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LOVING A STRANGER (52')
GENRE: DOCUMENTARY
DIRECTED BY JULIA IVANOVA

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Four North American women take a chance on love? falling for men who treat them with respect, abundant affection and much romance. These are men not to be found in their hometown. The men are all younger, poorer and Muslim men from Morocco, Pakistan and Guinea.

What follows are years of longing, affection, heartbreak and betrayal. Two very different cultures clash leaving the women question themselves and the honesty of their partners? motives.

We meet Roxanne, a pretty 41-year-old woman, flying to Morocco for the eighth time in two years. Roxanne is a worldly, confident, self-confessed short-tempered woman who is fully financially responsible for her life as well as her son?s. Abdel, who is 14 years younger, is a charming, soft-spoken guy with little education and no job who comes from a traditional, poor Moroccan family. Abdel and his friends are all under 30 and their laughter is contagious for a woman of 41 on a vacation to the seductive Marrakech.

Stephanie, is engaged to a Moroccan man, Abderrahim, whom she met on an website frequented by Western women and Arab men. Stephanie is a heavyset woman, funny and sweet. Abderrahim is not shy to say things like, ?I love you?I need you? I want you? right now?. Stephanie, who has never been married, is overjoyed. Abderrahim, whose father is an Imam, will marry Stephanie on one condition ? she must convert to Islam. Stephanie, who knows absolutely nothing about Islam, laughs at this request ? she is sure that after her husband comes to live with her, they will overcome all challenges.

Then there is Lainie, a dancer in her mid-30s, who is angry. She met her ex-husband Akra while studying dance in Guinea and married him in large, traditional West African wedding ceremony. While Laine waited for her husband to join her, Akra fathered a child in Guinea but kept it a secret. Three weeks after his arrival, she discovers his news. Instead of dealing with it, Akra abandons Lainie without a word. Hurt beyond belief, Lainie refuses to become his doorway to the West. All her energy turns into securing Akra?s deportation ? a scorned woman?s revenge.

Revenge is not in the cards for Alison, whose main fear is that her ex-fiancÚ would somehow find her. She has spend years playing their love story in her head over and over, from the moment she met a smart, educated Pakistani man in Dubai, to the night he violently attacked her, to the interview with the security agency who claimed he is member of the terrorist organization. The question Alison has been asking herself for years now, ?How could I have been duped??

We share the emotional roller coaster with the women but without always taking their side. We get to know Abdel, and experience what it feels like for a Muslim man to struggle to accept a foreign culture. How about spending your life with a Western woman who refuses to take on husband?s religious beliefs? We get to hear Akra?s side of the story of being controlled by a strong woman, rare in the Muslim culture. Men have their say too and now it?s up to the audience to sort out what to think and who to cheer for.