Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

East is East

Damien O'Donell(1999)

United Kingdom

Genre: Comedy, Coming-of-age story
Language: English

This film is available as a DVD in the Project Library at Royal Holloway, University of London

Salford, 1971. Proud Pakistani chip shop owner George Khan lives in a terraced house with his white wife Ella and their seven children. Determined to raise them as traditional Muslims, George sends sons Nazir, Abdul, Tariq, Saleem, Maneer and Sajid to the mosque and makes daughter Meenah dress in saris. However the kids will not submit quietly.

When George arranges a marriage for the eldest son Nazir, he flees mid-ceremony. Undeterred, George plots to bring Tariq and Abdul into line by marrying them to the daughters of Bradford butcher Mr Shah. When Tariq discovers the plan, he smashes the gold watches George has brought as wedding gifts. Maneer refuses to tell George who was responsible. When Ella tries to stop George beating Maneer George turns on her. Nazir returns home but a bruised Ella tells him to leave before George gets back.

The next day the uptight Shahs pay a visit with their daughters. Art student Saleem arrives with his latest artwork - a lifesize, latex pudenda - which accidentally falls into Mrs Shah's lap. As the Shahs leave in disgust, George turns on Ella, who tells him that if he can't accept his family as they are he should leave. He does. Ella finds a tearful George sitting alone in the chip shop. They drink a cup of tea together.

(Synopsis from BFI Screen online/Sight & Sound)

For further details and comments on East is East, see BFI Screen online

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 02 May 2008 • Discuss this Film

Last edited: 02 05 2008 - Designed by PageToScreen