Local film wows critics

2008-08-01 00:00

When award-winning novelist Shamin Sarif wrote Unseen World, she had no idea that the book would be turned into a movie.

The movie is part of the Durban Film Festival’s exciting line-up and has received many accolades from movie buffs, who described it as a passionate and moving love story.

The movie centres on free-spirited Amina (played by Lisa Ray) and Miriam (Sheetal Sheth), a mother and dutiful wife, who develop an attraction for each other.

Among the stellar South African cast are Grethe Fox, David Dennis, Natalie Becker, Rajesh Gopie and Colin Moss.

Sarif told Weekend Witness that the movie was based on stories of her grandmother’s life in South Africa during apartheid.

Both her parents were born in South Africa, but moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. Sarif was born in London, but her family kept her connected to her South African roots.

“The movie is set in a specific time and place within a conservative Indian community. The movie is about integrity and following your heart,” she said.

Sarif said it was interesting to watch how the character Amina opens up “a door of possibility” to Miriam, who didn’t know she had options in life.

“It’s about finding your inner voice. Audiences across the world will identify with the characters because they will see a bit of themselves in them,” said Sarif.

The movie was shot in a mere 30 days, which meant long hours and no time for mistakes.

“The actors were of a great calibre; there were no tantrums, which made filming very easy. Yes, there were challenges, like the weather and Lisa Ray getting sick, but we worked around that,” she said.

Sarif described the immense pride she feels every time she watches people enjoy and identify with the theme of the movie.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to sit with an audience and see them enjoy the movie. It makes all the hard work worth it. Ultimately, that’s what you want,” she said.

The movie was written, directed and financed entirely by women.

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