An individual has to make diverse decisions throughout life. When a person stays firm about a decision knowing that he will have to pay the ultimate price in the future, the person has to be at his strongest. Rehana Maryam Noor is such a stubborn character.
Written and directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad, Rehana Maryam Noor has made history by representing Bangladesh in the 'Un Certain Regard' section at the Cannes International Film Festival.
Although Rehana is the main character in the movie, the story revolves around the harassment of her student, Annie.
In whose name the movie, Rehana Maryam Noor is a single mother of a 6-year-old girl. Raising a daughter alone, taking care of father, mother, and brother, raising expenses - all she has to do single-handedly. Nevertheless, such people have to be strong! But we see how persistent she is as she always wears her husband's watch.
Rehana is a 37-year-old- medical college teacher. To prove the insistence of this medical college teacher, the director showed that she was sitting next to the student to catch cheating in the exam hall, and she became successful in that too. The talented director Saad depicted all these small but meaningful incidents to create the context of the story.
But the real tragedy comes when Rehana sees a part of the incident where another teacher sexually harassed a student (Annie). After that, Rehana asked Annie repeatedly to raise her voice against that teacher, but Annie did not agree. Then, Rehana made herself a victim. Originally, the film revolved around this incident.
Rehana faced a critical situation as she sought justice while she was stubborn too. The pain of not being able to deal with the injustice, besides the situation that women have to go through while working in various roles such as teacher-doctor-mother-daughter-sister, Rehana has become a reality here.
Other characters also played a bigger role; hence they deserved to be mentioned. The principal of the medical college cannot stand next to Rehana even though she is a woman. Although Rehana's brother has a girlfriend, he does not want to introduce her to her mother.
Fearing that they will fail the exam, Rehana's students give false testimony against her. Despite knowing everything, Arefin's wife Ayesha is afraid to leave her husband for the sake of society. A student at the school harasses her daughter Emu, but in the end, the responsibility of 'not being a good mother' falls on Rehana's shoulders.
To make a character stand out in a movie, it has to be established with many of the characters around that. The character also needs to be portrayed through various incidents. But in the film Rehana Maryam Noor, most of these supporting characters were taken care of by the actress Ajmeri Haque Badhon. She did it so perfectly that you would feel her out of the screen.
It should be mentioned that Azmeri Haque Badhon has worked hard to bring out the main character. Bandhon has successfully presented different dimensions of her role, such as taking care of her daughter with strict discipline, carrying out family responsibilities as a sister and a daughter, standing against the injustice of the student as a teacher. Her powerful acting seamlessly portrayed the versatility of a single mother's contribution in a family as well as society. She skillfully separated Rehana from Badhon. Not to mention, Bandhon did awesome work in this film. She will certainly get good points for her sharp words, protesting eyes, and facial expressions.
In this movie, the actors mesmerize the audience by the delivery of dialogues as well as potent expressions, including sympathy, excitement, courage, lust, etc. Furthermore, almost all the artists have performed in such a way that it never seemed like they were actually acting.
Among all the characters, we cannot resist mentioning Afia Jahin Jaima, who plays the daughter role of Emu. She perfectly expressed her feelings without the help of adequate dialogue. In fact, Jaima has overcome this adversity, which is impeccable in one word.
In this one hour forty-seven minutes long film, almost every frame seemed much synchronized. Therefore, there is no extra character, no extra subject. We can mention the blocking of the characters. Everything seemed perfect, except for one or two places where each character would stand in the frame. And all the credits go to the director Abdullah Mohammad Saad.
One of the noticeable features of Saad's film is 'Abrupt Cut.' It means one shot goes to the other shot quickly, which makes the movie feel real. There are no static shots. All the shots were taken on hands and also worked on the depth of field in small frames. Another feature of Saad's movie seems to be working specifically on the color tone. Furthermore, the director also worked a lot with ambiance and background music.
So far, the biggest success of Bangladeshi films at the Cannes Film Festival has been getting nominations and awards in the parallel category at 'Directors Fortnight'. The film 'Rehana Maryam Noor' surpassed that part too.
Bangladesh took another step forward on July 7, 2021, when the director of the festival, Thierry Frémaux, voiced the name of young Bangladeshi director Abdullah Mohammad Saad's 'Rehana Maryam Noor.' This movie got a place in the official section 'Un Certain Regard' in the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
In this year's event, 18 pictures from 15 countries have been nominated in the 'Un Certain Regard' category and Saad's movie 'Rehana Maryam Noor' is ranked at 13. Rehana Maryam Noor premiered on the second day of the festival. At the end of the exhibition, the movie got a standing ovation. The audience stood up and greeted everyone, including Saad. Later the organizers welcomed the crew on the red carpet.
'Rehana Maryam Noor' was shown again on July 8 in Sal Dubusi, and the 1,068-seat auditorium was full with the audiences. At the end of the exhibition, everyone praised the film. Another exhibition also took place at the Cineum Ara, a multiplex in Cannes. Here too, the audience gathered to watch the film with great enthusiasm. The festival will end on July 17, and after that, we will get to know the ratings by the judges.
Rehana is like a girl next door, who belongs to the middle-class society of Dhaka. But in the midst of all this, there is a tremendous potential in her; the audiences at the Cannes received this message on Saad's celluloid. Looking at the trailer and the poster, expectations were already high. The combination of fantasy and reality that 'Rehana Maryam Noor' created seemed perfectly matched.
--- By UNB