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For centuries the land between the rivers Nile and Tigris has held an enormous attraction for mankind. It is no coincidence that the three great monotheistic world religions have their origins here. Nevertheless, no other region in the world is reduced so much to its conficts as the Middle East.

In times of crisis, human beings seek support and confirmation in all things spiritual. But not only religious congregations see an increase in memberships, there also is a boom of fundamentalism of every color. Politically, the most simplistic of enemy stereotypes are utilized to close ranks amongst one’s own ethnic, national or religious group.

To counter this dangerous polarization, moving instead the universality of human nature to the forefront, has always been the noble responsibility of art. That is particularly true for the seventh art, cinema, which is able to reach its audience worldwide and directly through emotions.

In NO NAME RESTAURANT the Middle East takes centre-stage, for once not by news of horror, but through a story of an unexpected friendship. Beyond all national and confessional boundaries, this film mediates between two universes, by allowing Ben and Adel to discover simply the human being inside the stranger.

Peter Keller