East Is East Movie Review

This movie tells us the story of a Pakistani migrant who experiments troubles finding a compromise between his integration and keeping his roots. Indeed, we understand his will to impose his family a strict Pakistani culture at the very beginning of the movie, when he pushes his eldest son in an arranged marriage. His family is obviously reluctant to his conservative vision, which leads the whole family to stand up against the father when he tries to organize arranged marriages for two of his other sons.
Hence, we are being presented successively two different facets of this character. On the one hand, a narrow-minded and over-conservative person, which makes him a brutal husband (the climax of this movie might be when he beats his wife, which marks a real turning point for the relations among the family) and an oppressive father. The realisator managed to create a complex character around who the movie is articulated. As a matter of fact, his presence is tangible throughout the movie, even among the scenes which are shot through the children’s point of view.
With hindsight, this movie is about a man torn between his desire of integration (we might note his pride when he talks about his owning a business) and the fear of losing his roots. We eventually feel that he just wishes the best for his family, which is why he imposes his vision of life. Though, we might see a part of egoism in his acts, as the strict way he is raising his kids is also a way for him to compensate the distance with his own country .

The numerous points of view proposed give texture to this movie, and animates the underlying issues; it comes to say the cultural and generational clash. Even though the subject is quite serious and sad, the realisator succeeded in making this movie lively, and rather optimistic. Many scenes are very dramatic and include a lot of humour. Furthermore, it offers a progressive outlook through the « happy ending » and the evolution of points of view from one generation to an other (Ernest’s tolerance Vs it’s grand-father’s intolerance).
Finally, we might also think of the scene when Sajid gets his hood ripped off to represent the father’s openness to his family’s expectations. Indeed, in a previous scene shot from Sajid’s point of view, the hood gives a very narrow and vaginal-shaped view angle. Therefore, this scene might be applied to his father, the loss of the hood symbolising both the loss of his blinkers and the cut of his umbilical cordon. Thus, it suggests the birth of a brand new man and the entrance in a new era for his family.

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