Laila’s Birthday

Masharawi’s characters live through a day from hell in this comedy

In writer/director Rashid Masharawi’s light-hearted Palestinian romp Laila’s Birthday — yes, Palestinians actually laugh and have fun — proud Dad (Mohammed Bakri),was once a judge but now he must earn a living driving a taxi in war-torn Ramallah. He has one important thing to do today: bring home a cake for his daughter’s birthday. You can guess nearly everything goes wrong as overqualified cabby Abu has a day from hell. It’s like a Preston Sturges and Jacques Tati movie starring Mr. Bean. Urban messes, absurdities of everyday existence (that crazy donkey), the indignity of Israeli occupation (those buzzing helicopters), and infuriating passengers who won’t follow Abu’s simple rules about seatbelts and not smoking, drive him up the wall — but keep us laughing. (For more insight into the film, go online and listen to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Mcast with MFAH Film and Video Curator Marian Luntz and Houston Palestine Film Festival organizer Hadeel Assali in a conversation with director Masharawi.) 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Fri., Aug. 7, 7 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 8, 7 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 9, 5 p.m., 2009

 
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