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Staff Recommendations – November 2020
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Staff Recommendations – November 2020

Zero Bridge
2008 / Drama / 1h 36m

An independent film of integrity and offhand grace, Zero Bridge tells an affecting tale of an orphan and small-time criminal in Kashmir who plans to flee Srinagar but develops a crush on an older, educated woman. Tariq Tapa’s first feature is a small movie, investigating issues of class and the mysteries of love with an equal measure of craft and compassion.

The Color of Paradise
1999 / Drama / Family / 1h 30min

Blind adolescent Mohammad Ramezani attends a boarding school for the blind in Tehran. He is a bright boy with a zest for life. With the school closing down for the summer break, Mohammad returns to his small village where his widowed father, Hashem, his two sisters, Bahareh and Hanieh, and his paternal grandmother live. Mohammad is overjoyed to be at home with his family, its female members who are as equally happy to have Mohammad back for the three month school break. Hashem, on the other hand, feels ill-equipped to deal with Mohammad. Behind Mohammad’s back, Hashem treats Mohammad as an embarrassment to the family and if he is a burden. He has not even told his fiancée about Mohammad’s existence. He does whatever he can to pass on the responsibility of Mohammad to others, such as the blind carpenter in the neighboring town under who he would like Mohammad to apprentice. This action is much to the chagrin of Mohammad’s grandmother, who is not as worried for Mohammad as she is for her own son. She is concerned about the unconditional love which seems to be missing from his heart – love that Mohammad so craves and deserves.

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The Willow Tree
2005 / Drama / 1h 36min

Blind since childhood, Youssef has a devoted wife, loving daughter, and successful university career, but his affliction fills him with secret torment. As if in answer to his prayers, a clinic restores his sight- a miracle that is double-edged. Although this new world of sight and color floods him with ecstacy- the breathtaking images seen through his reawakened eyes include a dazzling vista of snow-blanketed hills, a shower of molten gold sparks in a jewlery foundry, an array of lollipop lights behind a rain-speckled car window- it also plunges him into a labyrinth of confusion and temptations. A pretty student begins to enclipse his previously invisible wife; he silently watches a subway pickpoket, who fixes him with a look of withering complicity. Eager to claim the lost life he feels he is owed but unable to take the next step, Youssef is inflamed with possibility and paralyzed with egoism. A resonant metaphor for life’s second chances and a powerful parable of sigh and insight, The Willow Tree’s vivid imagery and emotional immediacy makes this Majid Majidi’s most mature and ambitious film to date.

Off Side
2006 / Drama / Short Film / 7 min

Offside is the second short film in the trilogy by Tadmor & Nattiv regarding the Middle East conflict. This short is a fallow-up to their last short film Strangers, Offside was shot in Israel, during September 2005, at the security zone that separates between Israel and the Palestine Authority.

The 18 Seasons
2020 / Short Film / 7 min

The 18 Seasons is a short film by Aijaz Ganai (My Own Story), a student of filmmaking from Kashmir, depicting utter chaos created by the conflict in young creative minds. The film is fired in frames with superb, creative and innovative ways. It is available on YouTube.

Kingdom of Silence
2020 / Documentary / 1h 41min



An in-depth look at Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s life, work, and murder amidst the complexity of U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations, Kingdom of Silence takes a panoramic view of Jamal Kasshogi’s career and its impact on U.S.-Saudi relations, yielding a sobering account of one man’s life and the two nations he straddled.

Alija Izetbegovic: From Prisoner to President
2020 / Documentary / Al Jazeera English / 2 Episodes / 43-47 min

This two-part documentary series uses interviews with members of his family and major regional figures as well as archive footage and reconstruction to tell the chequered history of this part of the Balkans through Izetbegovic’s eyes. Alija Izetbegovic inspired a nation, fought against the siege of Sarajevo and founded Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent state. After Yugoslavia fell apart in the early 1990s and descended into a bitter regional conflict, Alija Izetbegovic fought for the survival of his country and people. The first president of the independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Izetbegovic was no stranger to controversy and had served five years of a 14-year prison sentence in the 1980s.

The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps
Podcast /

Peter Adamson, Professor of Philosophy at the LMU in Munich and at King’s College London, takes listeners through the history of philosophy, “without any gaps.” The series looks at the ideas, lives and historical context of the major philosophers as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition.

Essential Life-learnings from 14 Years of Brain Pickings
Maria Popova / Essay / Life / / Blog

Excerpt: Brain Pickings was born on October 23, 2006, as a short email to seven friends. Seven years and several incomprehensible million readers into its existence, I began what has since become an annual tradition — a distillation of the most important things I have learned about living while reading and writing my way through life; private learnings offered in the public commons, in the hope that these thoroughly subjective insights of a single consciousness might be of succor or salve to another. It is the only overtly personal writing I do on Brain Pickings. (Though, of course, the whole of it remains a deeply personal exercise in processing my own life and annealing my own ideas through the lives and ideas I celebrate in writing.) We are, after all, made of the same stuff.

(This list was recommended in the November 2020 print issue’s Staff Recommendations section of Mountain Ink.)

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