In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
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.
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Muna, a single mother in Ramallah, has applied for a visa to the US. When it comes, her son Fadi, an excellent student, convinces her they should go. After an incident at customs begins their exile badly, they join Muna's sister and family in Illinois. Muna needs a job: although she has two degrees and 15 years' experience in banking, she settles for work at White Castle, telling the family her job's at a nearby bank. It's spring, 2003, and the US invades Iraq. While friends come from unlikely places, Fadi meets prejudice at school. How he'll respond to it and to American youth culture and how Muna will sort things out with her family are the rest of the story. Tragedy or hope? Written by
Back to the Future
Written by Marc Ferrari, Josh Kessler, Jaime McPherson, Jesse Shatkin
Performed by Kamlege
Published by Angeles Crest Music (SESAC)/Red Engine Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of MasterSource Music Catalog See more »
A considered view of current American sentiment regarding immigration
This very moving 2009 film written and directed by Cherien Dabis could hardly be more timely, what with the current Immigration issues in filibuster in Washington and entry into the land of hope and liberty, so long a dream for many, now a country under close surveillance of individual privacy. This is a film, simple on the surface, but one with a significant message that would benefit all to watch and digest.
The story opens in Palestine. After her husband divorces her for a slimmer woman, Muna Farah (Nisreen Faour) lives with her cranky mother and her excellent student son Fadi (Melkar Muallem) in an unnumbered house in Bethlehem. Frustrated by the constant need to cross through insulting armed checkpoints as Muna goes to her bank job and Fadi goes to school, they apply for a visa to escape the Palestinian problems with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois where Muna's sister Raghda (the always brilliant Hiam Abbass) and her physician husband Nabeel (Yussuf Abu-Warda) live with their daughters. After one last treachery at customs (where Muna's life savings are confiscated) the two arrive in America. Muna is unable to find work in a bank but is secretly employed in a hamburger joint, befriended by fellow worker, high school dropout Matt (Brodie Sanderson). Fadi gets into school but is immediately ostracized by crude thoughtless students for being foreign and therefore a 'terrorist'. Meanwhile Raghda and Nabeel begin to sink into debt when Saddam Hussein is conquered in the Iraqi war and public sentiment is against all Arab speaking peoples. Fadi eventually fights back when the prejudiced students cause an accident for his mother and is arrested for assault, Muna's 'low class' employment is discovered, but when all looks grim the isolated family is befriended by a friendly Polish Jew educator Stan Novatski (Joseph Ziegler), by Matt, and by a worker in the bank that couldn't hire Muna. At least the spirit of a few can intervene to alter Muna and Farid's view of their new home.
Writer/Director Dabis based this story on her family's memories of their lives in rural America during the first Iraq War. It is a potentially painful story to experience, but Dabis fills the dialogue with enough good natured humor that the point of the film is made without excessive preaching yet enough of the realities immigrants from the Middle East face to make the film unforgettable. Excellent performances from a fine cast.
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