Review Bengali

For Each Other review: A simple, life-affirming story about unconventional dreams

Release Date: 2021


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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Rima Das’s film is a celebration of community living through the story of a young woman and her hopes for the future.

Rima Das’s latest film, the Assamese-language romantic short, For Each Other, unfolds in a quiet corner of Assam, where a flamboyant tempo driver is in love with a shop owner.

The slice-of-life short is part of an anthology of five films by filmmakers from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping of the world's leading emerging market economies. With acclaimed filmmaker Jia Zhangke as executive producer, the theme for the anthology is neighbours. The rest of the films in the anthology are Olga's Family by Beatriz Seigner from Brazil, To Stumble by Alexander Zolotukhin from Russia, The Neighbours by Han Yan from China and Sizohlala by Jenna Bass from South Africa.

For Each Other is the story of Malati and Ramen, who have dreams for the future and responsibilities to shoulder in the meantime. Malati takes loving care of her grandfather and manages her home while also running a shop. Ramen is a tempo driver, who owns the only such vehicle in the village, and has his regular passengers who depend on him to get to work. He plans to marry her soon. One day, when he hurts his leg in an accident, the village is rendered helpless as they need to find a tempo driver who will drive them to work. 

The self-taught filmmaker’s forte lies in bringing alive the local community and its concerns with sensitivity. Malati has an unconventional dream and Ramen fulfils it, standing by her and supporting her in front of the village folk. The film brings out the beautiful companionship that the two lovers share through small yet significant moments: she waits for him till he gets back from his route, he encourages her to follow her heart and helps fulfil her desires.

Along with this, we see the spirited and self-reliant Malati, who goes about her daily life and is bound by her circumstances but aspires to accomplish other things. She shares a caring bond with her grandfather and is responsible and playful with him. 

Beautifully shot, the film captures the everyday rhythm of village life. Das presents an intimate portrait of women in the village as we see them sitting together, sharing stories, forging a sisterhood. Along with this, she brings in the interconnections between village people, their interdependencies, shared spaces and lives in a joyous celebration of community living.

The film has been screened at several festivals across the world and was recently screened as part of the International Film Festival of South Asia in Toronto, Canada.

 

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