Films poke fun at Jews, Muslims, suicide bombers

Fri Apr 9, 2010 7:19am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Nothing, it seems, is off limits to British comedy, with two films hitting theatres in the next month that poke fun at Muslims, Jews and, perhaps most controversially, suicide bombers.

"Four Lions," which received mixed reviews when it premiered at the Sundance film festival earlier this year, hits cinemas on May 7 and satirizes a group of hapless Muslims who decide to blow themselves, and others up during the London Marathon.

Given the similarities to the real-life attacks on the city's transport system in 2005 that killed 52 people, some reviewers found watching the comedy an uncomfortable experience.

And "The Infidel," which opens on Friday, follows Muslim family man Mahmud Nasir, played by comedian Omid Djalili, who discovers he was in fact born a Jew called Solly Shimsillewitz.

In a light-hearted, low-budget movie, Mahmud strives to learn more about his real roots from an alcoholic Jewish cabbie called Lenny while at the same time trying to impress his son's prospective father-in-law who is a firebrand Muslim preacher.

Writer David Baddiel, a British television personality, seeks to expose prejudices in both communities by making fun of them, but believes that comparisons between The Infidel and Four Lions are not entirely fair.

"I think there's a slight weirdness in them being lumped together," he told Reuters in an interview.

"People are going to lump them together because they are about religion, and particularly Muslims, but one of the key things about my film is that it's not about suicide bombers."   Continued...