The conundrum of the collision of new life and old ways, the cultural crashing of generation, the gnashing, the thrashing, the bashing, that is incurred when tradition and taboo crash, clash and smash, WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY Is a powerful exploration and examination of how the tectonic plates of immigration grate against integration and assimilation.
Sixteen years old Nisha is a Norwegian school girl whose parents fled Pakistan for a better life. Apparently, dad, Mirza, did time in jail in Germany paving the way for their European entre.
The parents citizenship of Scandanavia is fissured with cracks and crevices and chasms of their culture and custom, and so when Nisha snogs a Norwegian it is tantamount to intercourse in the eyes of the father and mother.
What will people say?, wails the mother, about her daughter’s perceived dishonourable behaviour. Father flattens the boy, kidnaps his daughter, and takes her back to Pakistan, to learn how to be a compliant cultural submissive.
What will people say when they see this ham fisted, cack handed plan implode on itself, putting Nisha on, literally, the wrong end of the stick with Pakistani policemen who have pathetic and pathological Palaeolithic attitude to women.
Mum wishes Nisha had been still born, Dad implores her to suicide. These child abusers masquerading as parents need to be deported over the primitive and precipitous perceptions of their daughter’s deportment.
The family comes under the suspicious eye of Norwegian social services and child protection and rightly so.
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY is a bold, brave narrative from writer director Iram Haq, a fightback film hewn from her own harrowing experience.
Making her motion picture debut, Maria Mozhdah shines as Nishar, a sunny teenager overcast with the dark clouds of corrosive cultural conservatism.
Adil Hussain skilfully shows the conflict between loving father and keeper of custom before capitulating catastrophically to a custom that is stale, stifling and subjugating.
And Ekavali Khanna pitches a deplorable mummy meanest as she renunciates the fruit of her womb.
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY is one of the most powerful films you’ll see this year, and the only place to see it is at the Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival, bringing breathtaking contemporary Nordic cinema to Palace Cinemas screens from 10 July. The diverse program features an esteemed selection of films from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland.
Opening the festival is UNDER THE TREE, a very dark comedy from Icelandic writer-director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson. The shade from a front-yard tree sees the already simmering tensions between two families come to the boil in an astute observation of suburban mores.
Winner of Best Screenplay and Best Actress at the Danish Academy Awards (Robert Festival), A HORRIBLE WOMAN is a provocative drama/comedy that cleverly explores a dysfunctional relationship from the man’s point of view from the writer/director of Parents (Scandi FF 2016), Christian Tafdrup.
Also from DENMARK, comes; DARLING, a captivating film with a superb Danica Curcic in the lead, the film follows a world-renowned ballerina caught up in a love triangle while preparing for a new production of Giselle; two awkward European entrepreneurs set out on a business venture to try and make their fortune in China’s lucrative pet industry in THE SAINT BERNARD SYNDICATE; in the wry comedy WORD OF GOD starring Søren Malling, changes threaten the peace in a 1980s suburban Danish household; inspired by true events, WHILE WE LIVE is the Danish Academy Award nominated drama from Mehdi Avaz which follows four people in Northern Denmark and how their fates intertwine after a tragic accident; and multi-award winning drama and winner of Best Film at the 2018 Danish Academy Awards, WINTER BROTHERS follows two brothers whose routines, habits, and rituals are ruptured by a violent feud with a neighbouring family.
From FINLAND comes breakout SXSW hit comedy HEAVY TRIP in which a young man tries to overcome his fears by leading his small-town Finland heavy metal band to a massive music festival in Norway. And in LAW OF THE LAND by first time feature filmmaker Jussi Hiltunen, a retiring policeman gets caught up between his two sons trying to kill each other in this remote western thriller.
ICELAND’s offerings include THE SWAN, a 7-time Icelandic Academy Award (Edda) nominated drama in which a young girl is sent to mature and work on a farm after shoplifting, but there finds herself deeply entangled in an adult drama and opening night selection UNDER THE TREE.
From NORWAY comes the harrowing drama depicting the 2011 attack on Utøya island U – JULY 22. Erik Poppe, the award-winning director of The King’s Choice, crafts a heart-breaking yet compelling re-telling of this real life tragedy filmed entirely in one take; critically acclaimed hit at the Toronto International Film Festival, VALLEY OF SHADOWS is a Gothic mystery that follows a young boy who leaves his remote Norwegian village and ventures into the forest; And supernatural coming-of-age drama, THELMA follows a student who moves to Oslo where she discovers that she has terrifying powers. Directed by Joachim Trier, the film was selected as Norway’s foreign-language Oscar entry.
SWEDEN brings strong titles including; winner of Un Certain Regard at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival BORDER which tells the story of customs border patrol officer Tina, and a mysterious traveler that upends her world; set in 1970s Sweden RAVENS, is a powerful coming of age story about a young teenager, Klas who dreams of escaping the harsh life on the farm eked out by his parents and generations before them; the astonishing rise to fame in the 1970s of singer Ted Gärdestad is chronicled in the music-filled biopic A MOON OF MY OWN, from the director of A Man Called Ove (Scandi FF 2016); the early life of much-loved children’s writer Astrid Lindgren is explored in heartfelt drama BECOMING ASTRID by Pernille Fischer Christensen; in THE REAL ESTATE, after a life of decadence financed by her father, 68-year-old Nojet inherits an apartment building in downtown Stockholm, but what appears to be a cash cow is in fact a curse.
And to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ingmar Bergman’s birth the festival will be screening BERGMAN REVISITED a curated selection of six short films inspired by Bergman’s universe and made by some of Sweden’s most prominent directors including Tomas Alfredson.
The festival will take place
10 – 29 July Palace Verona, Palace Norton Street & Palace Central
For more information, visit scandinavianfilmfestival.com