• Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:04 am

Roqaia: A sacrificial lamb of unwarranted media frenzy

  • Published at 07:21 pm January 5th, 2021
Roqaia
Official poster of the film Roqaia | Courtesy

A visual feat with impeccable storytelling, Roqaia exudes innocence like its protagonist

A little girl with a bandage on her forehead momentarily takes refuge among bare trees. The sun creeps up from behind, exposing her morose expression. What is she hiding from?

The 9-minute Afghan short film, Roqaia, wastes no time in pointing a finger at the antagonist-- the media-- tormenting a suicide attack survivor to squeeze a far-reaching story out of her. Roqaia not only survived, she saved quite a few people in the process; imagine the traffic that could potentially attract to a news portal. To reel in more readers and audiences, journalists flock around her house, asking questions, getting impatient as tight-lipped Roqaia cares not to even utter a single word.

An elderly Hajji objects to her mother trying to make her look neat, saying: “she is a victim, not a bride,” to which her mother doesn’t bat an eyelash. While the whole village basks in the glory of her bravery, her mother's incapacity to protest alludes to the subjugation women are subjected to in Afghanistan everyday.

Her father, 52-year-old Asadullah, allows this media circus to linger. Maybe he is enjoying the attention or he really cares for the story so much that he puts his daughter’s post-traumatic stress second. He only objects when one journalist tries to forcefully remove her bandage to prove this isn’t another hoax. Even then, his concern is voiced ever so carefully so as to not deflect the media or hurt his claim to fame. At one point, Roqaia, tears away from the scene, as her father continues to give interviews on her behalf. 


Also read: Matir Projar Deshe: A heart warming tale of innocence and misplaced hope


This well-told story of yet another sacrificial lamb of unwarranted media frenzy, is produced by Bangladeshi duo Arifur Rahman and Bijon from Goopy-Bagha. They got involved with the project from an early edit. Writer/director Diana Saqeb Jamal and Arif met at Locarno Open Doors in 2018 and were reunited during a six months program at Asian Film Institute, Busan. It was there that the project was moulded into its current form. 

A visual feat with impeccable storytelling, Roqaia exudes innocence like its protagonist. The film that premiered at the highly prestigious Venice Film Festival in 2019 continues to woo global audiences. After an extraordinary festival journey, at the end of December, 2020, Roqaia won the Best Film award at the Calcutta International Short Film Festival where 96 films screened from 47 countries.

As jury board member director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki rightfully articulates: “Filmmakers don't describe an event only like the newsreels do. They interpret things through their unique vision. The beauty of Deena's Roqaia lies in her unique vision. Through the choice of her camera work, sound design, and actors' performance, she delivered a film which clearly reflected the director's vision and personality.”

 Roqaia’s festival journey: 

  • Venice International Film Festival (World Premiere: Orrizonti Competition)
  • Busan International Film Festival
  • Stockholm International Film Festival
  • International Short and Independent Film Festival Dhaka (Best International Short)
  • International Festival Signe De Nuit (Edward Snowden Award)
  • Festival International de Films de Fribourg
  • Exground FilmFest Wiesbaden
  • Melbourne International Film Festival
  • Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival 
  • Art House Asia Film Festival Kolkata
  • Asian Film Festival Barcelona
  • Calcutta International Short Film Festival (Best Short Fiction)
  • Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals
  • Gandhara Independent Film Festival
  • Guwahati Film Festival
  • Cyprus International Short Film Festival
  • London Indian Film Festival
  • Olympia International Film Festival
  • Minimalen Short Film Festival (Raskin Spirit Award)
  • Antarctic Short, Documentary and Animation Film Festival
  • 8th Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa  (Signs Award)


More from Goopy Bagha in 2021:

The pair will be producing Nuhash Humayun’s debut feature film, Moving Bangladesh, which is scheduled to go into production this year. They announced a concert series, Agun Pakhir Gaan, which will feature top musicians from both Bangladesh and West Bengal. The online concerts (January 29-30) will promote five young singer/songwriters by crowd funding a musical film. The production house plans to launch a writing room providing six months of mentorship to 15 new writers. Arif-Bijon’s long awaited documentary, Paradise, is also expected to be released this year.

151
Facebook 151
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail