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Chapter Components

Perspectives: Arabic Language and Culture in Film

by Zainab Alwani, Nasser M. Isleem and Mbarek Sryfi

Chapter Opener

  • Plot Summary: An overview of the main characters and events.
  • In Context: Gives students the necessary background information for a more complete cultural understanding of the film.

Pre-viewing Activities

  • Opening Questions: A series of open-ended questions based on topics to be explored in the chapter/film. Questions often relate topics presented in the film to students’ lives, ask for opinions, predictions and check students’ previous knowledge of cultural topics.
  • Topics for Investigation: Suggested research topics promote better cultural understanding.


  • Selected Words and Phrases: Provided in the colloquial dialect with a Modern Standard Arabic equivalent and English translation, vocabulary items serve to better prepare students to talk about the major aspects of each film.
  • Activities: Additional practice and reinforcement of the vocabulary in context.


  • Description of Characters: Students will identify main characters and describe specific aspects of each, such as, personality, profession, activities and relationships.
  • Analysis of Characters: Provides a series of thought-provoking questions to analyze the main characters. Questions are designed to elicit opinion, critical thinking and analysis.
  • Comprehension: Content-based activities to verify students’ comprehension of the main story line.
  • Conversation/Analysis of the Story: Stimulates class and group discussion based on the major themes presented in the film.
  • Debate: Students will analyze the content of the film, compare/contrast, formulate ideas and express opinions.


  • Dramatization: Possible scenarios based on the characters and/or story line give students the opportunity to dramatize an original dialog of their own creation.
  • Topics for Compositions: Prominent themes are used as the basis to stimulate written production.



  • Each chapter of Perspectives is based on one full-length film from Egypt, Morocco or Palestine which serves as the basis for language development and content discussion.
  • Perspectives has been specifically designed for today’s intermediate to advanced students of Arabic, providing a unique opportunity to acquire new linguistic skills and enhance cultural understanding.
  • Each film has been selected based on its appeal to a student audience, the relevance of cultural topics explored, linguistic compatibility and availability.
  • All films are available with English subtitles.
  • Activities are contextualized with the framework of the film, given in Arabic and graduated in each section according to level of difficulty and required student input.
  • Vocabulary is given in Modern Standard Arabic and the colloquial dialect of the film. An English translation of all vocabulary is provided for easy reference.