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Linda & Ali: Two Worlds Within Four Walls (2005)

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Irritated by Catholicism, Linda, an American-based, Blonde Caucasian, falls in love with Qater-based Ali Al-Saigel, adopts the Islamic faith, and gets married. She follows her new faith to ... See full summary »

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Title: Linda & Ali: Two Worlds Within Four Walls (2005)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ali Al Saigel ...
Himself (as Ali Al-Saigel)
Summer Ali Al-Ansari ...
Herself
Wendy Reza Al-Ansari ...
Herself
Amal Ali Al-Saigel ...
Himself
Anissa Ali Al-Saigel ...
Herself
Hassan Ali Al-Saigel ...
Himself
Jassina Ali Al-Saigel ...
Herself
Mariam Ali Al-Saigel ...
Herself
Sarah Ali Al-Saigel ...
Herself
Sequina Ali Al-Saigel ...
Herself
Linda Fain ...
Herself (as Linda Ali Al-Saigel)
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Storyline

Irritated by Catholicism, Linda, an American-based, Blonde Caucasian, falls in love with Qater-based Ali Al-Saigel, adopts the Islamic faith, and gets married. She follows her new faith to the letter, and subsequently gives birth to seven children (four daughters and three sons), brings them up according to true Islamic dictum's, and reflects on her 20-year married life, her children, as well as her reaction when her husband indicates that he wants to re-marry. Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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Genres:

Documentary

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Release Date:

February 2005 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Linda ja Ali  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Keeping up appearances
5 July 2006 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

This is a documentary about Ali and Linda who have been married for about 15 years and have seven kids ranging from infant to late teens. The angle in the documentary is that Ali is a Qatari and Linda is/was a US citizen.

Linda has adapted to the foreign culture pretty well and turned from Christianity to Islam before their marriage and accepts almost all the restriction the Qatar society puts on her: what she must (not) wear and how she spends her time outside home, which seems to be just watching TV with her sister-in-law and all the ordinary housewife things.

Ali however hasn't strayed from the Qatar way of life: he loves his family but seems to spend more time with his friends, jogging or business trips and the kids are left completely on Linda's burden. They have even made an arrangement where Ali promises to spend every other evening with his family yet he slips from that very often.

The kids are brought up as bi-lingual Qataris who are quite aware of their mother's origin but are brought up in an Islamic fashion. The teenage son doesn't feel it's right for his little sisters to attend gymnastics classes because of the dress code. 'A woman who would walk down the street not wearing burka would be considered crazy'. Whether he's been taught this way or not is unclear as later in the doc we can see his father at a bar ogling at a lightly clothed young woman and praising the view - and immediately saying that it's great that the young woman is acting as she does, and saying that it would be strictly out of the question if his family members would act that way. Double standards anyone? That moment made me also think how great beaches Qatar must have yet no-one really can use them! There's a hint of sadness in Linda throughout the film. She feels somewhat under-appreciated by Ali and uses instant messaging daily with her mother through the internet. As she doesn't speak Arabian her children have a special bond with their father and it seemed to me that she feels herself a little bit of an outsider. For example, she converses with her oldest daughter - who's about to turn 18 - how her daughter would feel about arranged marriage with a complete stranger and Linda, who doesn't approve such things, is stymied about her daughter's reaction as she doesn't oppose the idea, stoically saying "that's how it is." It made me feel she didn't really know her daughter that well.

And when her mother gets sick Linda breaks down in front of the camera, her mother being probably the only person who she can talk about with an open heart. She's also a bit fixated about how her life was back in the states and longs back to her home country - evident from viewing old photos and in the end deciding to go see her mother.

The documentary style is quite intrusive yet the subjects seem to be quite at ease with it as the camera records several close family moments between all the members, and everyone except the older girls have their moments to let out their thoughts.


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