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Pet Sins February 2000

Amreeka

This 2009 independent film by director Charien Dabis won praise from movie critics and film festivals alike for its portrayal of immigrant and Arab American life in America given the current cultural atmosphere and attitudes towards Arab world. It is also one of a small number of films Paradise Now and West Bank Story that show the human face of Palestinian people.

Muna, a Palestinian mother and bank teller, comes to America with her teenage son Fadi after immigrating from Ramallah, Palestine. Muna is seeking better opportunities for herself and her son.

Ironically, mother and son arrive in America at the height of beginnings of the Iraq War. Just like many immigrants before her, Muna has high expectations for success, believing in the American Dream: "you can do anything."

However, the reality of life in America blows away Muna’s assumptions about America being the Land of Opportunity. She finds the country to be both strange and fascinating as she navigates a new job, building a relationship with her Palestinian American relatives and meeting a kind-hearted Jewish principal who empathizes with her difficulties of living in a new country and culture.

Meanwhile Fadi must deal with school bullies, the culture shock of fitting into a new school, and the pressures of teenage life. Welcome to America.

L.B.
Apr 2011