First Bangladeshi Film at Cannes: Rehana Maryam Noor Makes History
Saad's second directorial 'Rehana Maryam Noor' stars Azmeri Haque Badhon.
Filmmaker Abdullah Mohammad Saad's film Rehana Maryam Noor has been selected under the Un Certain Regard section which honours films that tell non-traditional stories. This makes it the first Bangladeshi film to be officially selected for the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
Rehana Maryam Noor revolves around Rehana, an assistant professor at a medical college. While she continues to balance her roles as a medical professional, a mother, and a teacher among others, her life changes once she witnesses an unexpected incident involving a female student. The incident propels her into protests and a fight against the system on behalf of the student and her daughter.
The film is Saad's second directorial venture, after the 2016 film Live from Dhaka, and stars an ensemble cast including Azmeri Haque Badhon, Afia Zahin, Kazi Sami Hasan and Tuhin Tajimul.
I cried when Saad called me to share the news over phone. I’m still shedding happy tears. This is not the achievement of one film, this honour is for the whole of Bangladesh. This is a historic moment for our country and our cinema. I’m proud to be a part of this indomitable team.Azmeri Haque Badhon to Dhaka Tribune Showtime
She believes that playing Rehana was possible because of Saad's efforts. "He understood that I would be able to express Rehana's complexities because I, too, stuggled a lot in life. I had auditions for this role in 2018. For two months, I was kept under observation by the director to understand if I was the right fit for the role. Subsequently, I had to do a rehearsal for nine months," she was quoted saying.
Late Tareque Masud's directorial Matir Moina was the first Bangladeshi film to be screened at the Director's Fortnight segment at Cannes in 2002, and won the prestigious FIPRESCI award. The last Bengali film to be selected under Un Certain Regard was Sandip Ray's Uttoran.
Saad's first film Live from Dhaka was awarded the Best Director award at the Singapore International Film Festival. The Official Selection of the 74th Festival de Cannes was presented on 3 June by Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux in Paris.
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