Ayad Akhtar is a novelist, actor and screenwriter. And when his first play, Disgraced, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013, he also became one of the most talked about new voices in American theater.
Long before this buzz, though, Akhtar grew up in a Muslim family with roots in Pakistan. He mines this background to bring the inner lives and conflicts of Muslim Americans to the stage. His plays often feature cutting dialogue and confrontations steeped in the tension between Islamic tradition and personal evolution.
A compromise appears to be emerging between Congress and the White House that would lead to the swift deportation of thousands of minors from Central America who have illegally crossed the border into the U.S.
There's a beautifully revealed detail early in Aarón Fernández's The Empty Hours. It comes soon after the film's protagonist, 17-year-old Sebastián (Kristyan Ferrer), arrives in Veracruz, Mexico, to look after his uncle Gerry's motel for a few weeks. Gerry (Fermín Martínez), who has to leave town for a series of medical tests, gives Sebastián a tour of the premises, shows him where he keeps the cleaning supplies, takes him into one of the rooms, and explains an essential part of the cleaning process: There must always be a box of paper tissues next to the bed.
Banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi could hardly have found a more engaging surrogate than the four-legged co-star of Closed Curtain, the second movie Panahi has directed since he was officially forbidden from doing so. Making his entrance by hopping from the duffel bag that's hidden him, the dog called Boy embodies Iranian outcasts at their friskiest.
Sometimes we drink with the sole purpose of relaxing, or drowning the week's worries. But other times we just want to savor a special craft beer or vintage wine, or make that good meal taste even better.
And as we get older, we're warier of that third or fourth glass. The consequences of too much alcohol — the drowsiness, the confusion and the wobbling — are a bigger hindrance. And let's face it: A hangover at 36 isn't the same as one at 22.