‘Yasmin is remarkable as a film for its cinematic economy: not a scene, shot or speech is wasted.’ Explore some elements of the film in relation to this statement.
The movie Yasmin, released in 2004 and written by the highly acclaimed writer of The Full Monty, Simon Beaufoy, is an impressive drama about what it means to be an Asian-looking Muslim in Britain of the 21st Century. The story is about the young and vivid Yasmin, a woman who tries to "succeed, by the skin of her teeth," in the two worlds she grew up in. On the one hand there is her life at home with her believing father and rebellious little brother, for whom she has to mark "time as a dutiful Muslim wife until her arranged marriage can be terminated." On the other hand there is her life outside this domesticity, where she is "like a fugitive, maintaining a double life as she changes into Western clothes, wins employee of month award at work and goes to the pub with colleagues." One of the main topics of the movie is the difficult tension between being a religious and respectful woman and integrating into the Western society. Another important theme in the movie is the impact that the terror attacks in September 2001 had on the British Asian community in Britain. Yasmin’s story therefore deals with a wide range of themes such as discrimination, guilt, and the progress of searching for one’s own identity. It is especially "remarkable as a film for its cinematic economy (since) not a scene, shot or speech is wasted." There are no fill-ups in this movie, everything has a meaning. This essay will explore some carefully chosen scenes of the movie concerning its sometimes hidden or masked intention and meaning. It will therefore especially concentrate on the beginning scene, which is regarded as being "the strongest part of the film". A closer look at the opening of the film is worth it since every well composed novel or film is creating a deliberate relationship between the beginning and the rest of the movie. It will be examined in the following, that additionally in the case of Yasmin the directors develop a consistency, a pattern of the main themes of the film, in the beginning. Everything is already there in the very first three and a half minutes; things shown in the opening reappear later in the movie; conflicts the film deals with can already be assumed in moves, placements, and pictures. It will be proven that, if taken into account every detail, every shot of the scene, the viewer will already be able to see the whole film in miniature in the beginning. The essay will therefore also have a closer look on what is shown in the opening scene and will then search for coherences and connections throughout the rest of the movie. It will hereby not go through the scene chronologically but will pick up separate shots of it and put them together in categories; although it will start with the first shot to which the viewer is introduced in the movie. When Khalid, Yasmin´s father, lopes over a typical grey English street followed by Nazir, Yasmin´s brother, a few steps behind him, Nazir´s bearing strikes the viewer immediately: the way he creeps a few steps behind his father with the hands in his pockets expresses discouragement, maybe even irritation. He seems to be unhappy with the situation, possibly because it´s too early in the morning, since gentle beams of sunrise just touch the wall behind them; possibly because he dislikes the purpose of their walk. His father, however, hastens to raise this purpose: in his hurry he turns around to see where his son has got to. It becomes clear that it is the father who controls the situation— that he is the leader whom the son has to follow. So apart from the obvious, the authority person walking in front might tell the viewer something about the relation between father and son. One could even go further and suggest it might also tell something about their attitude towards life, about their religion, about the...
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