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In this short biopic, Justin M. Benavidez explores the life and writings of al-Qurtubi (‘the Cordoban’). Al-Qurtubi (d. 1273) lived in a time of great turbulence: from the fall of Cordoba in 1236, the fall of the Ayyubid dynasty in 1250, the rise of the Mamluk regime the same year, the Crusades (1095–1291), to the fall of the Caliphate in 1258.

Al-Qurtubi's writings reflect the precarious period in which he lived, in particular his famous Qur'an commentary, 'the Jami', which is a masterwork. We follow his journey from Cordoba to Mamluk Egypt and ask why his commentary continues to be of such interest to the present day. This film is the second one made related to my work as a researcher at the Escuela de Estudios Árabes, Granada, and as a doctoral student at the Universidad de Granada, which focuses on the Qur'an commentary of al-Qurtubi.

"As a filmmaker, this was my very first role as co-producer and writer. It was an invaluable experience, one in which I learned a lot, esp. about the challenges of filming in multiple countries. I was fortunate to work with such a talented team of professionals in the industry to bring this work to fruition."
Justin M. Benavidez

Production for this film was made possible by funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie, European Union’s ITN-MIDA (Innovative Training Network-Mediating Islam in the Digital Age) (Grant Agreement no. 813547 — 2019–2022) — with the support of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the Escuela de Estudios Árabes (EEA). These institutions also funded and have supported my doctoral research at the Universidad de Granada. NB: All shortcomings in the film are due to my inexperience.

More about Justin M. Benavidez:


A film by PS Media

Directed and Co-produced by Philipp Rückriem

Written and Co-produced by Justin Benavidez

Music by Al Andaluz Project

Camera operator in Cordoba by Arne Jannsen

Camera operator in Egypt by Mohammad Helmy

Funding for this film was provided by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Nº 813547 with the support of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the Escuela de Estudios Árabes (EEA).

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