Much better is Guy Lee Thys’s movie “Mixed Kebab”, which details the love affair between a closeted Turkish Muslim boy, living with his ex-pat family in Antwerp and a completely out Belgian boy. ★★★
The film is quite successful at showing the tensions that might exist when a once traditional Turkish family tries coming to terms with a more liberated culture in the West, and the differing attitudes of young and old. As the older of two brothers, Bram is the favourite, resented by his younger brother. Whilst the freedom accorded to Bram leads him to follow a more Western life style, finding love with the Kevin, an out gay Belgian boy, his younger, delinquent brother, turns to strict Islam, with tragic results.
It is no surprise to find that the most balanced and open relationship is that between the Belgian boy, Kevin, and his mother. He is completely out to her, and she is completely accepts his sexuality. They enjoy a very happy and contented life, until it is shattered by the prejudices that exist in Bram’s world. Where Kevin’s life is simple, Bram’s is anything but. Bram’s father sends him to Turkey to meet the young woman, who has been selected to be his wife, but this young woman is also living something of a dual life. She appears to be a dutiful daughter to her father, but in fact has been having a flirtation with a young waiter from the town, and sees Bram as her means of escape from her traditional Turkish background. Back in Belgium, Bram’s father has turned a blind eye to his favourite son’s drug dealing, but cannot accept his homosexuality. However he also has a problem with his younger son’s increasing radicalisation.
What we see is that when people are allowed to be who they are, free from the fetters of religion and traditions, life becomes infinitely more simple. “Mixed Kebab” is not a perfect movie by any means, the pacing is not always assured and it’s sometimes hard to escape a feeling that the issues raised are not fully explored,but it does ask important questions and is at least watchable, with nice performances from the two lovers, Cem Akkanat and Simon Van Buyten.