Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Film "David" Examines Boundaries of Interfairth/Interethnic Relations in Brooklyn

Thanks to Augusta, Georgia's Morris Museum of Art (Twitter) (Facebook) and the Southern Circuit 2013-2014 Tour of Independent Filmmakers, I was able to watch David (Twitter) (Facebook) and meet its director and producer Joel Fendelman. It premiered in 2010 at the Brooklyn Film Festival, and you can read the synopsis there.


The film moves at an entertaining pace. I might quibble with a few details here and there, but overall it felt to me to be a reasonable portrayal of a Muslim family's life in Brooklyn. I cannot speak about the reasonableness of its portrayal of Jews. Technically, I thought all the shots of New York City itself were fascinating.

The incident which leads to the film's tension is close to believable, and the resolution is uplifting without being Polyanna.

Maz Jobrani (Twitter) plays a leading role.

I found myself wistfully wishing that the world could be as beautiful as the film portrayed. I remembered an April 2013 article describing why it was difficult to maintain interracial friendships as adults. The United States is seemingly hell-bent on endless war in countries with majority Muslim populations. In the Age of Obama, more black people in the USA are incarcerated than were enslaved in 1850. Politicians deny millions of laborers the most basic right of security in their homes by not creating a pathway to citizenship in a comprehensive immigration reform package. And if I think about things happening in Muslim-majority countries, I want to enter a closet and listen to Bonny Portmore on repeat.

But if we humans stake a claim to dignity, then we can't give up simply because things didn't work out the first time tried. So, a few proposals:

1. Let us not let disagreements about one topic cause us to exaggerate conflicts in other aspects. This, to me, is the meaning of the fourth sign of hypocrisy (English). For example, many Jews in the United States support the state of Israel. I can't let that cloud my judgement about Jews in other aspects of life in the United States.

2. Where possible, don't put ideas in each others' minds about the dangers of others. Now, we must qualify this for safety reasons. Would that somebody had warned Aamadou Diallo about the trigger-happy NYPD!

3. We have to stop substituting identity for religion.

By all means, see this movie and discuss it with your friends and family.

Updated July 10, 2016. The film is now available through iTunes.