DRAMA; 1hr 37min (Arabic with subtitles and English)
STARRING: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem
Amreeka the brave: Faour and Muallem
Transplanting to another country is a radical move, especially when the culture there is chalk to your cheese. For divorced Palestinian mother Muna (Faour), the opportunity to resettle in the US with her teenage son Fadi (Muallem) is too tempting to pass up: she has rellies in Illinois and a life that is a litany of demands. So off to America — Amreeka in Arabic — Muna and Fadi fly, only to be met by an immediate financial crisis, stonewalling indifference from the locals and a family reeling from the racist ripple effect of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. With limited English and a baseline job serving burgers, proudly resourceful Muna, who back home worked in a bank, has no option to cope as best she can. Fadi fares less well, confronting prejudice at school.
While pulling no tough-luck punches, writer-director Cherien Dabis’s close-to-home debut feature is resolutely naturalistic: in her soulful sweetness, Muna is a woman you see every day. That’s no big flashy deal, and it’s also the reason why this brave endeavour works.