Movie : First Day
Director : Arya Moghaddam
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
- Warson Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
The idea of a home is very different to each individual. For some, home defines safety, but for some others home is another way of violation. Every year countless people leave their homeland in order to find a better place and settle in the new area. In order to belong to the new place, the immigrants undergo severe pain. Uprooted from their own land, they try to survive in the cold new place, waiting for the Sun to shine again. And what do they do when that new land begins to abandon them and question their purpose? Arya Moghaddam has tried to explore those issues in his ten minutes short.
Whenever we hear the words ‘first day’, an image full of possibilities and opportunities comes to our mind. First days are always meant to be for a new beginning, and they make us dream of a better future. Arya Moghaddam’s movie “First Day” begins with an environment where hope and positivity prevailed. But eventually everything changes. The movie follows the journey of an immigrant boy in the US at the backdrop of 9/11 attack. The central character of this movie is Kia. The little Iranian boy joined the school on 9th September, 2001. A day the entire world would remember as one of the darkest days of human history. As Kia begins his class and makes a new friend in Alex, a news completely displaces his life. He is abandoned by everyone in a blink. Arya’s movie deals with a very relevant issue of this world.
As the news Channel declares, the attack on the World Trade Centre was planned and executed by AL-Qaeda, an Islamic extremist group from Middle East Asia. As soon as the class full of American kids heard the term, their eyes shifted to Kia and there began a silent judgment.
Through Kia, Arya shows the pain people of Middle East Asia had to go through during 2001. The anger was so much that people forgot that they were hurting the innocents. Adults lost their jobs, or had to face extreme humiliation in their workspace, kids were severely bullied, beaten and harassed in the schools. The immigrants, especially the Muslims, had to face the wrath of the people. The 9/11 incident triggered Islamophobia so much that Muslim people were cornered, judged unnecessarily and suffered in silence. The movie uses biographical elements as Arya himself had been a victim of this illogical hatred targeted towards Muslims. In the film, we see Kia is teased by an American kid as his name matches with a vehicle brand’s. Through this, Arya tries to show how hatred and audacity create a space for ignorance. The kid teases Kia without even knowing the origin of the name; Kia means defender or protector in Arabic. The movie begins with a tone of hope, and surprisingly ends with a tone of hope as well. Arya shows how beautiful human nature is through this film.
The film is powered by a brilliant cast! Johnny Geisinger becomes Kia on screen. The little actor has beautifully portrayed Kia’s emotions – from excitement to relaxation, from fear of being left alone to dedicating himself for others. His innocent presence gives a refreshing vibe to the audience. Noah Langford plays Alex, Kia’s first friend before the news came. Noah has shown Alex’s oscillation well and his character represents all those who have been nurturing the good within their hearts but are unable to declare it. The movie is shot beautifully. DOP Matthew Macar has done a great job with his camera. The film uses music by Ian Arber. His brilliance is evident from the way he has arranged everything with utmost care.
The film shows how one incident completely changed the perception of certain people. It also raises a question whether it is fair to blame the innocents for one extremist group’s action. Arya Moghaddam’s attempt has been earnest and heart-felt.