My Pure Land (2017)

September 10th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Sarmad Masud | Suhaee Abro | Tayyab Ifzal, Eman Fatima | Drama | 93′ |

Sarmad Masud’s tense feature debut follows her earlier success with the Oscar and Bafta-nominated Two Dosas. Told from a female perspective, MY PURE LAND explores the standoff between a group of women and their menfolk over title to a family home they occupy in the depths of rural Pakistan.

As the drama unfolds, during a night of sustained gunfire and violent outbursts around the house, the narrative flips back and forth to supply the background details of this real-life story. Masud deftly develops the characters in a film that feels at times like an Eastern-based ‘Western’ in character, beautifully captured on the wide screen and in close-up in the interiors of the traditional home and prison by Haider Zafar.

The male aggravation comes mainly in the shape of uncle Mehrban, who considers it his God-given right to fight for the property, and will do his utmost to exert his authority over the women. His gung-ho attitude is responsible for the death of Nazo’s father and her brother.

These women are no wallflowers – particularly young Nazo, played with graceful feistiness by Suhaee Abro – and slowly develop from timid souls to fearless feminist protectors of their domestic domain learning to use guns and subterfuge. MY PURE LAND is an strangely haunting arthouse piece and its glowering intent is tempered by an atmospheric occasional score and poetic touches – such a soaring flock of doves – that seem to reflect the transient nature of life and the spirit of the dead. This is a slim but luminously crafted indie that makes the best of its low budget with some convincing performances and a satisfying narrative arc. MT



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