My Son the Fanatic

Don't let this diamond-bright gem slip between the cracks. Hanif Kureishi, best known for My Beautiful Launderette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, wrote the screenplay, about the cultural conflict between a father and son. It's been twenty-five years since Parvez (Om Puri) left Pakistan for England, where he supports his wife and son by driving a taxi. Parvez's assimilation of Western culture includes scotch, Louis Armstrong records and an affair with a prostitute, Bettina, well played by Hilary and Jackie Oscar nominee Rachel Griffiths. Although Parvez struggles against racism, those battles seem small next to the war waged against him by his teenage son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha), who turns on his father and his adopted land to join a sect of Islamic fundamentalists. Director Udayan Prasad is scrupulously fair about the feelings of all involved, but it's Parvez who draws most on our sympathies in this moving, painfully funny film. In Om Puri's award-caliber performance, the price of happiness is rendingly observed.