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.
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
this isn't 'Bonnie and Clyde' or 'Thelma and Louise' but it is a fine road movie. it sets up its two main characters gently and easily. viewers learn the underlying tensions quickly, which is a tribute to the director. there is the young french (and English) speaking son who wants to do well in France, has a french girlfriend and who drinks alcohol, parties as young men do. And there is his moroccan arabic (and french) speaking father who devoutly follows his Muslim faith, with generosity and the wisdom of elders and who rejects the new culture surrounding him (like mobile phones). the film could explore very powerful politics - the odd couple drive thru the former Yugoslavia, thru Turkey and then thru the Middle East to get to Mecca. these are areas where the Muslim populations have been involved in wars, repression, ethnic cleansing; where dictators have pursued torture and summary executions to hold power and where religious communities are in constant deadly battle with each other. yet the film moves thru those places and possibilities with only hints of such agendas. the relationship between the two is key to this film, and faith, politics are the backdrop. it seems to be saying that we are all human, and need to understand and care for each other in order to manage well in this world. it certainly isn't 'Natural Born Killers' and is all the better for it.
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