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The Sheik and I (2012)

When an American filmmaker is commissioned to make a film for a Middle East Biennial on the theme of 'art as a subversive act,' his film is banned for blasphemy, he is asked to destroy every copy, and he is threatened with arrest.


Caveh Zahedi
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Caveh Zahedi ... Himself
Beckett Zahedi Beckett Zahedi ... Himself
Michael Patten Michael Patten ... Himself
ZuZu Snyder ZuZu Snyder ... Herself
Rasha Rasha ... Herself
Haig Haig ... Himself
Camille Camille ... Himself
Yazan Yazan ... Himself
Mansour Mansour ... Himself
Hemadi Hemadi ... Himself
Abdul Rahman Abdul Rahman ... Himself
Osama Osama ... Himself
Fatima Fatima ... Herself
Anne Anne ... Herself
Alan Berliner Alan Berliner ... Himself


Commissioned by a Middle Eastern Biennial to make a film on the theme of "art as a subversive act," independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (I AM A SEX ADDICT) goes overboard. Told that he can do whatever he wants except make fun of the Sheik, who rules the country and finances the Biennial, Zahedi decides to do just that. He turns his camera on the Biennial itself and gleefully presses every culturally sensitive button he can find. But his court jester antics fails to amuse. Zahedi's film is banned for blasphemy and he is threatened with a fatwa. Written by Caveh Zahedi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

biennial | sheik | sheikh | See All (3) »


Lights, Camera, Fatwa!



Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »



Release Date:

9 March 2012 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$30,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Reinventing the Wheel See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

One awful review? Gotta set things straight
15 May 2014 | by jtheg-767-142229See all my reviews

Seen so much about this movie being exploitative.

It isn't. At least not with the information given. And Caveh gives a lot of self-deprecating personal information in relation to the film. While making it clear that if anyone explicitly asked for a scene they were in to be cut because they thought they were in danger then he would. No-one did. Going by the closing credits no-one got in trouble.

This is unique. In a good way. Essential viewing for lovers of off-beat cinema. And know this: I greatly admire the director but had major moral problems with his "I don't hate Vegas anymore", so it's not like I'm blindly supporting the guy here.

Check it out. The IMDb write-up is bunk. There's no fatwa threatened and Zahedi does not cheerfully set out to annoy the establishment in every way he can think of. Instead he's out for freedom of expression, which includes admitting his own possible faults, and getting the film made. When the Arab spring hits in tandem with the hypocrisy becoming apparent of the arts department who invited him over, he releases it anyway. As he makes clear, no-one in the film explicitly told him not to because of danger to themselves. And the main players mostly end up in a much better situation. There's no evidence on film of exploitation as I see it.

See this. No-one knows about the country depicted. Which makes this so interesting. It's an honest, brave film that does (despite what people are saying) retain its integrity and furthermore entertains in a way no- one but Zahedi can.

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