Ali's Wedding is the true story – "unfortunately", as the advertising tagline says – of an Iraqi Muslim family who left during the time of Saddam Hussein, took refuge in Iran but eventually migrated to Melbourne.
In case anyone was wondering about the truth of the story, there are many photos before the final credits of the actual characters on whom the story is based.
At the centre of the story is Ali, played quite engagingly by actor and comedian Osama Sami, who also collaborated with highly-awarded Australian writer Andrew Knight on the screenplay.
The tone is set instantly – an open paddock outside Melbourne, a tractor coming over the hill, Ali in wedding clothes frantically driving the tractor and then the police in pursuit.
In reality, most Australians have very little idea about migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers from the Middle East. There have been a number of powerful documentaries about the plight of boat people sent to Manus Island and Nauru and the conditions they have experienced there and the stances of Australian politicians and public opinion.
But, what about day-to-day living in Melbourne? The older generation, in this case father and mother, with Don Hany impressive as the father, leader of those who gather at the local mosque (men in one part, women in the other) who pray, discuss, and put on plays.
Values from original countries are preserved. Yet, the importance of multicultural interactions in Australia are highlighted. And, of course, this is especially true of the younger generation – Aussie clothes, Aussie accents and ocker language.
One of the main themes of the film is truth and lies. It takes only one small lie and the consequences are enormous.
Some audiences might feel a bit apprehensive about the broadly drawn characters and dialogue, fearful that this might be something of a putdown. But, the spirit is so exuberant, inviting the broad audience to share in the satiric touches, the spoof, the funny situations, even the cultural customs and the overdoing of them, that most audiences will be satisfyingly entertained and horizons opened towards Muslims just that bit more widely.
Of course, getting to know people makes all the difference.
– Reviewed by Peter Malone, ACOFB
Ali's Wedding Starring Osama Sami, Don Hany, Helana Sawires, Rodney Afif. Directed by Jeffrey Walker. 110 minutes. Rated M (Mature themes and coarse language).
Ali's Wedding (ACOFB)
MORE FILM REVIEWS
2017 Film Reviews (ACOFB)