVD Review)
by Greg Baty

Director: Usama Alshaibi
Cast: Manal Kara, Molly Plunk, Dejan Mircea
MVD Visual/ length: 78 minutes
Disk Extras: 20 minutes of extra footage
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If you really understand religion on an intellectual level, you understand indoctrination. You know brainwashing and how the teachings and dogma go against every grain of human nature. One of those grains (more like a boulder) is sex and it is probably the most contentious of the beliefs held by most major religions. That is the postulation that sex is dirty and a sin if it is outside of … Read the rest