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Trailer Watch: Heidi Saman’s Namour

Philadelphia-based filmmaker Heidi Saman made our 25 New Faces list in 2014 on the basis of two works, one ongoing and one just finished. The ongoing one is her long-running film Tumblr “Four Eyes,” which consists of elegant frome/quote combinations. The just-finished project is her debut feature, Namour, which is being released March 1 by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY before being available widely through Netflix on March 15.

Saman had made a previous short, The Maid, and works as a producer for NPR. From my “25 New Faces” profile:

The Tumblr community was among those who supported Saman’s successful Kickstarter earlier this year, and now Saman will take seven weeks off from Fresh Air to prep for a September shoot in Los Angeles. If The Maid focuses on women inside, Namour does the opposite, telling the story of an Arab-American valet at a slick L.A. restaurant, trapped between his dreams of the player lifestyle and the demands of his immigrant family. With its focus on alienation and a man at work, it touches on Schrader-esque themes — “Taxi Driver, it’s the first film I broke down in script analysis [class],” Saman says — while also referencing her favorite Italian filmmakers. “I think of La Dolce Vita, and how Marcello Mastroianni in that film is just a kind of passive receptor. And for style [the reference is Michelangelo] Antonioni — how he shows how people feel stuck in themselves.”

Beyond the stylistic references, however, Saman intends to grapple with issues specific to today’s muddle-through economy. “I was drawn to the idea of the economic collapse,” Saman says. “My parents moved here in the ’70s from Cairo, and they worked hard and moved up. For my generation, it just doesn’t feel the same, and I want to get into how that makes a character redefine his moral universe.” — S.M.

Read our short interview with Saman here, and check out the trailer above.

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