Elevate Difference

Dunya and Desie

Dunya and Desie is a 2006 Dutch film with English subtitles from director Dana Nachushtan. In the same vein as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Dunya and Desie is the fun story of two best friends from opposite upbringings and how they find what they are looking for in life. The film begins with Dunya in the back seat of a car that is going through a carwash, while her friend Desie is in the front seat, making out with her driving instructor. Dunya then lists all of the things that are automatic in life: the weather, automatic pilot, automatic car washes, breathing, Desie's boyfriends, and the dumping of Desie's boyfriends. This is the perfect introduction to the two girls, as Desie’s world focuses around boys and her best friend Dunya, while Dunya’s life revolves around her parent’s expectations of her. Dunya being Danish Muslim, her parents expect her to adhere to family traditions, one of which includes an arranged marriage.

Desie is the complete aesthetic opposite of Dunya. Defined by her huge blonde perm and affinity for boys, she loves to have fun and is impossible not to like with her huge smile and wild antics. The film takes a turn when Desie gets pregnant unexpectedly, while Dunya’s parents are taking her to Morocco to meet her future husband. Desie, not knowing if she should terminate her pregnancy or not, travels to Morocco to see Dunya, and they embark on a journey to Casablanca in hopes of finding Desie’s father, who she hasn’t seen since she was young. 

Dunya and Desie is a smart teen comedy. It's light-hearted and fun, but still opens a dialogue on larger issues like women's rights, cultural identity, and friendship. This film doesn’t throw any curve balls, but keeps to the heart of the story: the lives of two best friends. The characters are played well by the two actresses and never feel over-acted. The only complaint I have is with the subtitles. There were times when I didn’t feel that everything was being said in the subtitles that was being said on screen.

Written by: Chrissie Thornburg, May 28th 2009

This sounds like a cool flick. You are not going to get all the little stuff in the subtitles though. That is unfortunately how subtitles work.