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Maryam

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
Maryam

from Film Forum, 03/21/02

Cummings also highlights Maryam, perhaps the most intelligent film about a teenager to come to the big screen in a long time. While most teens are in line for American Pie 2, "Maryam," says Cummings, "is a breath of fresh air."

Maryam (Mariam Parris) is an Iranian teenager living in New York, trying to deal with conflicting thoughts during the events of 1979, as the U.S. gives refuge to the former shah of Iran and holds its breath while Islamic militants hold Americans hostage.

"The film demonstrates the way religious beliefs can both inspire and constrain individuals," Cummings explains. "Despite its unassuming style, the film has important things to say to Americans about Iranian American life and the way patriotism can often become a form of intimidation—a good perspective to remember during current events. It's a thoughtful film, especially for teenagers, that should not be missed by families seeking accessible, well-crafted movies for discussion."

Mainstream critics are starting to carry the torch as well. Andrew O'Hehir (Salon.com) writes, "This movie may not have the highest production values you've ever seen, but it's the work of an artist, one whose view of America, history and the awkwardness of human life is generous and deep."

from Film Forum, 04/25/02

One recently acclaimed foreign title underlines the problem of the American media's misrepresentation of Arab peoples—the recent American-made film Maryam, directed by Ramin Serry. Set during the Iran hostage crisis, the film offers the perspective of an Iranian American teen who must deal with the news, the negative stereotypes, and conflicting sympathies.

Doug Cummings praises Maryam: "In many ways, the film speaks to historical questions of identity that surely confront many Iranians, both in America and abroad. If the film highlights one of the major world events of modern times and its impact on American culture, it inevitably asks the question Where have we come since? Despite its unassuming style, the film has important things to say to Americans about Iranian American life and the way patriotism can often become a form of intimidation—a good perspective to remember during current events. It's a thoughtful film, especially for teenagers, that should not be missed by families seeking accessible, well-crafted movies for discussion."

To read an interview with Ramin Serry, visit Iranian.com.


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