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Tribeca 2018 Review: “Time for Ilhan” (2018) ★★★★


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© Chris Newberry

Myself being an immigrant, I know that in some higher society, refugees or immigrants have always been seen as a threat. If you look deeper, it is understandable because nobody wants to see an alien or a foreigner take prestigious office or even run for one. And when that happens… They all begin to talk about lack of experience or not having the blood in order for the immigrant to even consider talking about changes on a large scale.

Well, in Nora Shapiro’s film there are three things are powerfully highlighted; honestly speaking, I hardly can dispute one: 1. Voice and views are more important than background; 2. Nobody should stay in politics after a certain time when the politician pretends to be doing the job it is never meant to do; 3. If one district does something right, the other district can fail, but in the case of 2017 presidential election, it was the entire country which did….

But leaving the country aside, “Time for Ilhan” follows the first Somali-American Muslim who decides to run for legislative office. Having two more opponents running against her (Mohammad Noor and Phyllis Kahn with 43 year as of experience in office), the young woman is determined to tackle the issues that her community wants, the Cedar-different, known as a Little Mogadishu. Through her strong campaign plan, the woman becomes the first woman from Somali to win the election.

Ilhan Noor was 12 years old when she arrived in America. For four years she lived in a refugee camp. Knowing only a few words, the little girl grows into someone who begins imagining the changes believing in them to happen. Her openness with the younger generation, wise, wicked mind and supportive husband helps her embark into a stressful journey to meet the most important goal, rather the future-defining moment to make history in America.

In conclusion, it’s a beautifully narrated film where all details are cleverly put together by Shapiro’s camera which follows Noor till her winning process and then touches the moment that stunned the world when Donald Trump became the president. But the scene where she started undermining her win in this Minnesota campaign will raise many questions. But in reality, not even a single answer will matter. Because he is in the office, while Noor runs her district to bring the changes to her community she promised before the election.

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