Germany: Shahada

Germany: Shahada

Via Variety:


Maryam (Maryam Zaree) is the daughter of a liberal imam, Vedat (Vedat Erincin), a widower. Very much a Westernized girl, Maryam wonders whether the difficult aftermath of her messy illegal abortion is a punishment from God. Too ashamed to talk to her father about it, she drifts into more radical religious thinking.

One of Vedat's students at his Koran school is Senegalese Muslim Sammi (Jeremias Acheampong), who works at a market hall with his best friend, Daniel (Sergej Moya), a German. Sammi's developing feelings for his friend, who is gay, are difficult to reunite with his firm religious beliefs.

At Sammi and Daniel's workplace, a thirtysomething cop of Turkish origin, Ismail (Carlo Ljubek), checks the papers of the immigrant workers. Last in line is Bosnian Leyla (Marija Skaricic), who was a victim of an accident that also involved Ismail, who has never been able to forgive himself for it.

Maryam's and Sammi's stories, focusing on the generation of religious youngsters who have to reconcile forming their identities with living between two cultures, are the strongest. Qurbani neatly explores the effort it takes for them to live by the rules of their religion, and also suggests that these rules aren't set in stone because each individual is different. The story of Ismail -- who is older, has his own family and is the least religious of the three protags -- never quite feels part of the mix, despite editor Simon Blasi's nimble cutting between the occasionally overlapping storylines. Pic's division into chapters ("Devotion," "Sacrifice") isn't really necessary.