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#TIFF19 Review: My English Cousin (TIFF Docs)

September 4, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Since moving to England from Algeria in 2001, Fahed has been living in the working class town of Grimsby. While he is settled in the UK, working late hours at a restaurant in order to support himself, he still feels the pull of his home country, and dreams of one day returning to Algeria and opening his own business. Fahed is the subject of the very enjoyable documentary My English Cousin.

Directed by his cousin, Karim Sayad, the film follows him in his daily life as he goes to work, cooks an elaborate Ramadan meal for his flatmates – some of whom would rather just drink beer and eat at McDonald’s – and goes back to visit his family in Algeria, where he intends to get married but faces a changing country. While on his trip, he encounters political protests to try and overthrow President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

For the most part, My English Cousin is a pretty simple slice of life documentary that’s also surprisingly engaging, as it subtly grapples with timely themes about immigration and integration. This is an often charming and also somewhat poignant portrait of someone who is stuck between two countries, settled in one but still feeling the pull of the other, and Fahed’s experience feels both personal and universal.

Fahed in My English Cousin

Public Screenings:

Friday, September 6th – 9:00 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Sunday, September 8th – 1:15 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Sunday, September 15th – 10:15 AM at Jackman Hall (AGO)

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