25 January 2013 | runamokprods
A moving, quiet, but intense character study and political film
Slow paced, deliberate, but not dull, this is a moving and sad look at life in Kashmir, specifically through the eyes of one young man, searching for meaning, and going through much of life in a half-trance. Living in a country beset by violence , he has already had a brother go among the many 'disappeared' (presumably killed by the government) , and whose parents live in complete denial, leading his father towards a nervous breakdown.
Films like this are not only effective as storytelling, but also in opening up issues and problems in parts of the world that those of us, comfortable here in the U.S., may have heard little about. The film took me to a place about which I'd only glanced at headlines before.
The acting is generally quite strong, and much of the photography quite beautiful. There are some scenes that are a bit heavy handed (e.g. the ghost images of Rafiq's brother seems like an over-used technique), and there are some specifics that are hard to follow if you're not more familiar with local politics and history than I. (Although I appreciate film-maker Bashir not pouring on the exposition, and keeping the film one of muted, poetic tone). Not an easy or perfect film, but a valuable and heartfelt one.