African Pictures | 2015 | 112 minutes
Stranger Says: "Cities are becoming more female," writes Leo Hollis in his book Cities Are Good for You. "...The rise of women in the city is perhaps one of the least-discussed aspects of the urban future." Cities liberate women from the stupidity of men and motherhood. This film is about just that—a city woman who has been liberated by the city (she lives in Dar es Salaam with a progressive husband). But her world changes when she has to return to her village to save her young sister from a marriage to the village’s richest idiot. She wants her sister to move to the city, get an education, and become independent. But her plans are destroyed by a horrible crime. Rural people sometimes. The film has very good performances and a plot that’s handled with a great amount of care. Aisha covers the same themes as the documentary Marzia, My Friend, which is also in this year’s festival, but it’s less bleak. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
SIFF Says:Returning home to her village for her sister’s wedding, city businesswoman Aisha looks forward to revisiting family and friends from her youth. Her new status makes her stick out within the community, but she is happy that her childhood sweetheart wants to reconnect. Their intended rendezvous is the gossip of the town, and, though both are now married to others, it becomes apparent that her former flame expects more than a night of reminiscing. When she rejects his advances, he retaliates brutally, and Aisha must find the strength within to fight for justice in a social system that can only see that she was “asking for it.” Aisha is an exceptional debut from director Chande Omar, who has captured a star-making turn from Godliver Gordian in the title role; Aisha’s character arc requires Gordian to journey from naive outsider through hopelessness to, ultimately, empowered determination without striking a false note. Supported by gorgeous cinematography of urban and rural Tanzania, Aisha is a moving and socially conscious feminist tale that raises the bar for future Tanzanian film production.
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