Ibrahim Moosa Manik
Talking About Faree
If Faree contains a message, it may be this: we are products of our social settings. As people embedded in particular milieus, Ahmed Saeed (Andhu) attributes to us a very limited agency. The forces that act upon the individual (somehow) produce desire and action, and these forces are (usually) greater than the will and might of any one person.
“Think of it like this,” he said. “If somebody steals something, for example, I’m more interested in ‘the why’ of it. Because there is always a ‘why’. If someone’s a criminal, so is their social environment.”
Faree is a film about a divorced parent of one, who returns to her family – her younger sister and her conservative mother who runs the family corner shop.
“I want to show how a woman like Faree, who wants to rebuild her life, deals with people like her mother, whose idea of a good woman is one who’s subservient to her husband. And when there are strong emotions in the mix, like love, things become very complex.”
People, for Andhu, are largely the product of circumstance. And this has an impact on how he practices filmmaking in which much of a director’s totalitarian tendencies are absent. Unsurprisingly, his directorial approach was a little disorienting to those involved.
“I wanted to eliminate directorial decisions as much as possible and make the process more collaborative,” he explained. “I wanted everyone to bring their ideas to the table.”
Inspired by Italian neorealist cinema, especially the work of Rossellini and Antonioni, Andhu’s filmmaking style is the antithesis of directors like Kubrick, who, in popular imagination at least, exerted total control over every aspect of their films.
“I chose the collaborative path out of necessity,” Andhu said. “I don’t know everything, which is why I hired experts. I expect them to do their work without asking me how they should go about it. I expect them to have some ideas about the film.”
As Faree is Andhu’s first feature-length, he is understandably anxious about its reception. “I’ve been told that the incidents that take place in this film are very commonplace,” he said. “And it’s true. It’s what interests me, though. It’s the kind of material that’s very obvious but gets little attention on the screen.”
“I want to see the audience’s reaction,” he continued. “And I think my anxiety stems partly from the fact that I haven’t been able to fully realise my vision. And I don’t think I can, ever. But that’s what it means to be a filmmaker, for me. I’d probably be a writer otherwise.”
Faree will be available to stream from 29th March, only on Baiskoafu.