Film Detail

The Imperialists Are Still Alive!

Zeina Durra / USA / 2010 / 91 min


With a title that nods to Jean-Luc Godard’s LA CHINOISE and a multinational cast centering on a young Bosnian-Palestinian-Jordanian woman artist living in the shadow of the twin towers, Zeina Durra’s whip-smart debut doesn’t play by the standard rules of American romantic comedies. Asya’s (Elodie Bouchez) artwork tends toward political provocation, though her New York nightlife is strictly bourgeoisie chic. During one long night on the town, she learns that a childhood friend never arrived at his traveling destination his friends and family think he may have been abducted under the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program and also meets Javier (Jose Maria de Tavira), a PhD student from Mexico City whose easygoing charm provides the perfect foil for Asya’s self-conscious identity politics. Durra zeroes in on the paranoia of the émigré intelligentsia with style and wit, making light of the contradictory realities of these globalized grandchildren of Marx and Coca-Cola but without mocking their earnest search for meaning. A comedy of radical solidarity and designer purses, shifting easily between Lower East Side lofts, Lebanese American grocers, Chinatown clubs and Mexican American house parties, THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE! is a quintessential New York story. (Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by METROPOLITAN director Whit Stillman.) Even as Bouchez and De Tavira’s chemistry blooms into an ANNIE HALL-style romance, Durra never loses sight of her characters’ fraught relationship with the headlines. Stir in some dusky 16mm cinematography and assured ensemble scenes, and you end up with an altogether winning throwback to a chancier era of American independent cinema. Max Goldberg


  • Director: Zeina Durra
  • Executive Producer: Rami Makhzoumi, Matthew Chausee
  • Producer: Vanessa Hope
  • Cinematographer: Magela Crosignani
  • Writer: Zeina Durra
  • Editor: Michael Taylor


Tue 03.15 630pm

Sat 03.19 610pm


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