ISAFF Seattle – Sunday (10/07) Afternoon

Wow…. Sunday, 2:00PM movies were an excellent example of why I love to watch independent theater. 3 of the 4 short movies/documentaries shown today were excellent. The 4th was nice too.

 The theater was almost full, as usual and there was a short introduction by Sahar Zaheer and Farhad Tyabji (I think). One thing I have noticed at this festival was that there are a bunch of people come by themselves, unlike a regular movie where people usually come in groups. Maybe because the content of the movies is more important than the fun of going to the movies with friends.

The theme for the afternoon short movies was “Global Shorts: Love, Dreams and Despair” and the movies tackled issues related to these emotions and South Asians living from all over from Australia to Maldives.

 These were the movies and my ratings:

  • Arranging Love, Sheila Jayadev – 4/5
  • This was an interesting topic and the director and editors did justice to it. It followed 3 second generation Australian Indians (two girls and one guy) as they figured out love, relations, sexuality and their lives. It was hilarious at times, especially when the guy, Sunil busts out something in his imitation Indian accent. I thought the movie was great at capturing the feeling of people who grow up in a country different from their parents. Or even someone like me who has been here for only a part of their lives but has changed in certain ways which put one in contradiction or at odds with the norms back in our home countries. Somehow I think this is so much more easier to see in the Indian diaspora, maybe because they are so many of us, and many of us are so articulate. The folks in this movie certainly were (articulate), and so were their parents and relatives who were a part of the documentary.

    It was kinda cool when one of the girl’s mother says she cannot understand dating because she believes that one can give their body, heart and soul completely and truly only once. She also said that she thought that the word “love” was overused in the western culture. I don’t disagree with her but I wish it was used more in India. I wish love was expressed more openly, whether it be between two lovers or between parents and children. It does make a difference in how open and expressive we turn out as individuals.

    In conclusion, I think the movie handled the issue very well and was pretty funny. Definitely recommend watching it.

  • The MisEducation of Pakistan, Syed Ali Nasir – 4/5
  • What could be a more boring topic… primary education in the remote areas of Pakistan. However this documentary got a huge applause from the audience. It was well made and aggressive. The movie confronted the issue by actually going to various schools all over Pakistan, in remote rural areas (and some parts of Pakistan are indeed very remote), meeting with teachers, students, officials and politicians in the area. And there was interesting footage of teachers and politicians lying boldly on camera and then their lies being exposed. According to the movie, primary education in Pakistan is in a horrific state and is one of the lowest in Asia and even those children coming to school and getting a supposed education do not meet even the minimum bar expected at their levels. Corruption is rampant in every aspect from building construction to teacher attendance.

     We need more movies like this that tackle social issues in an bold way and expose problems in a way that cannot be ignored.

  • The Morning Fog, Aminta Goyel – 3/5
  • This was a nice movie about a girl from a rich family growing up in Bombay who is kind of detached from the artificial high society life she is growing up in and is attracted to nature and writing. The story wasnt really complete in itself but as with most short movies,  the content was in the details. It looked very professionally produced.

    I thought the key phrase in the movie was “We dont expose ourselves to everyone, only to a chose few”… and this movie is how that plays out. Very interesting but a little abrupt. The actress, Ira Dubey who plays Koko, the lead in the movie did a good job and is very cute. Also this is going to be the writer/director, Aminta Goyel’s graduate thesis project. Good luck to her.

  • Himalayan Dreams, Ali Rasheed – 5/5
  • This was a fantastic short documentary. One of my top two movies from the festival. It was a documentary about contrasts. A man living in Male, Maldives, a tropical, warm and densly populated place dreams of going to the Himalayas where there are wide open spaces, high altitudes and freezing cold tempreatures. He does go and this is a chronical of his travel.

    What made this movie so good was the personality of the main character, Muha. He was the most likable and down to earth guy you will come accross. Yet he has this incredible bigness about him. The film totally captured this and his extraordinary journey as he went from sea level to one of the highest points in the world.

    In the movie, he touches on the practical aspects such as the preparation and training he underwent, the bouts of altitude sickness and the logistics of his travel. He also talks about his feelings as he encountered people and landscapes on the way and how the journey affected him.

    It’s a great film and I highly recommend it.

     To all the people making ISAFF happen… thanks and keep it up. Again here is the official site of ISAFF and here is Tasveer’s website

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