Director Cherien Dabis's auspicious debut feature, Amreeka, is a warm and lighthearted film about one Palestinian family's tumultuous journey into Diaspora amidst the cultural fallout of America's war in Iraq.
Country of Origin: USA Language: English w/ English subtitles for foreign language segments Duration: 96 minutes Rating: M Director: Cherien Dabis Starring: Nisreen Faour, Hiam Abass, Alia Shawkat Australian release: 2009
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 haunting shadows of a failed marriage. Everything changes one day when she receives a letter informing her that her family has been granted a U.S. Green Card. Reluctant to leave her homeland, but realising it may be the only way to secure a future for Fadi, her teenage son, Muna decides to quit her job at the bank and visit her relatives in Illinois to see about a new life in a land that gives newcomers a run for their money... Do they have what it takes to successfully occupy the heartland?
Dabis weaves an abundance of humor and levity into this tale of struggle, displacement, and nostalgia and draws an absorbing and irresistibly charming performance from actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, who stands at the heart of this tale. Amreeka glows with the truth and magic of everyday life and signals the arrival of an exciting, new directorial talent.
FESTIVALS & AWARDS
Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight) WINNER FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize – Cannes Film Festival Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival Official Selection – Melbourne International Film Festival Official Selection – Sydney International Film Festival
'... genuinely lovable little slice- of- life drama.' Leigh Paatsch- Herald Sun
4 STARS '...humour...enhanced by believable performances...most notably by wonderful Nisreen Faour.' Des Partridge – The Courier Mail
'Faour’s performance ...is simply beautiful.' Paul Byrnes - Sydney Morning Herald
'...it’s the humanity of the work that makes it resonate and the insight into a culture closed to most Australian that make it illuminating.' Andrew Urban – Urban Cinefile
'...a heartfelt and engaging film' Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
'Amreeka...one of those gems that takes on serious themes and packages them into something that’s often amusing and genuinely entertaining.' '...an enriching film filled with humour and hope.' Annette Basile – Filmink
'Amreeka is a heartwarming film...When this woman smiles, you want it to be on you' Roger Ebert.com
'Amreeka stands alongside The Visitor and Maria Full of Grace as one of the most accomplished recent films about a non-European immigrant coming to the United States...Amreeka believes in people, and its faith rubs off on you.' Stephen Holden - New York Times
'Director Cherien Dabis has made a truly transcendent drama with her latest work' 'Amreeka... as inspiring as it is intriguing' Devin Heller – NWI Times
'...a small film of surpassing quality...has the kind of warm touch and playful disposition...' Kenneth Turan – www.latimes.com
'...vibrant energy, balanced politics and droll humour...Enormously appealing turn by earthy Nisreen Faour in the lead role of Muna...' Rob Nelson – Variety
'one of the most accomplished recent films about a non-European immigrant... The film’s upbeat tone reflects the resilience and sunny temperament of Muna, who as embodied by Ms. Faour is the kind of warm, lovable woman you want to hug.' Stephen Holden - The New York Times
'This slice of American life, as seen through the eyes of Palestinian immigrants, is nuanced, engaging and authentically observed. Though some of the bias they endure is predictable, the unfolding of Muna and Fadi's subtly uplifting saga is not'. Claudia Puig - _ USA Today
'This small gem takes a basically optimistic view about the struggles that generations of immigrants have endured' Lou Limenick – New York Post
'Dabis..has thoroughly re-energised the genre with refreshing wit, honest emotions, incisive observations and a perfect cast.' Kirk Honeycutt – The Hollywood Reporter
'The film is anchored in Ms Faour’s wonderful portrayal of a warm-hearted, self-reliant woman...' Stephen Holden – The New York Times
'Dabis...makes us laugh at ourselves and in turn, each other.' Scott Foundas – www.laweekly.com
'...there’s an authenticity to Amreeka that can’t be faked, an artless purity especially in the winning performance of Nisreen Faour as the unsinkable Muna, and a bright warmth of storytelling that announces the filmmaker as a talent to watch.' Lisa Schwarzbaum – Hollywood Insider