Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigate... more »s high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle. Told with heartfelt humor by writer-director Cherien Dabis in her feature film debut, Amreeka is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home. Amreeka recalls Dabis's family's memories of their lives in rural America during the first Iraq War. The film stars Haifa-trained actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, and Melkar Muallen plays her 16-year-old son, Fadi. Also in the cast are Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Yussef Abu-Warda and Joseph Ziegler. Written and directed by Cherien Dabis, Amreeka was produced by Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin. Alicia Sams, Dabis and Gregory Keever were executive producers; Liz Jarvis and Al-Zain Al-Sabah were co-producers. Amreeka made its world premiere in dramatic competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and played as Opening Night of New Directors/New Films, a co-presentation of The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Amreeka made its debut internationally in Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.« less
A woman from the Middle East struggles to make a living on the West Bank but when she gets a notice that tells her that she has won a lottery for a United States Green Card her life takes a dramatic turn. Now she must decide if she and her son should come to America in search of a better life. She decides to make the trip and leaves her mother and brother behind but she soon understands that that life in Amreeka is not at all what she had imagined it to be. She is the victim of prejudice wherever she goes as does her son and her relatives in the Midwest that she stays with. What we learn from the film is the importance of family and that we make sacrifices for those that are important to us. We see what life is life for those living in "Palestine" and also what it is like for those who emigrate. We also see Arabs portrayed as people and not as terrorists and we see the racism that they feel. The movie is warm-hearted and humorous. Muna (Nisreen Faour) and Fadi (Melkar Muallem), her sixteen year old son are our main characters and we follow them from the checkpoints of the West bank to the racial prejudice in a small town near Chicago. Muna is from Bethlehem and she really wants a better life for her and her child. We see that not all Arabs are Muslims and we learn that Arabs in Bethlehem are Christians. The movie begins by showing us the tight knit family and this is a contrast to American life in many cases. However our mother was not prepared for life in America and we see that the vision of this country being a land "of milk and honey" does not ring true. We see persecution based on ethnicity and we see how Arab immigrants are treated here. This is not a story of prejudice but it is a story of reality. This is also not a political film but a look at something we know too little about. The actors are quite good and I must say that as an Israeli with my own inborn prejudices, I found this film to be quite good."
Dr. Peter J. Glassman | Vancouver, British Columbia | 10/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Amreeka" is a masterpiece: heartbreaking, moving, complex, fierce, tender. Extraordinary writing, sublime acting, and haunting visual and aural landscapes. This work brings to one of the most tragic situations in contemporary history a most sophisticated, generous moral imagination: outrage, understanding, anguish, humor.
"Amreeka" will transform every viewer's percepts. Please see it."
This is a must-see and a must-own!
Lisa Kosowski | 01/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewers (Peter & Amos) pretty much covered it in their reviews. This film has all the charm, warmth, and humor of "Big Fat Greek Wedding," but it also has more depth. Buy the DVD, watch it, then watch it again and again with friends and family and discuss it. Then take action: "You must be the change you want to see in this world.""
Slow Moving and Predictable
Cary B. Barad | Baltimore, MD | 05/04/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The lead female character played her role very well, but the story itself and the drama it entailed were not strong enough to maintain one's interest at a high level for nearly 2-hours. In fact, the "new immigrant tale" is a universal one that has been told many times before, and I found nothing really new here. The only interesting aspect was the Middle Eastern political context--which was not presented in any real depth. Although this DVD could well have some appeal to those with an interest in Arab-American culture and language, I don't believe it will attract a wider viewing public."
A Palestinian immigrant in Bush-Cheney America
ShriDurga | 03/02/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Amreeka is a charming film about the modern Arab immigrant experience. Built around a cast of well imagined and sensitively portrayed characters and set in the initial days of the US invasion of Iraq, it follows a Palestinian mother and her teenage son as they learn to sort through the problems typical of many immigrants - loss of a support network, dependence on locals or established immigrants, the inability to transfer qualifications and skills, and indifference or even hostility from members of the host culture. The experience is exacerbated in Amreeka by the ethnic chauvinism fomented and unleashed in the run-up to the Bush-Cheney invasion - a threatening note left in a mailbox, canceled contracts, disappearing customers, as well as verbal and physical intimidation. Bitter as that experience was, and as tempting as it may have been to lecture, the director never falls into polemicizing but stays focused on the characters. One of the mother's unexpected sources of friendship and help in navigating her new world is a Polish Jew. Practically speaking a one-woman production from writer-director Cherien Dabis, Amreeka is a lovely film that falls flat only in the end. It seems the story does not so much reach a conclusion as it does to simply end, leaving you with the impression there may have been more to tell."