Ajyal Film Festival 2024

All Films

Valentino's Ghost (Valentino's Ghost: The Politics Behind Images of Arabs & Muslims in the Media)

Contemporary World Cinema

Michael Singh / Feature Documentary / United States of America / 2012 / 95 min / Colour and B&W / DCP
In English / Arabic subtitles
Interests: Documentary, Politics, History, Social Issues, Education
MENA Premiere


In the 1920s, the mysterious exoticism of the figure of the Arab sheikh made Rudolph Valentino one of the hugest celebrities the world has ever known. Today, American mass media portrayals of Arabs and Muslims often paint them as perpetrators of mindless violence, bent on the destruction of America and its way of life. Why? How did this change come about? Through interviews with historians and media experts, this refreshingly courageous documentary provides a crucial look at the historical, political and social context in which dangerously simplistic representations of Arabs, Muslims and Islam arose. Further, it suggests those representations make understanding Islam essentially impossible for American viewers. ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ has inspired much discussion since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival; lively dialogue is sure to follow its first appearance in the Middle East.

Official Film Website

About the Directors

Born and brought up in India of Dutch, German and Sikh heritage, Michael Singh majored in film production at the University of Southern California. He worked as a writer and producer for US television and wrote and associate produced ‘Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory’ (1997). He has directed two documentary shorts: ‘The Prisoner’s Song’ (2008) and ‘Rebel Queen’ (2009).


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