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‘Towelhead’ Doesn’t Deliver

The Arab American News, Posted: Sep 17, 2008

DEARBORN, Mich.—Although the film “Towelhead” is effective in portraying the tense emotions of adolescent sexuality and vulnerability, it never transcends the negative images of Arabs it portrays, writes a critic for The Arab American News. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged screenwriter Alan Ball to forgo the ethnic slur of the title “Towelhead,” but he claimed he could not find anything better. It screened as “Nothing Is Private” at the Toronto International Film Festival. The critic, Khalil AlHajal, argued while that the Arab father is not the usual brutal, stupid Arab stereotype, he is portrayed as self-centered and neglectful. Said AlHajal, “It hurts knowing that non-Arabs are going to watch it and have negative images of Arab men reinforced. It hurts knowing that other Arabs will watch it and feel embarrassed. It hurts to imagine those who might not even see the film passing by cinema marquees, reading the title and giggling.”

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