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The Films of Hamid Rahmanian & Melissa Hibbard: Shahrbanoo/Sir Alfred of Charles de Gaulle Airport (2007)

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Studio: Arab Film Distribution
Genre: Documentary, Foreign, Independent, Political & Social Issues, Middle East, Quirky Characters
Running Time: 87 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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The encounter of an American woman with a super-conservative Iranian family living in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Tehran was surely not an accident waiting to happen. At the center of the story is Melissa, an American woman who visits her new husband's family at their home in Tehran. There, she is befriended by Shahrbanoo, who, unbeknownst to her own family, has been moonlighting as Melissa's mother-in-law's housekeeper for more than a quarter of a century. Shahrbanoo invites Melissa (and her husband, with his ever-present camera in tow) to a family gathering where she is treated to an intense cultural exchange about subjects ranging from women's place in society to American foreign policy. But this is not a movie about politics. Rather, it's an alternatively hilarious, harrowing and heartrending testimony to the hidden ties that connect us across vast cultural gulfs.

Mehran Karemi Nasseri, who now goes by the name Sir Alfred, has been living in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for the past twelve years. Dubbed "the strangest case in immigration history," Sir Alfred has been waiting for the document that will allow him to leave France. Unlike the story that has been told in the world press of a man trapped in the underground terminals of an airport, this thoughtful documentary examines the life of a man whose only aspiration is to be somebody else.

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