Thursday, November 16, 2023

Crashing Eid

Two reasons why I stuck with "Crashing Eid" (2023).  First, popular CBC star Hamza Haq (more on him later).  Second, a unique situation--prejudice revealed as a British Pakistani wants to marry a Saudi divorced mother.  If such things don't appeal to you feel free to skip this.  It is mostly light and enjoyable to watch.

We first see Razan leaning her head on Sameer's shoulder in what we learn is a London movie theater.  Then we see a 15 year old girl, Lamar sneak off.  Razen decides this is a good time to propose marriage.  The daughter comes back as a sort of cheerleader.  Sameer is surprised, but not at all upset.  He was only concerned that her parents would not approve of a British Pakistani to marry their Saudi daughter.  

Razan flies to Jeddah to prepare her parents and Sameer decides to follow unannounced.  In Jeddah we meet her brother Sofyan who just divorced and is trying to gain greater rights to visit his son.  We also meet Razan's aunt whose son had married (and abused) Razan.  We meet the ex husband and his new wife and new child.  Her parents are against the match and a phone call to Sameer's father brings yet another objector to the match.  

Although both Pakistanis and Saudis are Muslim they each look down on the other.  There are a lot of Pakistanis (and other Muslims) working in Saudi Arabia and it seems likely prejudice is easing.

You might imagine it has some sort of happy ending, but there are a few obstacles and side issues confronted.  Eid is the end of Ramadan when relatives gather to share a meal together.  There is quite the mix and "crashing" will be better understood.

 I have had the honor of attending an Eid meal with my sister in Brossard, Quebec.  It is a big deal among Muslims and I felt humbled to be included.  A little earlier my sister had made a dinner for me while she, her husband Ali and two daughters Samia and Leila fasted.

Ali Alattas is the creator, director and writer with two film credits.

 Said Zagha is the second director with two other credits.  He is based in the United Kingdom of Palestinian background.  Studied film and English at Kenyon College in Ohio and went onto earn a master's degree in screenwriting at the London Film School.

Nora Aboushousha is a co-creator, writer, show runner and producer.  She has 3 credits as a writer,  but also for producing and directing.   Has been involved writing scripts

Sara Al Ghabra was producer.  She was a co-writer and show runner for television series on pan Arab networks.  

Suad Bushnaq was in charge of the music.  She has been strongly praised by Hans Zimmer.  Has 44 film credits.  An international award winner.

Hamza Haq plays Sameer.  Not recognized at first because I am used to him speaking in a thick Arab accent on a favorite tv series, "Transplant" (2020-2023).  In that show he plays a Syrian refugee who is a doctor in Toronto.  Here he is playing a British Pakistani with a definite British accent. speaking both Arabic and English.  He was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia of Pakistani parents who moved him at age 9 to Ottawa, Ontario.   He is listed as speaking Urdu, English and French, but I would guess he also speaks Arabic.  Graduated from Carleton University.  Has 43 film credits including "Bon Cop Bad Cop" (2006).

Summer Shesha played Razan.  She has 7 film credits mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Khalid Alharbi played Hasan, Razan's father.  He has 4 credits as an actor and 6 as a writer.  He is one of the few Saudi actors to cross over to other Arab nations.

Yasir Alsaggaft played the brother, Sofyan.  He has four film credits.

I would like to add one actress to the list--Bateel Nabeel who played the daughter.  She was delightful.

We are used to seeing lots of films about racial and religious prejudice and perhaps they help break down some ignorant attitudes to benefit everyone.  Prejudice is universal and a little self reflection incriminates us all.  "Crashing Eid" brings our attention to another example of prejudice (which just means pre judging), but does so with a light hand.  It is available on Netflix subtitled, but also including a fair amount of English dialogue.

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