David and Layla: A love story

Kurdiscinema.com / 8 July 2007

by Matthew, Peaceful Vanguard *

The media has enormous power to break down
stereotypes and open up new ways of regarding
“the other.” When people experience emotion
together, it seems to break down barriers. Movies,
music, and other aspects of culture that can be
mutually experienced and appreciated can begin
new dialogue and perhaps, new relations. Although
it’s not enough to forge a new era, it certainly can be
a good beginning.

There is a lot of rivalry in the Middle East between various groups. Intergroup trust is hard
to come by these days. Personally, I am grateful for any history that our groups can fall back
upon in order to create a context for cooperation rather than competition. Luckily, there has
not been much conflict between Jews and Kurds. There are, I am sure, many reasons for
this, but one of which is that Jews and Kurds never had to compete with each other for
resources. Nevertheless, since Kurds are predominantly Muslim, and there is an obvious
wedge between Muslims and Jews in many parts of the world, particularly in the Middle
East due to the infiltration of politics into religion, religion itself has played a part creating
divisions between segments of communities where ethnicity has not. It’s really sad if you
think about it. There is no organic reason for Jews and Muslims to be at odds with each
other if you take away politics.

    Fortunately, working to keep such divisions at bay are creative
    artists amongst others. One movie, David & Layla, a modern
    Romeo & Juliet story, will soon be showing in Los Angeles.
    The movie has been out for about a year, but it’s funny and
    worth seeing. If you get a chance to rent it, see if you can do
    so.

From Newroz films:

DAVID & LAYLA is a film about an impossible romance that gets
at the heart of the hypocritical stereotypes and illusions we all
have about differing cultures and religions. David (David Moscow),
a young Jewish man finds Layla (Shiva Rose McDermott), a
beautiful “Kurdish” Muslim immigrant, and can’t get her off his
mind. But her Kurdish culture doesn’t mix with his Upper East
Side origins, and both lovers can’t help but mislead their families
about one another as they try to begin their affair. A true comedy of errors ensues from
temple to mosque, from perversion to conversion, and all the while their passions
increase regardless of this unlikely affair.

    Films of Conflict & Resolution are unique in their multi-
    faceted portrayals of conflict around the world. Every film in
    this program was made against industry odds, but with the
    belief that these stories, once viewed by audiences, would
    resonate with a potent message. Our mission is to utilize the
    power of cinema to increase awareness and understanding
of the human realities of war and conflict. We present current and archival work made by
filmmakers from around the globe, who in the face of intense conflict, strive to illuminate
the realities of the world around them—and thus foster the process of peace and conflict
resolution through their vision and their art.”

David & Layla in Los Angeles:

7/20/07 , Music Hall, Beverly Hills, CA

* www.mideastyouth.com