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Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD
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Item No.: ISLS401
Single DVD

This film takes viewers on an epic journey back into one of the most captivating and important periods of world history, a centuries-long period when Muslims, Christians and Jews inhabited the same far corner of Western Europe and thrived. Here were the very roots of the European Renaissance. But the fragile union dissipated, destroyed by greed, fear and intolerance.
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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
PBSCities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD
 
4.6

(based on 18 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Glowing Account of All Three Cultures

One of my Syrian Muslim colleagues, with whom I team-teach a course, introduced me to this excellent film, and we're planning to show it together to our honors students. (Our teaching team includes...Read complete review

One of my Syrian Muslim colleagues, with whom I team-teach a course, introduced me to this excellent film, and we're planning to show it together to our honors students. (Our teaching team includes a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew, and all of us are impressed with the scholarship in this film. The film depends equally upon many onscreen interviews with Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars--and the interviewees do a superb job of neither blindly championing those of their own religion in Al-Andalus nor cynically denigrating them. The film is a careful, well-researched documentary of both the glories and pains of Muslim-ruled Al-Andalus, demonstrating that for a period, Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived and worked together. The Muslim scholar whom another reviewer mentions, whose career is described as failed, is portrayed in highly sympathetic terms. The film encourages us to feel the injustice of his lot and understand his later bitterness even as it encourages us to marvel at his being the first person to study comparative religions. The film also encourages us to marvel at Muslim art and at the wisdom of the rulers who first conceived of a tolerant, multicultural realm. At the same time, the film does not try to portray Al-Andalus as a never-never land. There was serious friction during many of the centuries in which Al-Andalus was in existence, both between the three religious groups and among co-religionists. A nice feature of the film is that unlike some PBS documentaries, this one clearly had a large reenactment budget. Instead of cheesy reenactments shot in blurred motion, these are good enough to appear in a movie: the costumes are very good, the acting quite decent, the production values also quite decent.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

The Cover is better than the Content

The title, cover, and write-up made this DVD sound amazing and desirable, but the content is presented through uninspiring, cheap actor portrayals. I had expected much more documentary style investigations of actual sites...Read complete review

The title, cover, and write-up made this DVD sound amazing and desirable, but the content is presented through uninspiring, cheap actor portrayals. I had expected much more documentary style investigations of actual sites with generous images and a much wider sampling of international scholars. This DVD is too expensive for the content it offers; it does not make the grade.

Reviewed by 18 customers

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5.0

Stunning, educational, very professional

By Fayge

from Sacramento, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about PBS Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD:

Watched the show with friends and neighbors. Rave reviews from all. It's wonderful to have a program from which one learns and enjoys at the same time.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

fascinating

By Dan

from Miami, FL

Verified Buyer

Comments about PBS Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD:

lengthy and informative film recreates a significant and underappreciated place in time that resonates on the world as we know it today. A must see for anyone interested in world history and primer for further research.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Absolutely Essential

By Shaykh al-Hajj Dawud Ahmad al-Amriki

from Eastern Washington State

Verified Reviewer

Comments about PBS Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD:

Spanish Jews suffering Christian oppression asked the muslims to liberate them from religious tyranny, and "Islamic Spain" was the result.

Without knowledge of this history, no one is qualified to discuss muslim history from anything resembling an objective perspective. For Jews, it was "The Golden Age of Judaism"; for Europe, it was the foundation of the Renaissance; for muslims, it was the only alternative to Arab imperialism emerging from The Promised Land, which it withstood for centuries before being torn apart by internecine strife and competing dogmas. It was a "shortened version" of the rise and fall of the Millennial Kingdom of Islam, showing the foundational religious liberty and democratic pluralism as well as the sectarian and partisan darkness leading to the terminally-collapsed millennial muslim world we see today. And this documentary captures the causes and effects with undeniable authenticity.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

A very historic presentation.

By Lourdes, the organizer.

from Horseshoe Bay, Texas

Verified Buyer

Comments about PBS Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD:

Excellent photos of Muslim buildings in areas not seen in regular tours of Spain. I would have liked more details on the marriage of the Queen of Castile and the King of Aragon. Why was she more powerful?
A good presentation by the speakers, representing different universities and a writer.

 
5.0

The Golden Age of Moorish Spain

By Alberto from Mecca

from Pittsburg, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about PBS Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain DVD:

The best in the PBS documentary series, this dvd covers the history of this era quite authentically and profoundly. A must buy.

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