Directed by Afia Nathaniel
Starring Samiya Mumtaz, Mohib Mirza, Saleha Aref, Asif Khan and Ajab Gul
In the mountains of Pakistan, a mother and her ten-year-old daughter flee their home on the eve of the girl's marriage to a tribal leader. A deadly hunt for them begins.
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★★★½ review by Becky Johnston on Letterboxd
There's no hiding the 'first film by a first time director' nature of this film, and that comes through in unfortunate ways. Some of the writing can be clumsy, some of the shots are unintentionally funny (there's a scene wherein the bad guy glowers at the camera), and some performances are....from first time actors, without a lot of preparation.
But for every clumsy scene, there's a scene of immense beauty (aided by the amazing background of Pakistan). For all the clumsy dialogue and performances, it's carrying performance and central focus is the fierce, caring, evocative and graceful performance of the lead actress, Samiya Mumtaz.
A first director's first film, but hopefully not her last.
★★★½ review by Abdul Moeed Qurishi on Letterboxd
Shot using scenic and mesmerizing mountains, the background of inner Pakistan, Dukhtar is very mellow and slow story of the poignant issue relating the marriage of underage daughters in many rural areas of Pakistan. Films like Waar was highly praised for its action, effects, direction and well use of real life events occurred in Pakistan, it still was an action/spy film. Dukhtar, however, is complete drama film that really not many saw. Ushering the group of films that were released not long before the revival of Pakistan Cinema. Dukhtar was lost gem that no one really talked about. The plot is, a mother learns her young daughter is to be married to the aging warlord of another clan, to save her daughter from this marriage, the mother runs away with the child, and men of both clans focused on their 'honor', chase after the pair. The following is a chase game where predictability of adventure/running film comes along. There are some stupid decisions taken by characters however we have to keep in mind that these are not very educated people, and they think from the heart rather being rational. Samiya Mumtaz plays the mother and I have to saw she acted the best in the whole cast. She enacts the part of a righteous mother with superlative understanding and deserves brownie points for a remarkable portrayal. There many other familiar faces in the movie Mohib Mirza does a good job but is a disappointment. However most amazing performance was from Adnan Shah, his character is the antagonist. Afia Nathaniel the director gives a substantial and powerful direction, the breathtaking cinematography is the highlights of the film but they should dampen that film contains scandalous yet much-needed topic to be discussed and of course powerful performances by the cast, specially Sumiya Mumtaz. The movie also features refreshing score, which brings me to another good point about the film; they don't last for an eternity and just are fleeting occurrences during scenes to accentuate the emotions. There are songs that are composed of the ground up for the story of Dukhtar, they are also mellow and sweet. What I liked was the background tune that can be considered the main theme of Dukhtar. It was slow and decent that you will hum it along. All in all, Dukhtar is does shed a light over overlooked topics in Pakistan, it surely also features that Pakistan Cinema does contain good films rather than being cheesy and popcorn flicks. On the whole, Dukhtar is made with a lot of heart but appears partly engaging. The director knows her job, but her writing lets her down somewhat. However, the wonderful performance by Samiya makes up for it solely.
Outstanding Cinematography. Samiya Mumtaz dominant performance. Deep Score. Uses of rural Pakistan’s landscape.
Other characters. Predictable thriller.
★★★★ review by MaryAnn Johanson on Letterboxd
A gripping story from a place where women are less than second-class citizens that insists that they are, in fact, people who deserve to live as they please.
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★★★★½ review by Aubrey (AJ) on Letterboxd
incredible, incredible film from a woman of color. definitely worth the watch, would love to see more from Afia Nathaniel in the future!!
★★★½ review by Chloe on Letterboxd
It's deeply felt and well acted, but it feels a little amateurish in style.
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