The Cannes Film Festival rolled out its red carpet earlier this week, presenting movies selected from around the world. Being one of the prestigious events for international cinema lovers, Cannes screened a Bangladeshi film this year. Screenwriter and filmmaker Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s feature film Rehana Maryam Noor screened in the Un Certain Regard sidebar on Wednesday, becoming the first film from Bangladesh to be a part of the festival’s official line-up.
This achievement has surely taken Bangladeshi cinema tonew heights and attracted international attention. The psychological thriller stars actress and model Azmeri Haque Badhon who drives the plot of the story. Badhon plays the eponymous role of Rehana, a fierce assistant professor in a medical school, who juggles her work, responsibility as a single parent, and looks after an ailing mother and brother. However, there is a twist in the story when the protagonist learns that a male professor has assaulted one of the students in her college. The movie has received critical acclaim for its depiction of social injustice and a complex woman’s fight for justice in an intrinsically sexist society.
Speaking to France24, Saad said that the international recognition of his work is a “great inspiration and a huge honour.” The 36-year-old director said that making a film requires a lot of sacrifice, devotion, time and energy, and when something like an official entry to Cannes happens, it really “inspires” an artist to carry on. Saad also mentioned that Bangladeshis are overjoyed with the news which comes at a time when the country is celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence. He further described it as “an achievement more for them” than for himself.
Saad also mentioned that the inspiration for the movie came from the strong and dynamic women he grew up with. He described his movie as “an investigation of human nature.”