11/27 Update: Read Rola’s great new post on Melissa Silverstein’s wonderful blog “Women & Hollywood”!

After his father is murdered, “Sami” (E.J. Assi) must put his own plans on hold to care for his mother & manage the family gas station/convenience store. But one day, after endless hours in the cage, Sami is right where he should be when “Naj” (Nada Shouhayib) walks in looking for Sami’s cousin Mike…

Lovely RomCom deftly balances laughter & tears. First-time filmmaker Rola Nashef is the Arab-American Mira Nair! (JLH: 4.5/5) Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku.


11/23/13 Post: This lovely new film by first-time filmmaker Rola Nashef opened yesterday at the Cinema Village on 12th Street. I liked it so much, I’m taking RB there tomorrow so we can hear the Q&A. Nashef will be there for various shows today with additional members of her cast & crew.

In Detroit Unleaded, Nashef accomplishes the impossible: a Rom Com with depth & heft. If you live in Metro NYC, then come see this marvel of “loose/tight properties” for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Click HERE for the list of times at Cinema Village for this weekend including all scheduled Q&A appearances. Note that RB & I have tickets for the Sunday (11/24) show @ 3 PM. If you are there too, find us & say Hi 🙂


Top Photo: After his father’s murder, “Sami” (E.J. Assi) reluctantly begins working full-time in his family’s  Detroit gas station/convenience store.

Bottom Credits: “Sami” begins a delightful flirtation with “Naj” (Nada Shouhayib).

Photo Credits: Gas Afterhours

Q: Does this film pass the Bechdel Test? DigitalStampA

I’m gonna say “yes,” but it’s a stretch. Naj has a couple of great scenes with her GalPals, & Sami’s mother “Mariam” (Mary Assel) has a couple of poignant–albeit non-verbal–interactions with her neighbor. Still this is Sami’s story, so he is definitely at the center of the action.

That said, Nashef has worked hard to give all her characters–men AND women–full dimensionality & that counts a lot with me 🙂


With Rola at Cinema Village. Photo Credit: Richard Bayard Miller (11/24/13)


Tags: Detroit Unleaded, E.J. Assi, Rola Nashef

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