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21/11/2017

Generational conflict as traditions questioned

ALI'S WEDDING: Helena Sawires stars in Ali's wedding. (Photo James Brickwood, SMH). The Goulburn Film Group screening is on Sunday, November 26 at the Lilac City Cinema at CHECK TIME.
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The Goulburn Film Group's November movie is 'Ali's Wedding' the winner of the Audience Award at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.

This delightfully funny, charming Australian comedy is based on the true story of Osamah Sami and his cleric father Mahdi. Ali (played by Osamah Sami) wants to please his father (Don Hany). However, despite his lofty intentions, Ali seems incapable of making the right decisions.

When Ali fails to gain the mark required to enter medical school - and desperate to impress his dad - Ali fakes success by lying about his score. He starts attending University without being enrolled in Medicine on the hope that he will perform so well he will be allowed to continue.

On top of this deceit Ali wants to marry the woman of his dreams, an intelligent and sardonic Australian-born Muslim named Dianne (superbly played by Helena Sawires). She is studying medicine.

Smitten, Ali is more than prepared to fabricate a reason the study alongside her.

The complication is Ali is betrothed to another; the 'acceptable' Yomma (Maha Wilson).

Ultimately, this complex web of lies and deceit starts to unravel setting off a catastrophic chain of events. Ali soon finds himself caught between his sense of duty to his family and following his heart.

The film is centred around the lives and families of a Melbourne mosque and poignantly focuses on the balancing act that immigrant families must carefully undertake as they attempt to 'fit in' but retain their culture.

At the same time the film deftly explores the discomfort Ali and his friends have with their parents' traditions. Questioning - and sometimes rejecting - the 'old way' while being respectful of them.

In this sense Ali's Wedding speaks to all cultures: as the younger generation undertakes its rite of passage and in doing so questions the accepted traditions.

As well, telling lies to family members so as not to hurt their feelings is universal and we can all readily share in Ali's pain, especially as Ali's lie begins to expand.

Ali's Wedding will have you with a grin on your face for most of the time but there are also tender moments.

The script is incisive and outstandingly nuanced delivering a cleverly constructed comedy that tugs at the heartstrings as it touches the funny bone.

It has the correct balance between comedic energy and realistic pathos. For example, at one stage Ali exhorts Dianne to run away with him to America. 'Hollywood always needs people like us to play terrorists!' he eagerly argues.

At the core of what makes Ali's Wedding a standout is the relationship between the characters and the realism this engenders as they wrestle with the vagaries of the human condition.

Ali's Wedding - the first Muslim romantic-comedy - is irreverent and warm-hearted.

It is an affectionate and entertaining story of love and duty, which will touch the heart of all those who see it.

I guarantee Sami and Dianne will win you over and Ali's Wedding will become another iconic Australian classic in the mould of The Castle, Dundee and Priscilla.Read more at:wedding gowns melbourne

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