literature, cinema, fine arts

East Is East (1999)

Very British - Satires and grotesques

  • Produced by Müpa Budapest

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How does an immigrant's life look to the British eye? You might think that a couple of decades ago, this was a simpler issue. This film tells the story of a Pakistani English family. A father and husband who came to England from Pakistan at a time when the latter country didn't yet officially exist - he arrived as a subject of the British Empire. He brought his belief in Islam and his traditions along with him. Except that his children were born and raised in Salford. Are the carefully preserved values and attitude to life that he pushes on his children compatible with a modern - 1971 - British identity? Damien O'Donnell's film is more relevant than ever.

modest fish and chip shop. Yet he remains a Pakistani. He experiences the tensions between Indian and Pakistan as a personal affair, and in his heart he would prefer to live in a mini-Pakistan that reflects the morals and customs of Islam. But then what to do about his pesky - English - kids? This intersection of two cultures is at times incredibly funny, at times simply heart-wrenching. In the film, the British politician Enoch Powell, who at the end of the 1960s urged the repatriation of immigrants, appears on the TV screen. But where exactly is their true home? And what about their children, for whom English is a native language, who love eating pork and are happy to carry the crucifix during a religious procession? No less significant is the extent to which the characters in our story are governed by their principles and ideas or by the people, everyday life, neighbours and friends that surround them. Don't be surprised if this film leaves you asking plenty of new questions.

In English, with Hungarian subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screenings are conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest

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  • director
    Damien O'Donnell
  • host
    András Réz


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