Film Review: My Pure Land

It seems like you can’t turn on the World Service nowadays without hearing another horrendous news story from the Indian sub-continent. More often than not, they’re about something horrific that’s happened to women. In areas such as gender parity or women’s rights, there seems to have been little progress since The Partition. Particularly in rural areas, bribery, corruption and lawlessness seem to hold sway. In Sarmad Masud’s My Pure Land, a disagreement over land rights leaves a family fighting for their lives.

In rural Pakistan, Nazo (Suhaee Abro), her sister, mother and a friend of her brother have to defend their home against a large group of armed mercenaries. Her Baba (father) is in dispute with their uncle who claims their house for himself. Along with her brother, he was detained by the corrupt local police and they’re both now dead. As the family come under siege, Nazo must find the courage to lead the defence against the militia.

Based on a true story, My Pure Land is a powerful and moving story of one family’s struggle to keep their home. There are superb performances all round, but it’s Abro who really steals the show. She personifies Nazo’s defiance and determination. A child who has had to grow up fast. Masud successfully portrays the situation many find themselves in, telling the tale through two interweaving timelines. My Pure Land is an inspirational and powerful feminist Western.

My Pure Land is out in cinemas on 15 September.

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