A year ago, Afghan-French director Atiq Rahimi impressed us with his adaptation of his own novel – THE PATIENCE STONE (2012) starring Golshifte Farahani that played on MUBI. Set in an unnamed South Asian country in the grip of a civil war between warring Islamist factions, it focused on its impact on a woman taking care of her comatose Islamist husband, injured in the war – much against her will.
This time Rahimi adapts a Rwandan bestseller by Scholastique Mukasonga which is set in a Belgian-run Catholic boarding school for girls from privileged African families. The apparent bonhomie between majority Hutu girls and two Tutsi girls studying on minority quota is gradually vitiated by the prevailing political atmosphere that is skewed heavily against the Tutsis. Rumours are manufactured to cover up personal misdemeanors and stoke deep-seated prejudices till they assume grievous proportions. Set in 1973, the film foreshadows the Rwanda Genocide twenty years later which saw the massacre of up to one million Tutsis by Hutus.
OUR LADY OF THE NILE (2019, French production) is a disturbing coming-of-age story that is streaming on MUBI.
Ranjan das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.