Done with watching the mega-budget summer movies: Harry Potter, Hairspray and Transformers? Now what about a small independent romantic comedy about a Jewish New Yorker in love with a Moslem-Kurd refugee? Interesting subject, isn’t it?
David and Layla’s Kurdish director Jay Jonroy takes the monumental task of balancing the complexities of a cross-cultural love story against its political and religious contradictions. Two hours of cheery entertainment to discover that there really aren’t any contradictions after all. We have more similarities than differences.
Shiva Rose as (Layla) gives an outstanding performance as a charming, free spirited Kurdish refugee who loves to dance and enjoys a glass of wine now and then. Nothing unusual for most Moslem women I know. But I bet a shocker to your average western audience’s image of a Moslem woman. David Moscow (David) is also terrific as a Jewish TV reporter who surrenders to Layla’s love in spite of his faith and family’s disappointment.
To critique the traditional values of both cultures (Moslem and Jewish) and try to remain impartial, sometimes the comedy leans toward slapstick and stereo-typing which loses harmony with the film’s history lessons and political and humanitarian messages. But it is all done in good spirit which makes David and Layla engaging and enjoyable to watch. Given today’s political and social climate, artistic efforts and films like Daivd and Layla need to be supported. The idea is a universal one and as important as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was in the 60s.
David and Layla opened in Southern California, Detroit and Nashville this weekend and will be distributed in all major cities in the U.S.�
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