Original 2012 version designated a New York Times Critics' Pick
Narrated by Mike Farrell, the documentary film Valentino’s Ghost exposes the way America’s foreign policy agenda in the Middle East influences Hollywood and mainstream corporate media portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, Italy, to a standing ovation, Valentino’s Ghost tracks the transition from the Arab as Romantic Hero to the Arab today as the embodiment of evil.
Why do supremely talented artists and intellectuals in America consider it perfectly “realistic” to depict Arabs and Muslims in a fashion that would be described as bigoted, if applied to blacks, Jews, gays, Native Americans, et al?
The 100-minute film features fresh, riveting and often stunning perspectives from the legendary late American writer Gore Vidal; John Mearsheimer, author of “The Israel Lobby”,celebrated British war correspondent Robert Fisk, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Anthony Shadid, Harvard and Oxford historian Niall Ferguson, historian Melani McAlister, TV star Tony Shalhoub, media expert Jack Shaheen, and Hollywood writer Alan Sharp,
They take viewers into wild, uncharted waters, analyzing Hollywood as a hotbed of ethnic bigotry and an obedient servant of Washington; the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as hate speech; Israel’s deadly invasion of Gaza in 2014 as a war crime; ISIS as less brutal than The American Armed Forces; and American Sniper as foremost a vehicle of ethnic hatred towards Arabs and Muslims.
Biting social commentary by comics Maz Jobrani, Aron Kader and Ahmed Ahmed ensure that the documentary maintains a constant flow of astonishing and eye-opening revelations.
You may not agree with every observation in Michael Singh’s documentary Valentino’s Ghost. But this engrossing examination of American perceptions of Arabs and the Arab world gets you thinking….Andy Webster, The New York Times
Valentino's Ghost is both sobering and illuminating, and its execution is thrilling.Ernest Hardy, The Village Voice
PROVOCATIVE … ABSORBING ...Singh's critical views on Israel and Washington's staunch protection of that country's image will likely set some viewers' teeth on edge.Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
A valuable work that digs well beyond commonplace observations …John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
Valentino’s Ghost exposes widespread bigotry and the deliberate shaping of a narrative against Arabs while also providing considerable insights into why American foreign policy continues to fail in an important part of the world.Philip Giradi, former CIA officer and exec director, Council for the National Interest, Wash, D.C.
Brilliant. Valentino's Ghost is a crystal-clear distillation of voluminous evidence from movies, televangelism, and network news, documenting the subtle interplay of popular, religious, and political culture.Tamara Sonn, Professor of Humanities, College of William and Mary
The Palestine Center in Washington, DC screened on Feb. 5 what this viewer believes is the decade’s most important film: “Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs” (2015), followed by a Skype conversation with director Michael Singh. The extraordinary 95-minute documentary uses historic news clips and scenes from Hollywood films to trace the way mainstream media and Hollywood have falsely stereotyped Arabs, the Nakba and American wars in the Middle East. Speakers show how Israel has become “the little country that could,” while Palestine is now somehow “misplaced.”
Read Full Review Here
Delinda C. HanleyMarch/April 2016.
Illuminating Insights from:
John J. Mearsheimer, Ph.D., R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at The University of Chicago
“Our relationship with Israel is one of the main reasons we have a terrorist problem in the United States.”
Robert Fisk, Ph.D., Foreign Correspondent, The Independent, UK
“‘… ‘occupied territories’ becomes the ‘disputed territories’, ‘settlements’ become ‘neighborhoods’ … And so, we make the Middle East unintelligible for people who don’t live there or visit there.”
Melani McAlister, Ph.D., Associate Professor of American Studies and International Affairs, George Washington University
“In every case, it was said that ‘those who oppose Israel are acting against the forces of goodness in the world; they are evil.'”
Gore Vidal, Author and historian
“The idea that darkness of skin is supposed to represent darkness of soul, and character, has been an Anglo Saxon hang-up for a long time.”
Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer Prize winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times
“Why isn’t there a more fundamental debate about the Israeli/Palestinian confict. I don’t know. I ask myself the same question and … I don’t know.”
Tony Shalhoub, Actor/TV Star
“I played a sort of, well dressed, dapper terrorist. It was a lot of running around, shooting off Uzis and screaming at people. Having done it once was plenty, more than enough.”
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