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July 9th, 2014

The Infidel Screened by Movies With Spirit in Kingston on July 19

A scene from “The Infidel” with Archie Panjabi, Omid Djalili and Amit Shah which will be screened by Movies With Spirit in Kingston on July 19th.

KINGSTON - The monthly Movies With Spirit community film series will show the irreverent British comedy "The Infidel" - about a successful Muslim business owner who discovers he’s adopted, and was born Jewish - at 7 p.m. July 19 at Temple Emanuel, 243 Albany Ave. in Kingston.

This is a change from the originally scheduled film. "Uproariously funny," says FilmInk critic Mark Demetrius. "Gleefully and repeatedly stamps on the tender toes of ... [political] correctness," says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. "Brings a great dose of enlivening absurdity and comic brilliance to a taboo subject," says Andrew O’Hagan in This is London.

The character Mahmud Nasir, a moderate Muslim played by British-Iranian comedian-actor Omid Djalili - who wears soccer jerseys, drinks beer and has a glamorous wife (Archie Panjabi) - discovers while cleaning out his recently deceased mother’s house that he was adopted as an infant and was born to Jewish parents. His birth name? Solly Shimshillewitz.

Besides the shock, the revelation comes at the worst possible time for Mahmud - his son, Rashid (Amit Shah), is trying to impress a fundamentalist Pakistani imam (played, ironically, by Israeli actor Yigal Naor), who is the stepfather of Rashid’s fiancee (Soraya Radford).

Mahmud sneaks behind his family’s back (a la "The Birdcage"), trying to pretend to be a proper Muslim as he gets a handle on his sudden identity crisis. With help from wise-cracking American Jewish cab-driver neighbor Leonard Goldberg (Richard Schiff, best known as presidential adviser Toby Ziegler in "The West Wing"), Mahmud tries to understand Jews and their religion - and even locates his birth father on his deathbed in a nursing home.

The 2010 independent film is not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America but is equivalent to PG-13. It runs 1 hour 45 minutes.

Its trailer can be seen on YouTube. The Kingston screening will be followed by a discussion. Refreshments will be served.

The monthly Movies With Spirit series, organized by Gerry Harrington of Kingston, seeks to stimulate people’s sense of joy and wonder, inspire love and compassion, evoke a deepened understanding of people’s integral connection with others and with life itself, and support individual cultures, faith paths and beliefs while simultaneously transcending them.

The films are screened in diverse houses of worship and reverence across Ulster and Dutchess counties at 7 p.m., usually on the third Saturday every month. The series has no religious affiliation.

Attendees over age 12 are asked to contribute to offset series expenses.

For more information about "The Infidel" or the series, contact Harrington at (845) 389-9201 or at Details are also available at and

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