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Dhaka Tribune

Humaira’s documentary headed for Idfa

The section brings the best films from Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance and more

Update : 21 Oct 2022, 10:26 PM

Director Humaira Bilkis’s first feature documentary “Things I Could Never Tell My Mother” has been officially selected for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (Idfa), the premier festival for documentary films in the world. Her film will be screened in the “Best of Fests” section between November 9-22. 

The expansive “Best of Fests” section brings the highlights of the year’s harvest, presenting the best films from Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Visions du Réel, and CPH:DOX among others.

The film follows Humaira’s mother, who used to be an independent-minded woman who defied conventions, wrote poetry. But following a pilgrimage to Mecca she became a devoutly religious Muslim and began to ceaselessly judge Humaira’s life choices.

After completing her studies at the film academy in India, Humaira Bilkis temporarily returns to Bangladesh to live with her parents. Free-spirited and secular, she is very different from her mother. In this debut film, she draws on old photographs and her mother’s poetry in her search for what connects them, hoping to restore their bond. Her secret relationship with a non-Muslim man complicates matters further.

Humaira told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “The biggest problem with personal films is that many people can't connect with it. But how many audiences connected to ‘Things I Could Never Told My Mother’ is unique. As the largest non-fiction/documentary film festival, Idfa can take the film to a larger audience across boundaries. It feels good to me, at the same time it is good to think that a film is representing Bangladesh.”

“There will be four screenings of the film,” she said. “Two will be at the world's most beautiful and traditional cinema hall Tuskinsky and two will be at the Rialto Film Theater, which showcases films by innovative and artistic filmmakers. All in all, it is a very happy feeling for me.”

“Things I Could Never Tell My Mother” premiered in Visions du Reel in April 2022 and will be screened at Idfa on November 10, 13, 17 and 20. 

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