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Region 1 encoding.
(requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV.More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product.New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them
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Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.
This is a very informative and interesting dvd of the lifes and individual backgrounds of the belly dancers of Cairo. The dvd has been done in an interesting way that is very touching as well. The dvd also includes footage of individual performances. Well worth a watch
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Requisite Viewing for all Belly Dance Students13 Dec 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Last night, I watched The Belly Dancers of Cairo. It's an excellent but sad documentary on the state of raqs sharqi in Egypt today. Despite the increasing popularity of the dance internationally, belly dance is dying in Egypt. Through interviews with Egyptian dance legends (eg. Dina, Nagwa Fuad, Lucy), current performers, a Muslim feminist, and a variety of Egyptian men from different walks of life, we can see how dancers are simultaneously loved and reviled. We are given cultural and religious context for this apparent contradiction.
Although raqs sharqi from the golden age of Egyptian cinema is looked upon fondly by the conservative men interviewed, their appreciation is conflicted. Dancers are looked upon as whores, a view reinforced by the dance films shown on a daily basis. Dancers in movies are invariably portrayed as wanton women, or gangsters' molls. To allow a female member of one's family to become a dancer would bring shame down on the entire family. More liberally-minded men may date a dancer, but once they get married, or once she bears children, she will have to end her career.
The film touches on how women in the public eye are considered to have questionable virtue. However, there is no mention of Oum Kalthoum, who was considered a national treasure. I can't help but be curious to see if she was considered a floozy at the same time that she was revered.
The documentary ends on a bittersweet note. Although the dance is dying in Egypt, it has spread itself over the world. These non-Egyptian dancers are responsible to carry on the legacy, and to save what would otherwise be a dying art form. And just so we're not without context, the DVD has an excellent features section which contains full-length performances by a variety of Egyptian dancers.
I need to get myself a copy of this. I recommend it to students of all varieties of belly dance (whether traditional Egyptian or any of the more modern fusion variants).
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant tool for understanding22 Oct 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
As a belly dance instructor, I found this to be a terrific tool for understanding the strange place raks sharki has in Cairo society -- Dancers are enormous stars who are beloved and command huge sums for performances, and yet they are seen as prostitutes.
The film includes interviews with Samasem, Dina, Lucy, Nagwa Fouad, Khayreyya Maazin, and others. Eman Zaki talks at length about her mothers' recollections of dancing for Badia Masabni.
The special features include eight or nine performances and the filmmakers' lengthy discussion about their experiences during filming. They were charmingly open and honest about all their experiences and I enjoyed the discussion almost as much as the documentary!
I was riveted throughout the entire documentary AND the special features. This is a must-have for the library of serious dancers or dance teachers.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
an important documentary detailing the struggles of courageous artists in Cairo3 Nov 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Watcing this documentary, I was surprised by how little I knew about the Bellydancers of Cairo.
I viewed this documentary with a friend, and was extremely touched by the stories of these women. It amazes me that an entire society is able to both love and despise this artform and the women who perform it.
The struggles and sacrifices women have gone through in order to do what they love is truly inspiring, and I watch videos of egyptian bellydancers with renewed respect and appreciation.
As a student of this artform, I've purchased many bellydance dvd's and tapes. It was amazing to me that so many egyptian superstars were willing to be interviewed and were willing to speak about their lives in such a candid manner.
This documentary is definitely a must have for any serious student of oriental dance.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Just barely begins to scratch the surface21 Jan 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I had really high hopes for this documentary and it certainly covers topics which are of both importance and interest. The reason I gave this only 4 stars is not because the content or production wasn't good but rather that it lacked the proper depth. I understand that producing something with a limited budget poses serious limitations but at the same time if you don't go in-depth enough it's still almost wasted money. For example, religion plays a huge part in the acceptance of bellydance as a social practice and as a performing art yet all we really hear is an anonymous look into religions role by an unidentified man. While I would respect the unidentified man's testimony regarding a general public view I cannot take his views on religion seriously without some credentials. I'm sure that while in Egypt they could have stoped by Al-Azhar and asked for someone to talk with about this. If you want to know what the religon says and how that's been interpreted you should go to a source who has proper credentials. It would also have been nice to hear from the dancers how they reconcile seemingly contraditory religious beliefs with their professions. In addition the majority of information we are given by someone about Islamic beliefs revolves around an incomplete section regarding hijab and modesty but is not backed up by the Qur'anic veres and supporting hadith. This documentary did do a very good job of exploring some of the socio-cultural dynamics of choosing this profession and how that affects both performers and their families but even this could have been explored on a deeper level. Although I sort of felt this throughout the entire production it's especially clear through the directors commentary (part of the special features) that this is presented with a western slant. It very much presents a western bias in taking in the information to the point where an Arab or Muslim viewer would probably feel a little jaded. It is not a very neutrally presented documentary with all it's biases and does tend to not only present things from a western view but also gives the interpretation of that being the proper ideology that one should have. All in all you can't expect a single, self-produced documentary to present the sort of in-depth knowledge that would take the discovery channel a couple million and an entire series to properly showcase. If your a bellydancer, dance ethnologist, or just interested in bellydance, Egypt, or performing arts in general I'd still recommend this documentary since what is covered is still good and at least gives a starting point for further research and exploration. Just keep in mind if you really want to understand the content you will need to do further research and it will probably be an extensive amount of research which you would need to do. As for people upset about not seeing full performances, keep in mind this is a documentary on the position of dancers in Egypt on the social and culturual scale and not simply biographies or performances of them. It does show short clips throughout the film but it does not include full performances in the documentary itself. It does however include quite a few full performances in the special features section of the DVD. The performances themself could be sold as a seperate video for nearly the same price so if you think about it this is almost a two-for-one deal.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Great Documentary, A Must For Any Serious Student/Dancer27 Oct 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I absolutely love this DVD. As a dancer who has purchased over 250 DVD's and every possible documentary on bellydance, I must tell you this is a great DVD.
The personal interviews with many stars of Egypt tells their stories of fame, the barriers they had to overcome, as well as stories of sadness they encountered in their lives as dancers.
It is ironic in a society that much loves and admires these dancers, that they also look so down upon them and would never allow their sister or daughter to dance.
It is sad in the respect that more and more Egyptian women are being forced away from dancing by a more conservitive modern Egyptian society, that you would think is loosening constrictions on women in this day and age, is actually tightening them. Our beloved dance is actually being forced out of Egypt, the mother of dance.
I love the statements made towards the end, ecspecially by Lucy and Samasen, about how dancing is on the decline in Egypt, but it has spread throughout the world, hoping it will return to Egypt someday, but it is up to us to keep their dance alive. Samasen said it best, "Thank good it is foriengers that are keeping it alive, this is a big legacy".
As a serious student of this art, this DVD will make you applaud, appreciate, and love these famed dancers at a personal level as well as touch your soul with their stories of sadness and reality of their society. Nowhere has a documentary has touched me as much as this one in our beloved dance. It is up to us to keep this dance alive and hopefully it will return to these countries as big as it once was.
There is full length of 9 dancers performances or at least a full song of dancers performances under Special Features. A previous poster must not of noticed that.