Set in contemporary Kashmir, Mr. Bashir’s début film as writer-director is full of gentle but important flashes of color: red autumn leaves rustling in the wind, black eagles soaring over the mountains and the lake, the deep green of the Kashmiri flag, the yellow of saffron rice as it is eaten, the sharp pink of a woman’s garments. These little bursts of color give us reprieve from the dark monotony of violence. The film traces an autumn of the life of Rafiq, a young man who has returned to Kashmir after an unsuccessful attempt to escape to Pakistan. The film patiently and carefully illuminates a tragic life: his brother’s disappearance, the violence in his city, his father’s post-traumatic depression, and the difficulty of finding his voice and his self in a fractured community. Where does a young man turn to in the face of such despair? Does he flee, take refuge in his family, commit violence, or, in Rafiq’s case, find meaningful connections with the disappeared and with the hopeful? Mr. Bashir’s début is thoughtful, engaging, compelling, and unflinching in its narrative, with a clear political point of view and directorial style.
Harud (Autumn). Dir. by Aamir Bashir. Chasing Tales, 2010.