Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ihab Anwar: Trans-Atlantic Film

Ihab Anwar says he was incredibly lucky to get involved in the Semester at Sea program through the University of Rhode Island, where he is a student for the 2014-2015 school year. "I live in England, go to school in Rhode Island, but spent the entire Fall semester travelling the world," he said. "How lucky is that?"

The Semester at Sea program takes hundreds of college students on an around-the-world trip, with stops scheduled at numerous countries along the way. The Fall 2014 trip set sail from Southampton, England on August 24 and visited seventeen cities in fifteen countries during its 108-day voyage. 

Anwar says he learned a lot and saw parts of the world that he never expected to see. But in addition to the travel, he and the other students had to take a lot of required courses, and some electives, too.

One of the classes he took was called Trans-Atlantic Film as History. "According to the course outline, it was supposed to introduce us to the idea that movies can bear witness to the diversity of the human experience. That's what the instructor kept saying, although she always said cinema – ‘Cinema can bear witness to the diversity of the human experience.'" 

The course, he went on, had a short section on the development of film technology in the late 1800s and early 1900s. "But the emphasis was on the social issues that were introduced in each movie."

Films that were screened for the students included The Butterfly, which was about the Spanish Civil War, and A Night of Truth, which was about inter-African warfare. Ihab Anwar said that he had never hear of any of the movies that they saw.

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