Monday, July 18, 2011

MIFF, take 3

Today I saw Fordson: Faith - Fasting - Football.

It's an interesting examination of a predominantly Arab-American football team in Dearborn, Michigan (Fordson High School is 98% Arab). As the title implies, it covers the technical challenges of playing football during Ramadan. But, perhaps more interestingly, the impact of 9-11 on this "non-diverse" (as stated in the film) community. According to the 2000 census, 33% (over 32000) of Dearborn is of Arab decent. That's the largest congregation of Arabs anywhere outside of the Middle East. As such, there is obviously a strong Arab (and Muslim) presence. A strong community. A sense of belonging. Of safety. Something that was crushed in 2001 when some people couldn't differentiate between what it means to be a terrorist and what it means to be Arab or Muslim.

And it was at this point in the film that I started to get frustrated and angry. September 11 was a horrible day in our history. Horrible things happened. Things for which there is no justification. And things for which the responsible parties should be held accountable. Despite that, I just can't understand how anyone - even in the wake of tragedy - can attribute the actions of a few extremists to an entire religion and/or ethnicity. I cannot handle that kind of ignorance.

{Stepping off the soap box now.}

So there was the whole religious, cultural, political, social, religious aspect to the film. And then there was football. Yay, football! The film ends with a game against Fordson's cross-town rivals, Dearborn High School (who also has an Arab population, just not as large). It was almost as if we were watching an actual football game. I got really excited. A sign that football season needs to get here!

The end of the film was a little heavy-handed. The message itself is a good one ("we too are Americans"), but as my friend Erin pointed out, it was a bit too much like a Ford truck commercial. One with flashy, over-dramatized shots of the pickup being strong and resilient while it hurtles over boulders and tows airplanes. And, of course, ends with an American flag blowing in the wind. An overly "RAR! AMERICA!" sentiment, if you will.

Though a weak, if not laughable ending, I recommend seeing the film. It's already available to save on Netflix.

Plus: Their mascot is a tractor (Tractor Power!) and there is a Fordson Rap. How can you go wrong?

No comments:

Post a Comment