Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars A collision of worlds, 25 July 2013
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This review is from: Mixed Kebab [DVD] (DVD)
Mixed Kebab is so much more than a 'gay' movie. Rather it seeks to address many important contradictions within the Turkish family of its main character. That family finds itself working, living and experiencing life within a liberal democracy, yet its members are torn between tradition and the expectations of a close knit community which finds identity in that tradition and culture. Marriage is expected, and even if such is arranged (despite the advances of a modern age), the community founds its identity in concepts of traditional family, and the need to preserve ones lineage. Ironically it is this very adherence to tradition, which sets the community apart from their fellow Belgians (although not absolutely). Many find the traditional practices difficult to understand, and see their presence as contrary to the needs of the country as a whole. Accordingly, the film is infused with social commentary on bigotry, discrimination against women (within the Turkish community), race, religious fundamentalism, and indeed homosexuality.

To make matters even more contentious for that Turkish family, one of their sons identifies as Gay and finds love in the arms of Kevin, a local boy who seems devoid of any religious or cultural identity. Indeed he exudes innocence and all encompassing acceptance of everything that his Turkish lover finds great difficulty in accepting. Yet there is something that pulls the two men together, making then determined to be honest with each other and themselves. Hard decisions are made, some with devastating consequences. His family is torn apart, and despite their rejection of their gay son, their own community shuns them. Thus revealing the inherent cruelty in that tradition.

The film could have been a great deal better, and one can not help but think that several aspects of the film's commentary was purposively underplayed. Perhaps as this was a Muslim boy, torn between his own faith and that of his communities, one can understand why the Director took a reserved approach to such a subject. Islamic fundamentalism and homosexuality within a single story line, could have the net effect of alienating an audience which it ultimately seeks to target. That aside, the story deserves honesty, even if that honesty has the effect of catapulting this story into the minds-eye of that community, and forcing it to comment on the issues addressed. Unfortunately, the film was less than honest in that regard, although at times there were moments of such. Almost as if the writer had rebelled, and attempted where allowed to address those issues many would rather avoid.

All in all an important film, with two honest leading men capable of telling a story, despite the inherent weaknesses within the films approach to that story.
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