‘And Breathe Normally’, and the interesting ways in which black and white critics write

Posted on November 1, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/and-breathe-normally-reviews-reveal-the-interesting-ways-in-which-black-and-white-critics-write-5483691.html

Ísold Uggadóttir’s Icelandic drama, And Breathe Normally, played at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival With Star, and the first scene shows you the reason behind that title. Lara (Kristín Thóra Haraldsdóttir), a single mother, is at the supermarket, realising how much she has to pay for her purchases. She empties her purse. What she has isn’t enough. She hands over a debit card. It’s declined. A man behind her offers to pay the remainder. She chooses, instead, to return a few items and get out of there. Haraldsdóttir is so brilliant at putting across a proud woman on the verge of humiliation that  my nerves were shredded. I didn’t want anyone to say anything to Lara, not even shoot her an impatient look. Later, she climbs into her old, red Volkswagen. You expect her to break down, but it feels like she’s finally exhaling. It’s the title: And Breathe Normally.

Things get slightly better when Lara lands a position as a trainee with the border security force at the airport. She flags the passport of Adja (Babetida Sadjo), a black woman who says she’s from France — but investigation reveals that she’s an asylum seeker from Guinea Bissau. Adja is jailed for a short term, and then thrown into a refugee centre, where she awaits news of her fate. Does Lara feel guilty? Instead of clear answers, we get information in the form of asides. When Lara glances at her phone, we realise her mother lives in Norway. When Lara discovers drugs at the back of a drawer, we realise she’s a recently recovered addict. And when she kisses the mother of her son’s classmate, we realise she’s… lesbian? Bi? Curious? Some may complain that they need more information. Others will realise that this is like life around us. We don’t demand to know everything about our neighbours. Why not extend the same courtesy to Lara?

Continued at the link above.

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