Money Chase

All About E directed by Louise Wadley (Australia) 2014 is more than a lesbian romantic thriller. It covers many other issues as its main character, a glamorous DJ, sets out on a road trip after discovering a bag full of money. Along the way it’s revealed that her parents are Lebanese, that she gave up a promising career as a flutist, and also alienated the woman who loved her most.


Even though all the action takes place down under, the actor who plays her father is actually Greek as is the composer whose music plays throughout the film. It played in the recently concluded Frameline 39 and after it finishes the festival circuit it’ll be distributed by Wolfe Releasing.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

Becoming Israeli

A Borrowed Identity directed by Eran Riklis (Israel/Germany/France) 2014 follows a gifted, young Palestinian who reluctantly leaves his loving family home to attend an elite university in Jerusalem. The relationships he develops help him survive the challenges of a hostile environment and move forward in his life.


It screens two more times during San Francisco International Film Festival 58. Tuesday afternoon 28 April 2015 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco and Thursday night 30 April 2015 at the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley. Contact San Francisco Film Society for more information and tickets.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab USA

May In The Summer directed by Cherien Dabis (Jordan/USA/Qatar) 2013 is about an American woman who goes to Amman, Jordan for her wedding. Delays, complications, and family drama threaten to undermine what initially seemed a sensible decision.

It was the opening-night film of the 18th Annual Arab Film Festival in San Francisco and will screen again 22 November 2014 at the Museum Of Photographic Art in San Diego.


The Citizen directed by Sam Kadi (USA) 2013 focuses on the experiences of a Lebanese man who arrives in New York hopeful of beginning a new life there. Unfortunately he lands at JFK the day before 9/11 and is repeatedly challenged despite his good deeds.

Both films deal sensitively with cross-cultural issues. The first from an independent perspective, the second one more mainstream. I recommend these two films.

The Arab Film Festival continues this week in San Francisco venues and then moves to Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego. For program information and tickets contact the AFF web site.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Pity The Immigrant

Two of the narrative features that screened at the Arab Film Festival in San Francisco dealt with the immigrant experience. It’s About To Rain directed by Haider Rashid (Italy/Iraq/UAE/Kuwait) 2012 is about an Algerian family living in Italy that faces deportation. Said and his brother were both born in Florence but after their father is unemployed, the three are ordered to leave the country.


The Last Stop directed by Marcio Curi (Brazil/Lebanon) 2012 begins with the journey of two teenagers, Tarik and his brother, from Lebanon to Brazil. They travel by ship with other young people from the Middle East seeking a better life abroad. As the years pass, Tarik manages to live a fairly satisfying life. But half a century later, facing his impending death, he embarks on a journey to reconnect with his shipmates, especially Ali, who saved him from drowning.

The Last Stop screens again in Los Angeles 18 October 2013. The 17th annual Arab Film Festival resumes this coming weekend in Southern California, returning the following weekend to Oakland and Berkeley before concluding mid November in San Diego. For more information and tickets see the Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab Film Fest

The 17th annual Arab Film Festival opens at the Castro Theater in San Francisco Friday 11 October 2013 with When I Saw You (Palestine) 2012. The remaining screenings in San Francisco Saturday and Sunday will be at the Opera Plaza.


The festival moves to Los Angeles the following weekend with a full three-day schedule 18 to 20 October 2013. Screenings 25 to 27 October 2013 will be at the Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley. And the final four films will be shown at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego 16 to 17 November 2013.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Three Bites

San Miguel de Allende offers a wide range of food options including several excellent establishments with Mediterranean fare. The following are my current recommendations:

I ate twice seated on the terrace of Café Firenze (Italian) at Plaza San Antonio 2 overlooking the church. Both the potato and leek soup and the butternut squash soup were rich and delicious. The servings are relatively small at this upscale restaurant. A three-course comida one afternoon included salmon as the main course and a chocolate dessert with whipped cream and swirls of raspberry sauce.


La Brasserie (French-Mexican) is open evenings at Jesus 11 and run by the daughter of the woman who has long-run Café de la Parroquia at the same location during the day. I had a wonderful fettuccini carbonara after disappointing versions of the dish at two other local restaurants.

Fenicia (Lebanese) at Zacateros 73 serves two skewers of chicken, mushrooms and green pepper with a warm onion salad, humus and pita. While the restaurant opens at noon, the afternoon I ate there the staff was late in arriving. However it was worth the short wait for the kitchen to get into gear.

Sylvia of Greece on Wheels delivers meals ordered by phone a day in advance. Natura, the organic grocery store on Ancha San Antonio, regularly stocks her homemade spanakopita and baklava; there are flyers at the front counter with full information about her service.

image & text copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab Fest

The 16th Annual Arab Film Festival opens Thursday 11 October 2012. The screenings will take place in San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley. Man Without a Cell Phone directed by Sameh Zoabi (Palestine, Belgium, France, Qatar) 2011 is the opening night feature at the Castro Theatre.

Other festival films include: Another Night On Earth directed by David Munoz (Spain) 2012; Death For Sale directed by Faouzi Bensaïdi (Belgium, France, Morocco) 2011; Farewell Exile directed by Lamia Alami (Morocco, Switzerland, France) 2011; Letter To Sasha directed by Andoni Jaén and Javier Reverte (Morocco, Switzerland, France) 2012; My Name Is Not Ali directed by Viola Shafik (Egypt, Germany) 2011; Pegasus directed by Mohamed Mouftakir (Morocco) 2010; Private Sun (Palestine) 2011; Rough Hands directed by Mohamed Asli (Morocco) 2011; Teta directed by Merva Faddoul (Lebanon) 2011; The Virgin, The Copts, And Me directed by Namir Abdel Messeeh (France, Qatar) 2012; Words Of Witness directed by Mai Iskander (USA, Egypt) 2012; and Yamo directed by Rami Nihawi (Lebanon) 2011.

For more information and tickets contact AFF.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved