Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Clock Wise Productions, Inc.
Directed by Nina Froriep
DVD, color, 77 min.
Islamic studies, Children, American Studies, Sociology, American Muslim Identity, Self, Community Identity, Religion, Growing Up Muslim in America
Reviewed by Malcolm L. Rigsby, Department of Sociology, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR
Date Entered: 2/18/2011
Stark, direct, humorous and serious.
Walking in another person’s shoes, so to speak, is often considered a revealing way to better understand the life perspectives of other people. Many times what people do not understand about other groups and their cultures leads to stereotyping and exclusive attitudes. Fearing the “unknown” feeds apprehension of, or perhaps, even hate of people with particular traditions that differ from our own. This film posits that “knowledge” about others fosters understanding and acceptance of diverse traditions. In turn, this process enhances respect for other cultures and promotes cooperative multicultural relationships. In this instance the diversity discussed is Islam as a way of life in America. Knowledge about other people helps create bridges between cultures that build productive relationships. Fear, hate, and apprehension are like a wall that maintains distance and separation. Bridging gaps between diverse cultures is a primary mode to creating interaction, understanding, cooperation, and creating new means for overcoming stigma and phobias. Abraham’s Children takes a monumental step in awakening the viewer to the basic similarities shared by all human beings. This enriching film enables children, adolescents, and adults who are just like other American children, adolescents, and adults to share real life experiences. These participating Americans are Muslim by faith. They share all the same concerns, needs for identity, faith, pleasures, and aspirations of our society in general. Each seeks to balance his/her life between the lifestyle of larger society, the need to “fit in” and socialize with others, politics and religion, while yet maintaining identity. In short, people are much the same.
Social concerns, the event of 9-11, war, and fear of the unknown have led many non-Muslims in America to focus on distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims. The film openly points out that stereotypes hurt people.
Director, Nina Froriep, brings us a warm hearted, open, and inviting look at what it is to grow up Muslim in America. This film’s use of self-narrative openly describes the distinctions in Muslim and non-Muslim culture while simultaneously exposing us to the underlying similarities that all human beings share. Her point seems to be that in the midst of distinctions in group identity there is overwhelming similarity of individual identity.
Froriep’s inviting style makes Abraham’s Children a unique and viewer friendly film for individuals and groups of all ages. This is a delightful, open, non-judgmental, and sensitive look at life as an American kid. These kids just happen to be of a particular faith. Sometimes humorous, other times serious, Abraham’s Children is sure to generate much discussion and opportunity for viewers to seek to learn more through open dialogue.
This film offers fine cinematography. The audio and video are excellent. Each chapter is categorized in the menu for ease in navigation.
This film may be purchased or rented for classroom use at the Cinema Guild website and special pricing is available for grades K – 12. The film website provides a trailer and a press link. The press link contains a list of online materials, including a viewer and study guide as well as other materials to assist in evaluating the thoughts generated by this film.