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The Feeling of Being Watched (2018)

When journalist Assia Boundaoui investigates rumors of surveillance in her Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago, she uncovers one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11 and reveals its enduring impact on the community.


Assia Boundaoui
7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Gamal Abdel-Hafiz Gamal Abdel-Hafiz ... Self - Former FBI Agent
Christina Abraham ... Self - Attorney
Assia Boundaoui ... Self
Iman Boundaoui Iman Boundaoui ... Self
Nouha Boundaoui Nouha Boundaoui ... Self
Oussama Boundaoui Oussama Boundaoui ... Self
Rabia Boundaoui Rabia Boundaoui ... Self
Sohib Boundaoui Sohib Boundaoui ... Self
Mark Flessner Mark Flessner ... Self - Former Assistant US Attorney
Monica Eva Foster ... Assia Boundaoui's Attorney (voice)
Daron Hagen ... Judge Thomas Durkin (voice)
Allison Hantschel Allison Hantschel ... Self - Local Journalist, The Daily Southtown
Bassem Kawar Bassem Kawar ... Self - Organizer, Arab-American Action Network
Jen Marlowe Jen Marlowe ... Government Attorney (voice)
Nareman Taha Nareman Taha ... Self - Co-director, Arab American Family Services


When journalist Assia Boundaoui investigates rumors of surveillance in her Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago, she uncovers one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11 and reveals its enduring impact on the community.

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Did You Know?


An inspiration for the film was The Battle of Algiers (1966), which the director used to watch growing up with her family; particularly the sense of a city neighborhood as a character, with its own fear of being watched. See more »


Features Aladdin (1992) See more »

User Reviews

Fear of Being Watched is Great
23 April 2020 | by dilnazwSee all my reviews

Assia Boundaoui, a Chicago based journalist takes a detailed look into government surveillance done in her home town of Bridgeview in this documentary. She follows her neighbors, community leaders and FBI that have a first-hand story to share about this community and FBI assumptions on the Arab Muslim community. Her weaving of stories from many lens helps the viewer feel the pain of always feeling watched, "less than" and what toll it takes to prove daily about one's "Americanness". Assia is a crafted film makers that takes us into this thriller and feel for the Bridgeview community and understand the power of Islamophobia. The over 30,0000 pages of FBI documents that prove nothing about terrorism in the pre 9/11 climate. Assia's resilient mom shares with us so much passion and hatred for the government through the many years they have changed the lives of innocent people in that community. She is a woman with no fear and speaks openly about the government and its fear mongering tactics and how it has affected her and her community. The hijab and Arab dress that Assia's mom wears verses the jeans, t-shirt and no head scarf that Assia wears highlights that both women are strong and out spoken in their narratives and dress does not matter. This juxtaposition in dress also highlights that dress does not minimize a Muslim women's voice and not to amplify the dress to women being submissive. As women are often placed in "boxes" both these women are breaking down stereotypes and the mom pushes Assia to be stronger and use her privileges to stand up for injustices.

Islamophobia is a strong theme that is exaggerated with fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims in this community that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life pre 9/11 which lead to the increase post 9/11. Assia's research leads the viewer to understand how the media coverage brings Muslim-American terrorism suspects to national attention, creating the impression that Muslim-American terrorism is more prevalent than it really is. Islamophobia affects more than a small fringe group of Muslims in this documentary. In the end of the documentary we understand how white supremacy has affected the Blacks, Japanese and other communities to feel watched, marginalized, and the power of institutional racism. America has always had policies and laws that support the white men and made the other "folks" placed in a category of "others". This brief snapshot that Assia highlights only feeds into how power of those in government have used their whiteness to put other communities in more difficult situations. The Feeling of Being Watched is a must see for all Americans to understand where power is held and how we each can make a difference in changing that narrative. Civic engagement is in the core of our American constitution and how we can use that principle to make the institutional changes that all Americans have a right to.

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Release Date:

21 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Feeling of Being Watched See more »

Filming Locations:

Bridgeview, Illinois, USA See more »

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