What will people never learn

What are people going to say

"Jump!", The Pakistani father, who actually loves his daughter, orders the deeply disturbed young girl in front of an abyss. Seldom has one seen such a shocking father-daughter scene in a film as in the family drama "What will people say". The second film by the promising Iranian-Norwegian actress, screenwriter and director Iram Haq ("I Am Yours") cleverly tells of the horrific dilemma of a Pakistani migrant family who fail to bridge the gap between their new culture in Norway and the patriarchal traditions of their country of origin able to overcome and therefore with seeing eye destroy the life of her daughter.

Nisha (played by the fantastic 17-year-old debut actress Maria Mozhdah) lives a double life: outside of her home in Oslo, she behaves like a normal Norwegian teenager, dances, flirts, drinks alcohol. But at home she has to obey the rules of the strict traditions of her parents, who are very careful about what the people of her Pakistani community think of them. Nevertheless, Nisha manages this balancing act very well, has a loving relationship with her hard-working father Mirza (great: Adil Hussain, known from "Shipwreck with Tiger"), who is very proud of the excellent student.

One day he catches Nisha with her boyfriend in a confusing situation in their room and freaks out. The father beats up the daughter and her boyfriend. A neighbor calls the police. This has damaged the family's reputation - the Pakistani community is demanding a severe deterrent penalty. By then you have come very close to the likeable protagonist and are worried about any further escalation in this complicated family dynamic. The completely innocent Nisha does not get an opportunity to justify herself, because for the fundamentalist parents it is not the truth that counts anyway, but only Nisha's reputation.

You can feel in every profound setting that the director knows what she is talking about. She was abducted by her own parents at the age of 14 and had to live with her relatives in Pakistan for a year and a half. This is also the case with the completely disturbed Nisha, who is delivered by her father to his family in a village far from Islamabad. There she should learn to submit. After several attempts to escape, whereupon the uncle burns her passport and locks her up, she adjusts to her new situation as best she can - in a country where women are traditionally oppressed.

When the lonely girl exchanges a secret kiss with her cousin, she is caught by the corrupt Pakistani police and humiliated beyond belief. Now she has brought shame on her relatives' house and is no longer allowed to stay there. Back in Norway, the martyrdom of the girl who longs for nothing more than to be reconciled with her parents continues. And she is forced to make a serious decision.

Haq's relentless drama, which courageously ignores what some of her compatriots will say about it, never degenerates into a clumsy and dangerous condemnation of another culture thanks to her personal concern. Instead, it bluntly shows the devastating damage that patriarchal traditions can do to both victims and perpetrators.


Source: teleschau - the media service