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East Is East (1999)

A comedy of families, a chip shop... and a very randy dog.

Starring:

Archie Panjabi

Chris Bisson

Emil Marwa

Emma Rydal

Jimi Mistry

Jordan Routledge

Kriss Dosanjh

Linda Bassett

Om Puri

Raji James

Directed by:

Damien O'Donnell

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

It’s 1971 and chip shop owner Goerge Khan (Puri) lives in Salford in the North of England with his white English wife, six sons and a daughter. His children, who were born and raised in England, follow George’s strict Muslim ways but increasingly begin to reject his rules and take on the British culture they see around them. George tries to restore order and reimpose his traditional Pakistani customs onto his unwilling sons but instead he ends up inadvertently tearing the family apart.

East is East is a very funny film that expertly mixes an interesting context ripe for satire with both clever and daft comedy. The social context is interesting in that it was a time of demographic change in England and a pivotal point for Anglo-Pakistani relations in Britain. It’s nice for this kind of thing to be explored in a light hearted way for once as the theme of racial and cultural integration is usually met with such a negative attention in film. East Is East can also be very serious especially when George becomes more and more hardline and the drama becomes increasingly harrowing and darker in tone. Importantly, East Is East is never preachy and heavy-handed.

East Is East primarily gets away with not offending people because of it’s mix of likeable characters and an upbeat nostalgic Seventies settings. Tariq (Mistry) and Maneer (Emil) are an amusing double act, Sajid is the real target of the crueller humour, the put-upon wife Ella (Bassett) shows a range of emotions and even George is kind of understandable when he goes loco. Each sibling face different challenges and pressures that many families of Pakistani origins had to put up with at this time but always in an amusing way.

It's Got: Very funny humour, great acting, interesting social context, and indeed a very randy dog

DVD Extras Trailer, deleted scenes, Director's commentary, behind the scenes footage, and cast and crew interviews - all pretty uninteresting. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Summary

This Beast from the East is quality culture clash comedy that treads the fine line between comedy and social commentary in the most amusing and inoffensive way. Deserves it’s massive popularity.

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