A twentysomething single mother in Norway’s expatriate Pakistani community struggles with her dysfunctional relationship with her perpetually disapproving mother, in this startlingly assured feature debut by Norwegian actor, singer and filmmaker Iram Haq.

Discovery

I Am Yours

Iram Haq

Twentysomething single mother Mina (Amrita Acharia) is seriously at a loose end. She wants to be an actress but blows every audition. She seems uninterested in, and incapable of pursuing, any other career. And she's in a casual relationship with an already-attached and painfully self-absorbed man. A chance meeting with a Swedish filmmaker (Ola Rapace) opens up new possibilities, but looming over everything is the one constant in Mina's life: her mother's disapproval — a disapproval so deep and so gargantuan it's brought about Mina's relentlessly self-destructive behaviour, which has apparently made her entire family outcasts in Norway's expatriate Pakistani community.

A startling and sure-footed feature debut from Norwegian actor, filmmaker and singer Iram Haq, I Am Yours builds on the work of directors such as Sweden's Josef Fares (Jalla! Jalla!), one of the first filmmakers to deal with the experience of Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants to the Nordic region. But Haq's film is distinct in the ways it presents the phenomenon through the prism of a mother-daughter relationship, which it deals with in a decidedly courageous, mature way.

Haq unflinchingly catalogues Mina's faults. She's a terrible mother, easily convinced to leave her child alone in order to appease a needy lover. Yet, for all that, we sympathize with her, most notably in scenes with her mother, Samina (Rabia Noreen). Acharia is alternately forlorn and infuriating as the confused Mina. Noreen, though her character is monstrous at times, also elicits sympathy as a sad old woman who can't relate to her daughter.

In its incisive portrait of familial relationships and of a woman who tries to live on her own terms but can't seem to stop screwing herself over, I Am Yours is reminiscent of modern feminist classics such as Gillian Armstrong's High Tide. An indelible debut, it poses a pressing question: How can we recognize or give love when we haven't yet received it?

STEVE GRAVESTOCK

Screenings

Fri Sep 06

Scotiabank 11

Industry
3:45pm
Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 14

Regular
4:45pm
Tue Sep 10

Scotiabank 11

Regular
3:00pm
Sat Sep 14

Scotiabank 8

Regular
6:30pm