Sunday, 20 October 2013

BFI London Film Festival - May in the Summer

I bought a last minute ticket for this screening as I was intrigued by the story of course but also, the setting, Jordan. I have a friend who comes from Jordan and she told me about the places there and how people were.

May in the Summer is written, directed and stars Cherien Dabis, a Palastinian American directer and screenwriter. She grew up in Ohio, USA and Jordan. Her first feature film, Amreeka, premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and won some awards on the festival circuit.  I'm always in favour of supporting female directors and screenwriters so I was excited to see May in the Summer.

May Brennan (Dabis) returns to her childhood home of Amman, Jordan for her wedding. After reuniting with her sisters, Yasmine and Dahlia (Nadine Malouf & Alia Shawkat) and her long since divorced parents, May starts to question her reasons for getting married. Along the way to making the decision of whether to continue with the wedding, home truths and secrets are discovered.

Although I was annoyed by the limp ending, the film was brilliant. I was captivated by the sisters and the time they spent together with the lead up to the wedding. The relationships between the sisters' father and mother were interesting, apart from the mother's obsession with religion. I wished that there had been more scenes with May and her new found friend Karim who organises adventure holidays for tourists. The culture clash elements of the story played a small part, being mentioned in passing conversation which I liked. It made room for the characters to have their moments.

Another element to the story was definitely the location. Beautiful shots of the landscape and the city created the perfect background for this family tale.

Cherien Dabis described the film perfectly as a 'reverse migration (Arab Americans returning to the old country) divorce drama comedy disguised as a wedding film.'

A great choice that was my middle screening of the festival. Have a look at the Facebook page for the film here.

BFI LFF MayintheSummer

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