Amy Omar’s debut, Breaking Fast with a Coca-Cola, is an entertaining and importantly fresh look at cultural identity and the importance of friendship. You will fall in love with this film, an utter joy from beginning to end.
After growing up in the secular households of their Turkish immigrant parents in the Midwest, Özlem (Lucie Solène Allouche) and Ada (Güneş Nezihe Şensoy) are desperate to celebrate a tradition of their own. For the first time, they embark on a day of fasting and a night of feasting for Ramadan.
The strength of Breaking Fast with a Coca-Cola is that you understand the mindset of each generation. The parents of both Özlem and Ada want to rid themselves of parts of their culture and religion that make them stand out to Americans. They want to integrate easily with little hassle, and to do so, they make sacrifices. As we find out, Özlem’s parents have done so to the point that they have over seven American flags flying all over the house. You understand that sacrifice, though, wanting to ensure your family feel safe in their new country and that your daughters go to school and are not persecuted because of where their family is from.
Then, on the flip side, you have the children of immigrants, young people who have not had a say in getting to fully embrace their religion. Their parents have decided for them, and they just have to go along with it. They are even scared of informing their parents about it because they are sure the reaction will be negative. Amy Omar has fully turned the tables on the well-trodden scenario. She makes the case that by restricting children from what they should know about their own culture, they are limiting them. With Özlem and Ada, they feel empowered that they had this chance to carry out the fast. They feel a connection with people like them who are practising their religion.
Güneş Nezihe Şensoy and Lucie Solène Allouche are a fantastic double act here in Breaking Fast with a Coca-Cola. They have that golden type of chemistry, and they shine with writer/director Amy Omar’s strong script. Both have been given these strong young characters and goodness if they do not run with it to brilliant effect. When one struggles, the other is right there to pick them up, to carry on with what they aimed to do. Like the film, you can’t help but love them.
Omar has knocked it out of the park with her directorial debut, from the story that just goes by in a zip while still being as entertainingly engaging as a teen dramedy could be to the fantastic casting choices in our two leads, even to the pitch-perfect choices for the music that fills the film from the band Altin Gün. The sounds have a hint of a traditional folk music vibe to them but with a fresh psychedelic rock twist. Which, in truth, is the perfect way to describe the film itself.
Everything feels fresh, twisting a story from what we would expect and giving us a different outlook. It is tough not to fall in love with a film like Breaking Fast with a Coca-Cola as it takes in everything that works in a comedy-drama and makes it feel more modern and more alive. The film and concept are so strong that you could easily push it to a feature-length if you wanted to. But, in its current form, it is as close to perfect as you are going to get, just a fabulous short film. Watch this and have a grand old time doing so.
The Bolton International Film Festival is running physically from October 4th – 8th and Online from the 11th – 22nd October. For more information please click here.
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