Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Brick Lane

Sarah Gavron (2007)

United Kingdom

Genre: Drama

Boiled down from a large literary work, though not a literary film, Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane is based on Monica Ali's prize-winning novel and resulted in an unnecessary flurry when the Bangladeshi community in the eponymous area of east London prevented it from being shot there. It's a small, touching picture about 17-year-old Nazneen (Tannishtha Chatterjee) being sent from her Bangladeshi village to marry a pompous, insensitive, self-deceiving older man in London. She bears him a son who dies, and two daughters, and much of the movie takes place in her early 30s when she's trying to break out of her housebound existence, get over her homesickness and come to terms with exile.

She takes a young lover, who initially brings tenderness and fulfilment to her life and introduces her to politics, though she later comes to reject him when he embraces a crude Islamic fundamentalism. Her husband (superbly played by Indian comedian Satish Kaushik) briefly comes into his own when he stands up against the arrogant cultural isolationism of the Islamists in their post-9/11 mode, and then he liberates Nazneen by deciding to return to Bangladesh.

Philip French, The Guardian, 18 November 2007 

Themes: nostalgia for 'homeland'; arranged marriage; family life in diaspora 

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 18 Apr 2008 •





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