Mahmut, a 40 year old independent photographer, is a "village boy made good" at least professionally in the big city - Istanbul in this case. After his wife leaves him, he falls into an ... See full summary »
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
Is he the village idiot or a genius in disguise? 17 year old Noi drifts through life on a remote fjord in the north of Iceland. In winter, the fjord is cut off from the outside world, ... See full summary »
Reda, summoned to accompany his father on a pilgrimage to Mecca, complies reluctantly - as he preparing for his baccalaureat and, even more important, has a secret love relationship. The trip across Europe in a broken-down car is also the departure of his father: upon arrival in Mecca, both Reda and his father are not the characters they were at the start of the movie. Avoiding the hackneyed theme of the return to the homeland, the film uses the departure to renew a connection between two generation. Written by
Reda is a young Frenchman of Moroccan descent. Despite his Muslim heritage, he is very French in attitudes and values. Out of the blue, his father announces that Reda will be driving him to the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca--something that Reda has no interest in doing but agrees only out of obligation. As a result, from the start, Reda is angry but being a traditional Muslim man, his father is difficult to talk to or discuss his misgivings. Both father and son seem very rigid and inflexible--and it's very ironic when the Dad tells his son that he should not be so stubborn.
When I read the summary, it talks about how much the characters grew and began to know each other. However, I really don't think they did and that is the fascinating and sad aspect of the film. Sure, there were times of understanding, but so often there was an undercurrent of hostility and repression. I actually liked this and appreciated that there wasn't complete resolution of this--as it would have seemed phony.
Overall, the film is well acted and fascinating--giving Westerners an unusual insight into Islam and the Hajj. It also provides a fascinating juxtaposition of traditional Islam and the secular younger generation. While the slow pace and lack of clarity about the relationship throughout the film may annoy some, I think it gave the film intense realism and made it look like a film about people--not some formula. A nice and unusual film.
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