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Today I saw What Will People Say at the Scandinavian Film Festival in Sydney. It’s based on Pakistani-Norwegian director Iram Haq’s own story of being kidnapped by her family and sent back to Pakistan.
In the film, Oslo teenager Nisha sneaks her boyfriend into her room for what looks like some innocent snogging and her father busts them and gets violent. After some back and forth with social services Nisha, is basically lured out of protective custody by a phone call from her mother. Her father then drags her off to Pakistan and dumps her with his sister in Rawalpindi.
Of course, life gets horrifically worse in Pakistan … and it stays bad even after she’s brought back to Norway.
Here’s the trailer:
It was very interesting to watch with my mother — a lot of the attitudes felt really close to the bone, we both flinched in anticipation at the same time during the film.
It’s a multidimensional film about immigrants, women’s (lack of) rights in traditional Muslim (South Asian) societies and — depressingly — the role women play in policing other women. (It’s also a ripper of a story.)
If you’re interested in the subject — and in what the actual people involved have to say about it — you’ll find it worth your while.