Saturday, June 24, 2017

Abu (Father)

Abu (Father), dir. Arshad Khan, 2017 Canada, 95 min., in English and Urdu with English subtitles 💖
Thursday, June 22, 3:30 p.m., Castro Theatre: Bay Area première
Abu (Father)
Arshad Khan was born and raised in Pakistan, with a father who was in many respects socially liberal, allowing Western influences such as music and technology, but who was still very much a traditional patriarch. After his father’s business ventures failed, the family moved to Mississauga, Ontario, when Arshad was 16. (Although Mississauga is a suburb of Toronto, it is also the fourth-largest city in all of Canada, behind only Calgary, Montréal, and Toronto proper. It’s bigger than Denver, Seattle, or Boston.) Even before the move, the adolescent Arshad was aware of his attraction to other boys, and deeply aware that Pakistani society left no room for such relationships, so the move to Canada afforded him a new freedom to accept himself. Unfortunately, his parents became much more religiously conservative, perhaps in reaction to being outsiders in their adopted land, making it quite challenging for Arshad to come out to his family.

This documentary benefits from a wealth of family photos, but more pointedly from home movies stretching back decades, allowing us contemporaneous glimpses of Arshad and his family instead of just recollections and interviews. He explores many dark corners of the family dynamics, including the fact that he was molested as a child, and that he wasn’t the only sibling with that experience, but without recrimination or bitterness towards his family. It’s a remarkable portrait, interesting and moving, and a well constructed film besides. MUST SEE.

IMDb pageOfficial websiteFacebook • trailer: (follow the IMDb link)

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