Archive for the ‘Aleem Khan’ Category

The Provider for Both Worlds

After Love

Director: Aleem Khan

Cast: Joanna Scanlan, Nathalie Richard, Talid Ariss, Nasser Memarzia

This film is in English, French and Urdu with subtitles

Screened virtually at the 2021 European Film Festival

British Pakistani film director Aleem Khan makes his impressive feature length debut with his thought provoking film After Love starring the amazing British actress Joanna Scanlan (Tulip Fever, Notes on a Scandal, Testament of Youth) and French actress Nathalie Richard who share a unique bond, which is complicated, maternal and at times malicious.

After Love shot mainly in Dover and in Calais, centres on a British woman who converted to Islam to marry her adoring Pakistani husband Ahmed briefly played by Nasser Memarzia.

Unfortunately, Ahmed dies of a sudden heart attack leaving his wife Mary beautifully portrayed by Joanna Scanlan who inhabits every frame of the screen, is left adrift.

Mary soon discovers that her late husband had a lover living in Calais, France just 21 miles away across the English Channel. Summoning all the courage in the world, Mary makes the journey to Calais to meet her late husband’s lover, a vivacious blond named Genevieve wonderfully played by Nathalie Richard who is not only coping with being a single mother but is in the process of moving to a bigger home in Calais.

Genevieve has to contend with Ahmed’s biological son Solomon played by Talid Ariss who constantly resents his mother and is harbouring sexual secrets of his own, a teenager bristling with attitude and deceit as he constantly wonders where his wayward father is.

In a careful plot twist, Genevieve mistakes Mary as an agency housekeeper coming to help her tidy up and move home. Mary knowingly insinuates herself into the complex lives of Genevieve and her obstreperous teenage son, while keeping her real identity private until all the secrets and lies are revealed in one final family dinner.

Joanna Scanlan is amazing in her first major role as the protagonist playing a white British Muslim woman who has to not only deal with her late husband’s death but the wider implications of discovering that he had a mistress and son across the Channel.

After Love is a careful study of the complex lives people live without becoming preachy or didactic, held together by a superbly understated performance by Scanlan who holds the entire film together even as her character’s world is both figuratively and literally changing around her. Joanna Scanlan deserves an Oscar nomination for this role. She is absolutely superb.

After Love debuted at the Cannes and Thessalonki Film festival in 2020 and now viewers can catch this fascinating film at the 2021 European film Festival online.

It’s highly recommended viewing and gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

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