My Brother The Devil

Sally el Hossainy’s debut film, My Brother the Devil, has been getting some positive reviews. The film is about “British Arabs on the streets of gangland London” but its not just another crime film set in the East End, dealing with issues of race and gender identity with deftness and subtlety. As The Independent review notes, it goes beyond being “another dose of urban malaise.”

The Guardian  describes it as “an athletic, loose-limbed piece of movie-making, not perfect, but bursting with energy and adrenaline.” The Telegraph calls it  “an eloquent and intensely cinematic debut.”

i haven’t seen many films featuring Arabs as immigrants. One might be Cherien Dabis’s Amreeka, but that film told the typical immigrant story  in a warm comedy featuring a single mother and her son who struggle to fit into their new world. The overdone, deliberate corniness is summed up in the line “life’s best adventures are journeys of the heart.”

Some other films featuring Arabs as immigrants:

The Citizen: An Arab immigrant wins the U.S Green Card Lottery, arriving in NY City on Sep10, 2001.

Detroit Unleaded: An ambitious Lebanese-American youth is forced to take over his family’s gas station after his father’s death.

Monsieur Lazhar: At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. (French, of course)

American Arab: Seamlessly weaving historical footage, animation, as well as real-life scenes of people living as Arabs in the U.S., the film will put a human face on the vague complexities of racism in post-9/11 America.

American East: a 2008 American drama film about Arab-Americans living in Los Angeles after the September 11 attacks.

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