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Cherien Dabis, 2009
USA/Canada/Palestine | 96 minutes
New York-based filmmaker Cherien Dabis’s miraculous first feature is a humanist drama inflected with humor. Amreeka chronicles a bittersweet adjustment to a multicultural way of life after Muna, a single mother from Ramallah, and Fadi, her teenage son, move to Middle America. The problem is their timing: they arrive in the U.S. just as the U.S. enters Baghdad. How mother and son cope with each other and adjust to the “American” relatives who welcome them is as much the revelatory subject of Amreeka as is their reactions to the strange behavior of ordinary people in this land of liberty. Amreeka neatly describes the Palestinian Diaspora in terms of non-belonging and introduces American audiences to the marvelous, Haifa-trained actress Nisreen Faour in a fearless performance.