Contemporary World Cinema
SIFF Says:In the isolated mountains of northern Pakistan, 10-year-old Zainab (Saleha Aref) has been promised to Tor Gul (Abdullah Jaan), a cruel, aging tribal leader six times her age, in order to broker peace between two warring camps. On the eve of the nuptials, Zainab’s mother Allah Rakhi (Samiya Mumtaz)—who herself was married to an elderly man at the young age of 15—refuses to have her daughter meet the same fate, and the two make a harried escape, beginning an epic journey fraught with danger with both tribes hot on their trail. Finding shelter, solace, and perhaps romance in the form of Punjabi trucker Sohail (Mohib Mirza), they set off for Lahore, hoping to create a new life away from their oppressive upbringing. Billed as Pakistan’s first road trip thriller, Afia Nathaniel’s directorial debut is a tensely shot, superbly told, emotional story that highlights the repressive patriarchal society still dominant in this part of the world.
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