April 8 - 18, 2021
Oscar® nominee Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal, “The Night Of”) co-authors and stars in this drama about an up-and-coming British rapper who develops an autoimmune degenerative disorder, forcing him to move back in with his traditional-minded Pakistani family.
Screening features a prerecorded Q&A with Bassam Tariq (director) and Riz Ahmed (writer/actor).
After a string of successful shows in New York City clubs, rapper Zed (Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal) is on the verge of superstardom, his manager having secured an opening slot on a high-profile European tour. But before embarking on tour, Zed returns home after an absence of two years to visit his Pakistani-émigré family in London. As he tries to reconnect with his parents through family dinners, mosque visits, and the homemade mix tapes of Qawwali music he made with his father Bashir (Alyy Khan), Zaheer—as his family knows him—begins to suffer from sporadic bouts of muscle weakness. When Zed has a chilling encounter with an obsessed fan that leads to his collapse, he wakes up in hospital diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder. Given a bleak prognosis, he enrolls in an experimental therapy could restore his health but may leave him infertile. As his condition worsens, Zed sees his career breakthrough slipping away—replaced on tour by his crass, sophomoric rival—causing him to descend into a delirium of childhood memories and surreal hallucinations as he struggles to reconnect with his own repressed cultural inheritance. In another astonishing performance, Riz Ahmed and his collaborator, director Bassam Tariq, brilliantly illuminate the trials and triumphs of transcultural identity.
Bassam Tariq is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter born in Karachi, Pakistan. He co-directed and produced the Sundance-funded documentary These Birds Walk with Omar Mullick, and he was named in Filmmaker's "25 New Faces of Independent Film" in 2012.
- Director: Bassam Tariq
- Principal Cast: Riz Ahmed, Alyy Khan, Sudha Bhuchar, Aiysha Hart, Nabhaan Rizwan
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: United Kingdom
- Year: 2020
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Producer: Thomas Benksi, Bennett McGhee, Riz Ahmed, Michael Peay
- Screenplay: Bassam Tariq, Riz Ahmed
- Cinematographers: Annika Summerson
- Editors: Adam Biskupski, Hazel Baillie
- Music: Paul Corley
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Berlin International Film Festival 2020 (FIPRESCI Prize)
- Filmography: These Birds Walk (2012, doc.)
- Language: English, Urdu
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- US Distributor: Strand Releasing
- International Sales: Charades