Freelance writer and photographer with an interest in science communication. Always looking for new experiences and discoveries!
Gripping story of a teen caught between cultures
Directed by Iram Haq, What Will People Say delves into the life of first generation Norwegian teenager 'Nisha' (Maria Mozhdah) and her conservative Pakistani family. Told in several parts, from her double life sneaking out in the evenings to enjoy the Oslo night life, to her kidnapping and banishment to Pakistan, and finally her return.
The film carefully conveys there is beauty and pure joy to be found in each aspect of her life. At times this is confusing, but ultimately, she is in an impossible situation caught between cultures. The film does not shy away from depicting the tension and hopelessness of her situation. Not only is Nisha's life steeped in expectation, but there's the crushing isolation when her peers are more concerned with trivial pursuits like shopping.
When the audience audibly gasps you know you are communicating on point – this film is intimate, authentic and rich in emotion. You feel completely invested and immersed in Nisha's life and some scenes feel so real they are almost too confronting to watch.
The other characters are not developed to the same depth, and while it's tempting to want to know more about their perspective, it would probably take away from the intimacy of Nisha's story. It's also worth noting the film is a fictional adaptation of Iram Haq's own life experience as a teenager.
I don't want to delve too deep into the storyline as the suspense and tension is an integral part of this film's power. However, it's not a neat package and will ignite conversation and raise many questions. It's not hard to see many parallels in multicultural Australia.
Don't miss out on seeing What Will People Say in its short run as part of the Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival 2018. The Festival is running from Thursday 19 July to Wednesday 1 August at Cinema Paradiso Perth. There's also a bunch of other great high-calibre and original cinema curated from across Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. Some on my wish list include Amateurs, Under the Tree, U-July 22 and Darling (opening night premiere). Visit the Cinema Paradiso website for information on the opening event and session times.