In a recent article in Filmmaker Magazine, Scott Macaulay suggested filmmaker Heidi Saman’s film Namour as a trailer watch. Namour is releasing with Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY on March 1st and then being picked up by Netflix on the 15th of March.
Namour is a film about Steven Bassem, a college graduate valet driver for a nice restaurant in Los Angeles, surrounded by other people’s wealth, and stuck in a life that seems to be going nowhere. Personal relationships become strained, particularly within his formerly close Arab-American family, and Steven begins to unravel. Creator Heidi Saman describes the film on her Kickstarter as “about the decisions we make when our responsibilities begin to weigh down our convictions — and why life can feel like it’s passing us by.” Saman describes the film as a reaction originally to the recession in 2008, and a way of working through what was going on in the world, with the personal lives, jobs, and homes of many people she knew being impacted very negatively.
Picking up on a growing sense of fear and the recessions effect on self-image and dreams, she conceived Namour as an investigation of “what the ‘American Dream’ means in 2013 and how that kind of financial fear could drive someone to do some pretty uncharacteristic things.” She chose an Arab family for her protagonist because she wanted to present something about Arabs that wasn’t about lavish weddings and cultural stereotypes, terrorism, or oppressed female members of their society, because there’s a lot more material and humanity there that needs exploring than the present “comfortable” tropes.
Originally informed by producers she approached that her lack of comfortable Arab stereotypes would make the film unapproachable or unsuccessful, Saman has striven to prove them wrong, and Namour was initially released June 5th of 2016. After reading up on the article and watching the film trailer, it’s definitely something I want to see.