Rehana Maryam Noor

Abdullah Mohammad Saad
Sat 23 Apr 22 - Sun 1 May 22

Sexual misconduct is a huge problem in the patriarchal society of Bangladesh. When a woman wants to denounce this abuse, she finds herself in a maze of resistance.

Rehana is a thirty-seven-year-old woman who works as an assistant-professor at the Medical Academy of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. She is tough, strict and not particularly sociable, giving her quite a reputation among students. At the same time, she has to raise her daughter by herself,financially support her brother and take care of her elderly mother.

One day, Rehana catches her student Mimi cheating on an exam. Without mercy, she kicks Mimi out of the classroom, in spite of her friend Annie’s protests. Soon after, Rehana sees Annie being harassed by her superior, Dr. Arefin. She takes care of Annie and does everything she can to hold the professor accountable for his actions. Her mission takes her to his wife, Ayesha, who happens to be her friend, to the school’s principle and to the doctor himself. But the whole system turns on her, including the students. Her daughter is having difficulties at school because of her behaviour,which Rehana does not seemto notice.

Abdullah Mohammad Saad has made a thriller in an atmospheric, blurry shade of blue. The tension and the pain start in the very first image and do not stop throughout the film. The small classrooms, the narrow hallways and the crowded offices at the Academy create a claustrophobic atmosphere. Rehana becomes more and more entangled in a maze of setbacks, from which it seems impossible to escape. In the patriarchal Bengali society, it is almost impossible for a woman to denounce abuse without making things worse for herself. It is an almost impossible task to fight against a sexist institution which is out to protect a male professor’s career and ruin the life of the female accuser.

Abdullah Mohammad Saad
107 min
Dutch, English

Bangladesh’s Oscar submission tells the gripping tale of a female doctor involved in a sexual assault case.