Monday, December 09, 2013

AIFF13: Detroit Unleaded - Loving, But Honest Look At Arab-Americans

How can I say it's an honest look?  What do I know about Arab-American families?  Got me there, not much.  But it feels true from what I know about a lot of other immigrant cultures in the US.  

This plays again tonight - Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 at 8pm at the Bear Tooth   - The film maker will be there. 

There's  much to like in this film.  Second generation Arab Americans are the main characters.  A host of different people.  Here are some themes that got explored so nicely in this first film by Rola Nashef.
  • Loving, but always working, husband and wife.
  • Mother and son relationship when the father is gone.
  • Young man and young woman relationship.
  • Struggles of a small business to survive.
  • Working in a bullet proof cage in a gas station/store in a high crime neighborhood.
  • Second generation immigrant and mostly American, but still strongly influenced by the old world culture.

Nothing momentous happens (well, it does, but it's the context, not the focus).  It's the focus on every day details of life working at this fading gas station struggling to stay open - the 'o' in the neon sign no longer works - 

There's a very poignant developing relationship between a girl/woman whose brother forbids her to attract any attention from any guy and the gas station guy.

While the facade is of Arab-Americans, this is just a story about human beings, told with love and care.

Here's part of the Q and A with the film maker, Rola Nashef, after the Sunday showing.

And here's the trailer:

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