The Hamlets presents free screening of Oggatonama/The Unnamed at Close-Up Cinema

For its second screening, The Hamlets Pop-Up Cinema travels to Bangladesh and the award-winning film Oggatonama/The Unnamed (2016), written and directed by Tauquir Ahmed. A tragi-comedy,  Oggatonama was a hit at home and abroad, winning multiple awards and accolades.

The film was the Bangladeshi entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. 
Some other awards the film won include: Best Director and Best Screenplay at Film Fest Kosovo 2016, Best Director at Washington DC South Asian Film Festival 2016, Best Narrative Feature Film at America’s Cutting Edge Film Festival 2016, and a Jury Special Mention at both Italy’s 2016 Religion Today Film Festival in Trento and the 2017 Dhaka International Film Festival.

The Hamlets is organising a free screening at the intimate Close-Up Cinema, which has a capacity of 40 people. The venue has a bar, so guests can turn up early or hang around after the screening for a drink and chat.

Hollywood Reporter review of Oggatonama/The Unnamed
The following is a review of the film by Deborah Young, which was published by Hollywood Reporter on 27 November 2016: 

The story begins as a kind of tropical bedroom farce as local girl Beauty (Nipun Akhter) juggles two lovers who might help her get a work permit for Dubai and leave the poverty of the village behind. One is Ramjan (Shahiduzzaman Selim), a fixer who supplies false documents, and the other is Farhad (Mosharraf Karim), a lazy local cop he catches hiding under her bed. Her plan is to “marry” the already-married farmer Asir (now working in Dubai) and travel to the Emirates as his wife.

The tone abruptly shifts to tragedy, however, when the family of Wahab, another youth who works in the UAE, is notified that their son has been killed in an accident — even though they know he’s alive and well in Italy. Ramjan is made to confess that he doctored the boy’s passport and sold it to Asir, so he must be the one who died.

The news comes as a huge shock to Asir’s old father (Fazlur Rahman Babu), who is called on to go to the capital to collect his son’s body. To defray expenses, the poor farmer mortgages his house. His high-mindedness is in stark contrast to the callous reaction of Ramjan, who is forced to accompany him by the (mostly comic) police to make sure things go well. The complex situation that develops at the airport teeters on tragicomedy. But when, after many travails, the little party brings the coffin back to the village for Muslim funeral rites, it’s discovered the man inside is dark-skinned and hasn’t even been circumcised.

From this point on, the story becomes more surreal by the minute, juggling a ‘who’s-in-the-coffin’ chase with the poor farmer’s anguish — he still can’t get his son on the phone and his whereabouts are unknown. Instead of washing his hands of the affair, he mortgages the rest of his land to return the body to the authorities and, hopefully, to his family. Easier said than done, as the body begins to decompose en route.

Though uneven, Ahmed’s direction is bold, colorful and aimed at making some solid points about human nature and human dignity. While some characters like the police officer are too broadly drawn for comfort, the story springs to life with pro actors like Selim in the role of the nervous Ramjan and especially Babu as the tearful, shell-shocked father who doesn’t seem fully aware of the experience he’s living through. His final speech, in which he cuts right through the bureaucracy and determines to act piously towards the dead man, whoever he is and whatever religion he belongs to, is so unexpectedly rousing it drew applause from Bengali audiences at the Kolkata Film Festival.

Event: Free screening of Oggatonama/The Unnamed
Language: Bengali with English subtitles
Date: Wednesday 8th November
Venue: Close-up Cinema, 97 Sclater Street, Shoreditch, London E1 6HR
Start Time: there will be an introduction at 7.45pm followed by the film screening at 8pm.
Tickets: Free, but places are limited. Register on Eventbrite to guarantee your place. 

Launched in September 2017, The Hamlets Pop-Up Cinema is community cinema project managed by film charity Balik Arts and supported by Tower Hamlets Council as part of its Thriving High Streets programme.  Follow this blog, or The Hamlets on Facebook and Twitter for more information about future events, screenings and free training on how to run your own community cinema.


Popular posts from this blog

The Hamlets host Q&A with award-wining Bangladeshi filmmaker Tauquir Ahmed in Brick Lane

Going Turkish in Bethnal Green: UK film premiere of My Suburban Story, followed by dinner at Wood Mangal

Spreading a little Mutluluk / Happiness in Bethnal Green