Stereotypes on Parade

We don’t know whether you’ll laugh or cry at this one, though you may well do a little of both. Jackie Salloum’s nine-minute short Planet of the Arabs is a hilarious, scathing, and rapid-fire montage of stereotypes of Arabs culled from popular movies and TV shows that plays like some budding neocon’s ADD-infused fever dream. (Just replay this one in your head the next time a Republican presidential candidate invokes Jack Bauer.) As you may expect, it features hijackings, spittle-drenched exhortations to Allah, and goofy accents galore. (We also love the part where Chuck Norris shows up to complain about the food.) We could have done without the cutaways to Howard Beale of Network (a cliché of a different kind), but Salloum’s film, which played the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is that rarest of beasts: a laugh-out-loud lament. It will be playing next Thursday, along with Sut Jhally’s Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, as part of Arte East’s Cinema East Film Festival at NYU’s Cantor Auditorium. —Bilge Ebiri