General · 17th March 2010
March 19th, 7:45 at Quadra Community Centre.
Muna Farah, a Palestinian single mum, struggles to maintain her optimistic spirit in the daily grind of intimidating West Bank checkpoints, the constant nagging of a controlling mother, and the shadows of a failed marriage. Reluctant to leave her homeland, but knowing it may be the only future for her teenage son, Muna quits her bank job and heads to Illinois.
The film is set in 2003, at the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, so the Arab experience in America is fraught with extra tension. Discovery that she has exchanged one set of checkpoints for another doesn't prevent Muna—an archetypical maternal survivor straight out of Italian neorealism—from buckling down to the business of survival. What distinguishes Amreeka is a superb cast and the director's ability to tell her tale with unexpected humour.
The film's perspective is firmly with the newcomers. The dialogue switches on a dime from Arabic to English, signalling the constant juggling act of acclimating migrants. But there's nothing bitter or cynical about Amreeka. The film's impish wit, visual competence, and open, conciliatory spirit make this an intricately textured and compelling film.