Rehana Maryam Noor: The complexity of holding ground

Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s film Rehana Mariam Noor was the first Bangladeshi film to be showcased at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, garnering critical acclaim both locally and internationally. The film was featured in the Un Certain Regard section and received standing ovations, a milestone for Bangladeshi cinema.

Azmeri Haque Badhon plays Rehana, a 37-year-old assistant professor at a private medical college who embarks on the difficult journey of obtaining justice for a student, a battle that eventually shapes her own psyche. The movie reflects on the harsh realities of misogyny, gendered expectations, and the victim-blaming culture of Bangladeshi society, which is exquisitely represented by the cast. Rehana fights against ills forced on the women of the society she lives in and unapologetically speaks out against the authorities for justice, in ways that may send shivers down the audience’s spine. The artistic genius of the director lies in the unconventional cinematography, unobtrusive but elevating background music, and the extraordinary delivery of impactful dialogues. 
With its brilliant script and the dynamic presence of the female lead, Rehana Maryam Noor sophisticatedly subverts the societal norms concerning gender stereotypes and patriarchal adherence, making its milestone status in the Bangladeshi film industry well deserved.

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