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A view of the Iranian Revolution

Review by Afsaneh Moradian | April 19, 2002 | Page 13

MOVIES: Maryam, written and directed by Ramin Serry, starring Mariam Parris, David Ackert and Shaun Toub.

MARYAM TELLS the story of an Iranian teenager living in suburban New Jersey during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Maryam has little connection with the country of her birth, and less understanding of the uprising, until her cousin, Ali, a supporter of Ayatollah Khomeni and a devout Muslim, comes to stay with her.

Through Ali, Maryam gains insight about life under the Shah. Yet she continues to identify herself as an American, condemning the actions of revolutionaries during the Iran hostage crisis. It's only when intense anti-Iranian racism isolates her family that she begins to appreciate and identify with the situation in Iran.

Using TV clips from 1979, writer and director Ramin Serry depicts the rabid patriotism and racism of anti-Iran rallies, where protesters carried signs that read, "Bomb Iran." Maryam uses the warmongering and patriotism of the past to powerfully counter today's racism targeted at Arabs, Muslims and Southeast Asians.

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