Directed by Ali Ahmed/Reviewed by Adva Reichman
I’m not implying the cinema whether the film is good or bad. I’m telling that if the concept of identity stealing is good or bad. What will happen if someone steals your identity? This film raises the question what is identity. Does identity means what is written on the paper? Can people have dual identity? This film, Identity Theft, the protagonist keeps himself juggled between two realities. First one his Islamic tradition and second one his personal identity. To find the meaning of the identity, audience needs to be responsible.
Identity Theft is a social drama. The life of a 21-year old man has been portrayed in the film. There are multiple ups and downs in the film. The life of a Muslim man has been depicted in a different way in this film. The best thing about this fiction is that there are no hyperbolic elements in the film. The film gives a smoothing flavor throughout. The life of a Muslim man has been portrayed poignantly.
Audience from all sections will love this film. It is a love story. People who like to watch love stories will surely love it. As a coming-of-age dreamed conveys the first generation Pakistani-American Muslim experience. Audiences, especially who belong to the community, will able to connect to the film. But the story is universal.
The plot of the film is simple. A 21-year old Pakistani-American DJ from Queens New York lives a double life from his strict Muslim parents and from the friends around him. He meets a girl at the club one night and realizes that he has developed a deep connection with someone for the first time. However, he struggles about how to be honest with it. The film tries to find three areas relating to identity – his Muslim identity, his own identity- who is he, and his association with a girl. He grows up in a cultural bubble in Jackson Heights which at a certain time forces him to leaving it but struggles with an identity crisis as he tries to find himself and code-switches. At the end of the film he finds his identity but the way to find his identity is really funny.
The director of the film Ali Ahmed is a Pakistani-American artist. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with degree in neuroscience and Film from neighborhood playhouse school of Theater. He is also the actor and writer of the film. Rachael Arp as Hannah is also good in her role. The film was shot on iPhone with a zero budget. No equipment was used and barring the actors there was no crew. This is Ali Ahmed’s first film. His vision was to express a very specific coming-of-age experience in an authentic slice of life fashion. He attended the Cannes film festival as a student, which inspired him to become a director.
Identity Theft has multiple layers. One needs to have an open mind while watching this film. There is a scene in the film when he fails to make connect with his religiously-devoted traditionalist father. On the next moment, he fails to develop an intimacy with a girl after having sex. This internal dilemma of Amir, name of Ali’s character, is the identity crisis which finally culminates into something else.
I give 4.5 stars out of 5 to this film. This short film is a good example on how people fail to identify their true self. Here, Amir struggled but at the end of the film he realizes that making a connection with the people is an important aspect of identity. The film has won multiple awards both in America and abroad. There is honesty in this film. The honesty to tell a story concerning a globalized world.