An unknown young artist from the city arrives at a remote village by the sea to work on his sculpture in peace, but very soon enters into conflict with the locals who are steeped in stifling patriarchy and medieval religiosity and are under the control of a local moneylender who doubles as their religious head. Despite being rough at the edges, the film is beautifully shot and evokes the quintessential landscape of coastal Bangladesh where men are perennially in conflict with Nature. Some of the scenes are absolutely surreal and breathtaking, e.g. an abandoned ship in the middle of nowhere, or the huge wooden box that the protagonist brings along with him to the village, containing his works-in-progress. The interpersonal relationships are extremely well worked out; the promise of a love story is delicately handled, and the haunting background score is occasionally reminiscent of Ghatak films.
This debut film which was mentored in NFDC’s Screen Lab once again reinstates the immensely interesting cinematic works that are happening in our eastern neighbourhood.
Rezwan Shahriar Sumit’s NONA JOLER KABBO (THE SALT IN OUR WATERS) (2020, Bangladesh) is streaming on MUBI.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.