The British film The Infidel just reached American shores this week at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York City. The irreverent comedy is about a Muslim who learns he is adopted and his parents are in fact Jewish. What ensues is a delightful comedy of errors that delves into the murkier depths of religious and ethnic stereotypes. You can read my full review over at Heeb Magazine.
I was able to get some face time with four people connected to the film. Josh Appignanesi is the film’s director and David Baddiel wrote the script. The two offered up some deadpan wisdom on the weighty subject their film deals with. The bulk of my questions (as you’ll hear) focus on reactions to the film and whether or not it is controversial. Both Baddiel and Appignanesi are passionate about their creative choices and the power of comedy in the most uncomfortable of social conversations. They say it better, so definitely check it out.
Omid Djalili and Richard Schiff, the film’s stars, are similarly serious when it comes to discussing The Infidel. Schiff, who is most well known in the states for his role as Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, takes particular offense at having any of his roles, including that of Lenny in The Infidel, labeled as stereotypically Jewish. The two exhude a comic energy that made it difficult for me to keep a straight face while chatting them up. Especially at the end of our talk, the two go off on the provenance of a few racial epithets. It is quite hilarious.
As always, I’ve said too much. Just click play already.