LFF 2020: The Salt In Our Waters – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 46 minutes, Director – Rezwan Shahriar Sumit

A young artist (Titas Zia) finds a small fishing village turning against him, his creations and most of all his modern-world views and knowledge.

The picturesque sights, sounds and colours of the Bangladeshi fishing village that young artist Rudro (Titas Zia) arrives in at the beginning of writer-director Rezwan Shahriar Sumit’s debut feature initially appear to be like those on an idealistic travel brochure. However, as he acquaints himself with the locals the response is much colder than the environment he finds himself having visited for inspiration. The village, far different to his home city, is already experiencing problems when it comes to the fish that they catch; the annual monsoon has failed to arrive, something which is blamed on Rudro’s presence, meaning that there’s little intake.

Rudro particularly finds himself battling with the iron-fisted Chairman (Fazlur Rahman Babu). He believes that the stranger’s sculptures and mannequins are false gods that have curse the small, isolated community, although Rudro claims that this is an effect of unheard of climate change. Soon rumours are spread and Zia’s protagonist becomes the target of fear, uncertainty and misconceptions amongst the people who are guided by the Chairman. After all, this man has arrived and instantly begun to corrupt the children with art lessons and other non-fishing related frivolities. From these clashes arrives heated tension between the forces, felt in their exchanges, particularly from Babu’s strong performance of rage.

The Chairman’s situation is made worse when it turns out that his daughter, Tuni (Tasnova Tamanna), has been growing closer to what he perceives to be a disturber of the peace and the community’s order and obedience. It simply adds to the fire of the film’s events, enough to keep you engaged and interested within the narrative, which does mostly lean towards Rudro’s feuds with, and protests against the views of, the Chairman. There’s interest in how things are going to pan out and good performances from the whole cast allow for further engagement within the piece. During some exchanges you find yourself caught in the crossfire, watching unsure as to who might come out worse from it. Such battles between young and old, city-life and isolation, familiarity and outside ideas make for a strong debut from Rezwan Shahriar Sumit that engages with the heated exchanges and challenges between characters well and brings the viewer in well-enough for the experience.

The Salt In Our Waters is an interesting depiction of two different societal beliefs and ideals, there’s tension in the two central performances as they feud throughout Rezwan Shahriar Sumit’s debut feature.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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