Purdah (2018) [Cinequest Film and VR Festival 2018]

A young woman is given the ok to remove her burka to pursue her dream of becoming a professional cricket player. As she fights to get her dream in one way or another, her sisters also fight to get their lives to where they can be happy. As challenges and problems keep coming, they keep fighting to get the best lives they can, even against all odds at times.

Director Jeremy Guy crafts a documentary that is in two parts in a way as he first follows Kaikasha and her dream of playing cricket professionally. As she evolves in her field and comes close to her goal, her family sees challenges change in their lives and things go in an unexpected way for them. His view on them comes off as very direct and letting the entire family speak their minds. He lets them say what they want to say, together as a family and separately. Their interviews are fairly in depth and as the film advances and one can see things changing for the family, they are more personal and with opinions that are less and less influenced by others. The changes in their lives make them stronger and more understanding of each other and others in world as they are forced to see more of it and learn more about it.

The film is short in a manner that is very matter-of-fact and direct, showing mostly interviews and footage of the family and almost nothing of what is outside of their home and family unit. This gives a limited view of them but a completely personal view of their lives. The cinematography keeps things personal with framing and shots that keeps them at the center of everything and grow closer and closer to them as the run time advances. This works in this case as the documentary is all about this one family, their beliefs, their dreams, and their struggles.

Purdah is a film that shows well how a belief system and the guidance of one’s religion can impact children’s dreams and adults’ lives. Here it is shown how one family decides what to follow and what not to follow in their upbringing and the belief system they were raised in while also showing how this affects them directly and indirectly. It all leads to an interested “fly on the wall” type of view on a single family, as if the camera became a family member in who they all confide, as a group or individually. The way each applies what they have been taught and their beliefs is shown with their effects, be it positive or negative.