I wanted to show that ultimately home is wherever we choose to make it. Because for a lot of us, home has to be whatever and wherever we want it to be.
Director Cherien Dabis’s auspicious debut feature, AMREEKA, is a warm and lighthearted film about one Palestinian family’s tumultuous journey into Diaspora amidst the cultural fallout of America’s war in Iraq. Muna Farah, a Palestinian single mom, struggles to maintain her optimistic spirit in the daily grind of intimidating West Bank checkpoints, the constant nagging of a controlling mother, and the haunting shadows of a failed marriage. Everything changes one day when she receives a letter informing her that her family has been granted a U.S. green card. Reluctant to leave her homeland, but realizing it may be the only way to secure a future for Fadi, her teenage son, Muna decides to quit her job at the bank and visit her relatives in Illinois to see about a new life in a land that gives newcomers a run for their money. Dabis weaves an abundance of humor and levity into this tale of struggle, displacement, and nostalgia and draws an absorbing and irresistibly charming performance from actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, who stands at the heart of this tale. AMREEKA glows with the truth and magic of everyday life and signals the arrival of an exciting, new directorial talent.Sundance Film Festival 2009
I wanted to show that ultimately home is wherever we choose to make it: home is family; home is the familiar voice of our mothers on the other end of the telephone. I wanted the film to end with the sense that Muna would do whatever she had to do to create a sense of home for both herself and her son. Because for a lot of us, home has to be whatever and wherever we want it to be. Cherien Dabis