Miguel (Benny Emmanuel) is a young and solitary man who's life runs away in a monotonous routine that involves working in a public typing service office, taking care of his mother and dreaming of Carmela (Renée Sabina), one of his regular clients that comes back everyday to write a new letter for her boyfriend. One day this "perfect" bubble of dissatisfaction pops away when he founds his mother ... See full summary »
Beautiful Things is a journey into our obsessive consumption. The many objects we accumulate and we believe to be essential begin their production journey in silent secluded industrial and ... See full summary »
Andrea Pavoni Belli,
After a hard working day in the field, the heavens open and a ferocious storm breaks out. When the rain eases off, life sprouts from the previously barren soil. A piece of fruit grows, ... See full summary »
Abdelkader is a watchman and Malika is a house maid. They were just married and are madly in love. Despite money problems, they dream of moving in and starting their love life together. One... See full summary »
In 2017, a stage performance is scheduled in a small town. The young actors are to present British playwright Simon Stephens' "Morning" for the first time in Japan. The savage play has been... See full summary »
Love intertwines at the wrong time. Sei and Ling, former masseuses in Macau, in retrospect, had the best time together. Decades after, Sei learns that her late best friend has kept a secret she never knew...
When the famous detective Nick Carter visits Prague, he becomes involved in strange case of a missing dog and even stranger carnivorous plant. He becomes convinced that he is standing ... See full summary »
Virgin twenty-something girl is neat, talented and professional, although almost too much of all these. She is an office lady who still romanticizes a school-mate, but has the opportunity ... See full summary »
A historical romance set in the Mughal Empire. Selima (Enakshi) is a princess-foundling raised by a potter and loved by her brother, Shiraz (Rai). She is abducted and sold as a slave to ... See full summary »
The plastic artist-director César Aréchiga recreates the living room and studio of his house inside the maximum security prison of Puente Grande Jalisco, Mexico. Fifteen interns, by ... See full summary »
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
There were no White Castles in Winnepeg, where it was filmed, so the White Castle company had the supplies for one trucked there. It never sold food, but people kept trying to order from it. See more »
Interviews and luggage searches are performed by people with "Airport Security" patches on their uniforms. These jobs would be performed by Customs officers and Immigration officers. See more »
Amreeka (the Arabic word for America) is a humorous and warm-hearted first feature from Cherien Dabis that follows a Palestinian woman, Muna (Nisreen Faour) and her sixteen-year-old son, Fadi (Melkar Muallem) from the checkpoints of the West Bank to the checkmates of racial animosity in a small town in Illinois near Chicago. Set in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War, Muna leaves Bethlehem because she desires a better life for her son and can no longer put up with overbearing Israeli police, the harangues of her elderly mother, and reminders of her philandering ex-husband. The opening sequence in which Muna is ecstatic about receiving her Green Card in the mail and says tearful goodbyes to her family on her way to America joyously captures the closeness of family and their caring for each other in a lighthearted manner.
Unfortunately in the rest of the film things do not go as well for the young family. They have to deal with numerous incidents of overt and covert racism including bullying at school as they try to adjust to a new home and a new country. Things start off badly when Muna and Fadi are harassed for three hours at the airport by Israeli customs and a tin box filled with cookies and all of their savings are handed over by Fadi to customs officials. Fadi does not say anything to his mother about this (a most unlikely circumstance) and the loss is only discovered after the two arrive at the home of relatives in Illinois. From there, things go steadily south. Muna tries to get a job in her profession in a bank but is rejected by employers who look at all Arabs as potential terrorists.
Ending up working at a burger joint, Muna conceals her employment from her relatives, pretending to work at a bank close to the restaurant, but her shame is apparent. Meanwhile Fadi is tormented by school bullies who call him Osama and her relatives begin to bicker over their increased expenses at the time when the family breadwinner, a physician (Yussef Abu Warda), is losing clients because of his Arab appearance. While people need to be reminded of the hurt of racism and the Arabs contribution to the world, Amreeka offers one contrived subplot after another in which Americans are caricatures of either hate-filled racists or Christ-like saviors like Mr. Novatski (Joseph Ziegler), Fadi's principal (who happens to be Jewish).
What could have been an excellent opportunity to explore the problems of assimilation or the treatment of minorities instead becomes a litany of clichés. There is no mention of 9-11, issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the problem of bullying in schools, and the possibility of involving teachers, school officials, or even the neighborhood church in helping the immigrant family to cope are not examined. While Amreeka has moments of charm and likability and the performances are excellent, the exercise quickly becomes a big screen version of "As the World Turns", doomed by an overly simplistic approach in which victimization substitutes for cooperation in finding solutions.
12 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this