The South Asian Film Festival Up North returns to HOME for its second year and for the first time Square Chapel Arts Centre and Stockport Plaza. It features an entertaining and thought-provoking line-up of independent films that offer a rare window into a billion South Asian lives in the sub-continent right now. The Festival is presented by the London Indian Film Festival.
Widow of Silence
Popular at Busan and Rotterdam Film Festivals, Praveen Morchhale’s drama tells of Aasia who works as a nurse in a hospital to maintain herself, her 11-year-old daughter and her sick mother-in-law. She spends her days working, looking after her family and trying to obtain a death certificate for her husband who had been taken away by the police and presumed dead. With her life in limbo, unable to either re-marry, or settle her considerable financial debt without a death certificate, a conniving government official looks to take advantage, forcing Aasia to make difficult decisions to overcome her absurd plight. Widow of Silence is a gripping and soulful film with breathtaking visuals of the Kashmir landscape.
Part of an emerging queer cinema from South India Kattumaram tells of patriarch Singaram and his orphaned niece Anandhi, fisher-folk survivors of the Tsunami. Beautiful Anandhi teaches in the local school and has many fishermen interested in her, but Anandhi instead secretly falls for a new female supply teacher. As Singaram finds out and tries to come to terms with this revelation, gossip about the young women’s relationship quickly spreads. Singaram is left facing the choice of either defending his beloved niece and her partner, or giving sway to the demands of an angry community.
The Lift Boy is a heart-warming entertainer that will leave you smiling from ear to ear. When his father falls ill, 24 year-old lay-about Raju is forced to take up his dad’s job as a liftboy at a posh apartment complex in Mumbai. As an aspiring engineer, despite having failed his exams four times, Raju detests having to do what he considers menial work, believing it is beneath him. However over time he learns that the job is more than just being confined to the lift and as he gets to know the residents of the apartment building, as an inspiring connection begins to blossom with Maureen D’Souza, the owner of the complex.
Winner of two jury awards at Moscow International Film Festival Bangladeshi auteur Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (No Bed Of Roses) returns with this tense thriller shot in a single take where terrorists take over an eatery in Dhaka, resulting in a siege scenario and multiple deaths. Loosely based on real events, the riveting film takes a close look at the roots of modern day terrorism through political, social and gender implications. Adding gravitas to this gut-puncher are a plethora of international stars, including India’s Parambrata Chatterjee (Shah Jahan Regency), Bangladesh’s Nusrat Imrose Tisha (Sincerely Yours, Dhaka) and Palestine’s Eyad Hourani (Omar).
The festival’s annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition and Award is a rare chance to see the works of talented, emerging filmmakers, who are exploring themes of South Asian Experience. The competition’s final shortlist films will be screened at the festival and the winner of the 2019 award is announced on the festival’s Closing Night. In association with the Bagri Foundation.