What Will People Say
Directed by Iram Haq. Norway. 2017. 14+. 1 hour 46 minutes. Kino Lorber. Digital. In Norwegian and Urdu with English subtitles.
Fri., August 10, 2018 thru Thu., August 16, 2018
Ends Thu, Aug 16.
Sixteen-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah) lives a double life. When out with her friends, she’s a normal Norwegian teenager. At home with her family, she is the perfect Pakistani daughter. But when her father (Adil Hussain) catches her alone with her boyfriend in her room, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide. To set an example and escape the judgment of their peers, her parents send Nisha against her will to a small town in Pakistan to live with extended family. There, in an unfamiliar country surrounded by people she barely knows, Nisha must adapt to a rigid culture that denies her the freedoms she once enjoyed. Winner of Audience Awards at AFI Fest and the Les Arcs European Film Festival, What Will People Say is a tense and moving drama about women’s rights, immigrant identity, and familial duties. Based on director Iram Haq’s own experiences as a young Pakistani woman in Norway, it features an astounding debut by 18-year-old Mozhdah and a nuanced performance by veteran actor Hussain (Life of Pi).
“Conspicuously planted throughout What Will People Say are displays of people’s hypocritical attitudes about sex and women, but these moments are still instructive. Such hypocrisy goes a long way toward eliciting our sympathies for Nisha’s relentless struggle, as well as that of so many second-generation immigrants, to try and carve out a unique identity while stuck helplessly between the incongruous demands of two very disparate worlds.” – Derek Smith, Slant Magazine
“The kinetically shot film brims with authenticity and immediacy and benefits from a deeply sympathetic turn from sublime discovery Maria Mozhdah as the lead.” – Alissa Simon, Variety
“An assured piece of storytelling made all the more gripping by the knowledge that it is autobiographical.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International
“A brilliant, nuanced movie about female oppression.” – Now Magazine
“In a resolute acknowledgment of the oppression that too many young women face at home, the film portrays the family structure as the enforcing unit of feminine docility. Here, love is another form of bondage.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times
Access reviews at Metacritic.