The Scandinavian Film Festival is enjoying its 5th year in Australia and brings a strong lineup of 21 films that showcase new talent as well as award-winners recognised globally. If you've not had a chance to get a hardcopy of the program, you can view the online .pdf version HERE. Presented by Palace Cinemas, you'll find the full list of films on the website , along with details of special events and festival guests. The Facebook page is a great place for updates and chatter about the Festival.
What Will People Say is a 106 minute drama written and directed by Iram Haq. It's been nominated for six Amanda awards in Norway; Best Actor - Adil Hussain, Best Actress - Maria Mozhdah, Best Norwegian Film in 2018 - Iram Haq & Maria Ekerhovd, Best Director - Iram Haq, Best Editing - Janus Billeskov Jansen and Anne Osterud and Best Screenplay - Iram Haq. Winners will be announced on 18 August 2018.
The main focus of the film is on its stars Maria Mozhdah as teen Nisha and Adil Hussain whom plays her father. Director Haq has taken inspiration from her own life and the film is a fictionalised account of her kidnapping by her father, which left deep scars.
Nisha is a teenager leading a double life in Norway. She's a typical Norwegian teen hanging out with her friends during the day, and sneaking off to be with them in the midnight hours. At home, she's the dutiful daughter with very conservative parents, steeped in their culture. When she is caught flirting with a boy in her room, the shame is too much for the family to bear and drastic measures are taken to remove her from all temptations of Western society. This is the beginning of the end for Nisha as her life falls apart, and she holds no power over it.
The main characters deserve the nominations they're up for as Best Actor and Best Actress, as both are equally strong in their delivery. Maria Mozhdah who plays Nisha may be new to the industry but her portrayal has 'pro' written all over it. Adil plays the conflicted father who is caught between loving his daughter and doing what he feels is right to restore their standing in the community. As the saying goes; 'The greatest sins in human history have been committed in the name of love'.
From a loving relationship between a doting father an his daughter to its deterioration; the progression is handled with great authenticity and immediately involves you in the relationship. It is harrowing and powerful and you're faced with a visual you're usually far removed from, and only read about. Reality bites hard, as you're confronted with what goes on, even today.
Maria Mozhdah is a talent to be reckoned with as she goes from happy teen to completely devastated and powerless victim. Both Maria and Adil have you in the palm of their hands with their subtle shades of meaning and expression. You'll be drawn into Nisha's life, where she has no control or say in the matter, not knowing how it'll all unfold or end. You will easily feel her despair as you are taken on this journey. A journey you cannot miss for its intimate and intense moments, not to mention some great acting in a story that deserves, and needs to be told.