Zahira, 18, is close to her family until her parents ask her to follow Pakistani tradition to choose a husband. Torn between family customs and her western lifestyle, the young woman turns for help to her brother and confidant Amir.
Zahira, an eighteen year old Belgian-Pakistani girl with jet-black eyes, wants to keep the baby growing inside her and is very close to everyone in her family, until she is forced into a traditional marriage. Torn between the demands of her parents, her Western lifestyle and desire to be free, she counts on the support of her older brother and confidant, Amir, who promises to help her.Written by
While based on the true story of Sadia Sheikh, character names were changed. See more »
During the wedding ceremony the position of the embroidered cape on Zahira's head changes between long shots and close-ups. See more »
Arranged marriage as per Pakistani traditions taking unexpected turns within a reasonably integrated family living in France
Seen at the Movies That Matter (what is in a name?) film festival in The Hague in March 2017. Perfectly written script with ample interesting and unexpected dramatic developments, keeping your attention for the whole duration. The synopsis on the festival website described the premise perfectly: "She has a good relationship with her Pakistani parents until they decide to marry her off to an unknown man. An unwanted pregnancy forces her to make a difficult decision". An extra interesting element is the lenience of her parents towards Western customs, allowing her to choose freely between three marriage candidates via Skype sessions. We even witnessed sort of a marriage ceremony over Skype. Very commendable but that is as far as it goes with adapting to our culture. Choosing a local boyfriend for marriage is not negotiable; however, he must be someone from Pakistan to follow-up on ancient traditions.
Upfront, this movie has all appearances of a traditional fairy-tale-like story, predictably starting with lots of tears, via heavy discussions and threatening to flee away from home, getting permission eventually to marry a local boy albeit reluctantly, thereby ending with everyone living happily ever after. Luckily, this is certainly NOT what this movie intends to show. Several unforeseen turns of events make this story very different, and it keeps your attention throughout. We see Zahira continuously torn between her family and her European environment. Her dilemmas are shown perfectly, and also her inclination to go along with her parents until a certain point. But it is still not enough as far as her parents are concerned.
One extra plot line comes from Zahira's sister, who has complied with ancient traditions, and repeatedly says that she is very happy about it, after all. Sister's quote: "Of course, this is unjust. But they are men, and we are women". A second, even more important plot line comes from her brother, who supports her in many ways and often acts as an intermediary or adviser, but he still insists on following her parent's wishes in the end. Apart from these two co-protagonists, a special mention for the parents is in order, as they act believable in their desire to uphold Pakistani's traditions. It may seem strange in our eyes, having lived in Europa already for many years and running their business amidst people of many cultures. Of all people, they should be aware that their tradition is not the only one.
All in all, although the plot line seems to go along the downtrodden path that the parents eventually give in, after lots of tears and threatening to leave home, this story however will head in a very different direction. The parents seem very flexible at first, yet maintain their persistence that ancient traditions are to be followed. Despite many unexpected turns of events, the movie is very compact overall by condensing all this in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this