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‘A chilling, breathless trip’: How international media reviewed ‘Rehana Maryam Noor’

  • Published at 01:43 pm July 8th, 2021
‘Rehana Maryam Noor’ premiered at Cannes on July 7| Collected

The international media positively reviewed the film and noted how this could change things for the Bangladeshi film industry

Bangladeshi director Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s second feature 'Rehana Maryam Noor’ premiered at the 74th Cannes Film Festival's prestigious 'Un Certain Regard' section on Wednesday, July 7.

The screening was held at the Sal Dubusi Theater in Cane Pale Do Festival building, in front of which a large queue of eager audiences formed to attend the premiere.

Director Abdullah Mohammad Saad, actress Azmeri Haque Badhan, Singaporean producer Jeremy Chua, cinematographer Tuhin Tamizul, production designer Ali Afzal Ujjal, sound engineer Shaib Talukder, colorist Chinmoy Roy and executive producer Ehsanul Babu were present in the audience.

At the end of the screening, audiences gave a standing ovation, and the eight-member team of “Rehana Maryam Noor” was greeted with rapturous applause.

The international media positively reviewed the film and took a look at how this could change things for the Bangladeshi film industry.

The Hollywood Reporter

Deborah Young from The Hollywood reporter wrote in her review, “The second feature from writer-director Abdullah Mohammad Saad (Live from Dhaka) is not only a chilling portrait of the psyche of an unbalanced woman, played with extraordinary intensity by newcomer Azmeri Haque Badhan. It is equally a bow of admiration to a woman who sticks to her guns and refuses to look the other way, like everyone else, in a messy case of sexual assault.”

Young described the second half of the film as “a breathless trip into female repression, anxiety and violence.”

“Saad has an absolutely sure hand in directing Badhan and guiding her into higher octaves of the role as the drama grows and grows. He and DP Tumil Tamijul adopt strong technical choices, most noticeably the heavy azure blue cast given to every scene,” she noted.

 Azmeri Haque Badhan at the Cannes screening | Facebook

Screen Daily

Notable media outlet Screen Daily described Saad’s work as “a directorial style that grips like steel,” and noted that the lead actor Badhan’s performance “impresses and unsettles as a woman whose pursuit of justice threatens to destroy her and those around her.”

“Rehana couldn’t be more suited to a cultural moment when the battle between compromise and corruption, on one side, and idealistic ethical fervour, on the other, play out daily with increasing urgency - in social discourse if not always in the real political world,” Jonathan Romney from Screen Daily wrote. 

He added, “Writer-director Saad contrives a distinctive narrative and visual approach that at once pulls us irresistibly.”

 Team of 'Rehana Maryam Noor' | Facebook

The Times of India

The paper noted that the selection was significant for a country celebrating 50 years of independence. “That’s what many Bangladeshi cine buffs are saying about  Rehana Maryam Noor’s historic achievement. It’s a shout-out to the establishment as well and it will inspire many independent filmmakers. Now, all eyes will be fixated on July 16, when the award-giving ceremony of the Un Certain Regard section will be held and this Bengali film has every chance to win an award.”

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