© TelePaten Filmverleih

Shouf Shouf Habibi (Hush Hush Baby)
The Netherlands 2004

Opening 1 Dec 2005

Directed by: Albert ter Heerdt
Writing credits: Albert ter Heerdt
Principal actors: Mimoun Oaïssa, Salah Eddine Benmoussa, Zohra 'Flifla' Slimani, Najib Amhali, Iliass Ojja

This film by Dutch director Albert ter Heerdt was a big hit in The Netherlands when it originally opened almost two years ago. Abdullah and his young Moroccan friends dream of getting rich quick. They contemplate robbing a bank or even better going to Hollywood. “Think of all the films about 9/11; they’ll need lots of Arabic actors for those.” Their second biggest topic is sex, which occurs mostly in their imaginations since they have so far resisted arranged marriages. They loiter in their cars, talk on the phone and enjoy a life without responsibility. Losers themselves, they feel free to judge others. Abdullah’s brother is married to a Moroccan wife but can’t resist a policewoman with whom he works. Abdullah’s sister lets herself out of an upstairs window to meet her Dutch boyfriend who is willing to be an accomplice in divesting her of an unwanted virginity.

The comedy is fast-paced with throw-away lines, but the topic of Eastern emigrants in Western city has been said before in East is East or Bend It Like Beckham or Ae Fond Kiss. This film, which played at the 2004 Berlinale, has taken a long time to come to Hamburg. Must has happened since then, such as the murder of Dutch filmmaker and enfant terrible Theo van Gogh, which would throw a new light on the subject matter – a film which might not even be possible in Holland today. That alone is a good reason to see it. (Becky Tan)

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