Rana Sweis


Favorite Films

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The Visitor

A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Writer: Thomas McCarthy
Stars: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman and Danai Gurira

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Writers: Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), Vikas Swarup (novel)
Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Saurabh Shukla


The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Dustin Lance Black
Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Emile Hirsch

The Dark Knight

Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are forced to deal with the chaos unleashed by a terrorist mastermind known only as the Joker, as he drives each of them to their limits.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan (screenplay), and 3 more credits »
Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart

Mamma Mia!

The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular '70s group ABBA.

Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writers: Catherine Johnson (screenplay), Catherine Johnson (musical book)
Stars:Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried


outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution.

Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Writers: Marjane Satrapi (comic), Vincent Paronnaud (scenario)
Stars: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve and Gena Rowlands

Rana Sweis Articles

Arts Review

Book Recommendations for September 2011

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Azar Nafisi’s Memoirs. - A book I’m looking forward to reading. Read more of this book review in the Washington Post. Also read an excerpt from Chapter 1. 

Nafisi’s sensory descriptions of Tehran life — the “enticing cacophony” of its streets, the daily forays her mother makes to the market, where she appears to be “so much at home in this world of chocolates, leather, and spices” — are as vivid as the portraits of her exotically dysfunctional family. My one grievance concerning Things I’ve Been Silent About is that, like many a Near Eastern family reunion, the book is excessively crowded. Chatty cousin after chatty cousin, friend after friend, ponderous wise man after ponderous wise man barge into Nafisi’s pages, too briefly described to warrant our interest, crowding and often muddling her narrative. But this is a modest complaint to make about an utterly memorable (pardon the alliteration) memoir.

Book: The Forever War (Iraq)

listen to this book review. On this page you will also find an interview with the author and you can read an excerpt.

To classify The Forever War as a work of literature instead of, say, as a piece of “war correspondence,” is not to denigrate its journalistic integrity. Dexter Filkins’ reporting is as rigorous in this book’s informal vignettes and essays as it was when he delivered the daily news from Afghanistan and Iraq for The New York Times.


I read Machiavelli’s The Prince in graduate school and found it quite fascinating. Here’s a great article written by Claudia Roth Pierpont from today’s New Yorker on the man behind one of the most famous books ever written.

The Prince,” Machiavelli’s how-to guide for sovereigns, turned out to be “a scandal that Western political thought and practice has been gazing at in horror and in fascination since its first publication,” to quote from Albert Russell Ascoli’s introduction to Peter Constantine’s new translation. Circulated in manuscript for years, the book was not published until 1532—nearly five years after Machiavelli’s death—and received its first significant critique within the decade, from an English cardinal who pronounced the author “an enemy of the human race.”

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