Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain
takes viewers on an epic journey back into one of the most fascinating and important periods of world history. It tells a story of vital importance for our contemporary world about the triumphs and shortcomings, achievements and ultimate failures of a centuries-long period when Muslims, Christians, and Jews inhabited the same far corner of Western Europe and built a society that lit the Dark Ages.
The lemon tree, the water wheel, and Aristotle’s lost philosophy all arrived in Europe through Islamic Spain, as did algebra and the beginnings of modern medicine, science, and poetry. Here were the very roots of the European Renaissance.
All this was the legacy of a diverse society that managed to create a culture of light in a time of general darkness and ignorance in Europe. Cities of Light
shows how it was possible for Muslims, Christians, and Jews to co-exist and thrive together—and yet how fragile that union can be when religious extremism begins to rise. The glories of Islamic Spain are beautifully rendered, but the film does not flinch when vividly portraying the violence and horror that ultimately engulfed it—violence that seems similar to what we witness today.
The world is at a crossroads. Exploring the vibrant history of Islamic Spain could not be more important as we confront the profound political, strategic, and ethical challenges that will determine issues of war and peace for generations to come.
The history of Islamic Spain demonstrates that when religious diversity is accommodated within a social and political system, problems and tensions may still exist, but society is able to successfully manage them, generally to the benefit of all. But when a power system or religious movement rejects complexity and insists on a single cultural and religiously-centered point of view, then society is likely to come to grief with everyone losing something.
The history of Islamic Spain delivers this message with unprecedented power because it is a common history shared by both the Muslim East and the European West.
Supported by a diverse group of scholars, this film was co-produced by Unity Productions Foundation (Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet)
, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to increasing cultural understanding through the media, and by the award-winning film director Rob Gardner (Islam: Empire of Faith; Arab and Jew: Return to the Promised Land; The Barbarians)
. The film makes an important contribution to our understanding of history and world events—what once occurred and what might happen again—and will help advance the global discussion already underway concerning peace and social progress in the 21st century.Here are some interesting facts about the production of Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain:
Special Features Include:
- Filming took place over a period of 18 months.
- The re-enactments were filmed in studio facilities in Lithuania, one of the most cost-effective locations in Europe.
- Filming included extensive shooting of art, landscapes, and architecture in Spain.
- Computer animated art teams from major museums scanned color transparencies for color and detail accuracy.
- The film uses three-dimensional high-color map imagery throughout the story to enhance viewers’ understanding of the migratory paths various groups and individuals took to reach Spain, as well as to highlight geographical events.
- Cities of Light was filmed in high definition
- The film features a commissioned original musical score, which incorporates Christian, Muslim and Jewish music themes of that time period, presented in the style of a modern cinematic score.
- The film received an endorsement from The World Economic Forum, who’s Council of 100 Leaders on West-Islamic World Dialogue (C-100) chose interfaith screenings of the film as a priority project.
- The Cities of Light broadcast is accompanied by a grassroots dialogue campaign, called the 20,000 Dialogues.
- Lesson plans and facilitator's guides for further exploring Islamic Spain.
- Widescreen presentation (1.78:1 aspect ratio) - enhanced for widescreen TVs
- Dolby Digital 2.0 English
- Region 1