American Burqa

Three Chicago women—painter Renee McGinniss, flamenco dancer Maya Tatiana, and antique seller Chezere—agreed to spend a day cloaked in traditional Muslim dress for this 2003 video documentary. The premise recalls John Howard Griffin's 1961 book Black Like Me, in which the white author darkened his skin to learn how the other half lives, but because the burka-clad women simply go about their normal routines this never rises above the level of a stunt. Writer-directors Hossein Khandan and Shahin Yazdani appear to have staged some scenes to suggest that traditional Muslims are harassed, but except for a few giggling schoolchildren, the people who encounter the women are more puzzled than intolerant. 84 min.

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