The War Within
Directed by Joseph Castelo
In correlation with Ayad Akhtar’s residency as Senior Artist at Emerson College, ArtsEmerson will screen two notable films from his career on the big screen. The War Within (screening MAR 21 @ 7PM) showcases Akhtar’s talent not only as an actor but also as a screenwriter in this tense political thriller, while Too Big to Fail (screening MAR 22 @ 1PM) features Akhtar as a member of an incredible ensemble cast enacting behind-the scenes moments of the financial crisis of 2008.
Sayeed Choudhury, a Pakistani immigrant, lives in New York with his wife, Farida and their two young children along with his unmarried sister, Duri. One morning, Sayeed's childhood friend Hassan (Ayad Akhtar) arrives at the family’s doorstep looking for a place to stay while his job in the States is finalized. The family grows to love Hassan as he teaches the children the ways of Islam, and Duri begins to take a special interest in the new houseguest. Sayeed is quite content with the American way of life and feels secure and comfortable in his new, diverse community of varied backgrounds and faiths. Hassan, however, has different ideas about America— a country paralyzed in fear, a nation of tyranny, hatred, greed, domination and war—following an unfair interrogation he experienced from American officers while studying in Paris. Soon, Sayeed uncovers Hassan’s true motives for being in the United States—a deadly reason that threatens to harm the lives of hundreds of innocent New Yorkers. Bravely delving deep into the psyche of terrorism, prejudice, and paranoia, The War Within marks a strong debut from director Joseph Castelo that shows the complicated undercurrent behind racial profiling and religious radicalism.