Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"The Infidel": a satire about an adopted Muslim who finds out his birth origin

In 2010, Tribeca (with corporate sponsorship from American Express for all films) showed and distributed a satire “The Infidel”, about a London businessman living as a “relaxed” Muslim who finds out, when his mother dies and he cleans out her effects, that he had been adopted and that (according to a government office he visits, with some anger) his birth parents had been Jewish.  That’s not easy to take, even if he had more or less rejected Wahhabism,  maybe more out of laziness than political conviction. The film, directed by Josh Appignanesi, was produced by Slinghot, Mef Film, and Salt, stars Omid Djalili as Mahmud Nasir, the businessman.  His son Rashid (Amit Shah) plans to marry Uzma  (Soraya Radford), the stepdaughter of a local Muslim fundamentalist cleric, Ashad (Yigar Naor); and for some time Mahmud has known he would have to be on “best behavior” to get the “father’s” approval for the marriage.

Mahmud learns a lot about his “other” heritage from Jewish neighbor  Lenny (Richard Schiff).

Of course, the movie raises all the questions about tribalism and blood lineage.    There is a climactic meeting where Mahmud hides in the audience under a burqa.  After some  confrontations like those of a Shakespearian comedy, the movie ends with a Pakastani interfaith wedding.

The official site for the movie is here.  

Tribeca’s trailer:

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