Monday, June 19, 2017

Abu (2017)LA Film Festival

Abu is the Urdu word for father. It is also the name of filmmaker Arshad Khan’s cinematic portrait of his relationship with his father. It is a loving portrait of two men and their family whose lives went differently than they ever expected.

The film charts Khan's life growing up in Pakistan, his discovering boys, while still not considering himself gay (as he was always was told “there are no gays in Pakistan”), his going to college, moving to Canada and his clashes with his father. We also see Khan's father’s life. We see how he moved from a culturally open young man to an older restrictive older man with a deep fundamentalist belief. We watch as the two men try to remain in contact despite moving differently.

Abu is an excellent film. It’s a wonderful portrait of no only Arshad and his father but of the society that they come from. For those of us who are not from Pakistan the film beautifully explains the rules that the two men grew up operating under.

At the same time while I recognize how good the film is it never full resonated for me. I suspect that had I been Pakistani or a gay man this film would have resonated more. I can see all of the little touchstone moments intellectually but I couldn’t feel them emotionally.

Definitely worth a look when the film plays Sunday at the LA Film Festival

For tickets and more information go here

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