By Philip Benton @pablobento
My experience of Norwegian film-making is limited to the “slow-tv” shows which made headlines around the world including a 7 hour train ride, a 134 hour ferry voyage and a knitting marathon which were phenomenally successful with Norwegian viewers. So my expectations were not high despite the film being selected by Norway as its entry for ‘Best Foreign Film’ at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Directed by Iram Haq, ‘I Am Yours’ is reminiscent of her life as a child of Pakistani immigrants growing up in Norway. The central character Mina (Amrita Acharia – Game of Thrones), an aspiring actress, rebels against the tag of obedient daughter and traditional mother to her 6 year old son Felix (Prince Singh), whom she shares custody over with her ex-husband.
Mina is conflicted in her quest for true love whilst juggling the demands of being a mother and has difficulty combining both. Mina meets Swedish filmmaker Jesper (Ola Rapace) but the relationship becomes immediately strained when Jesper returns to Stockholm. Despite Jesper’s initial enthusiasm for Felix to visit, it quickly becomes clear that he is unable to cope with the additional responsibility of being a parent and pursuing a screenwriting career. When Mina joins Jesper in one of his boxing sessions, she neglects Felix prompting a tirade of “you don’t love me, you don’t love me” when she returns.
Mina’s struggles through life become harder with her disapproving mother constantly berating Mina for leaving a successful architect of an ex-husband and constantly concerned at how the Norwegian-Pakistani community view Mina’s lifestyle choices. When Mina rejects her mother’s advances to arrange a marriage, her parents effectively disown their daughter ashamed at what she has become.
Ruled by loneliness, Mina constantly makes bad decisions in her pursuit of love and gets involved with guys who are in more complicated situations than herself. Actress Acharia is brilliant at capturing the difficulty of being an outsider in both your own Pakistani community and adopted Norwegian life, presumably reflecting much of director Haq’s life.
‘I Am Yours’ is a gritty tale of the challenges faced by a young single mother when two cultures collide. It’s certainly an intriguing film made very watchable by the superb acting in particular of Acharia (Mina) and Singh (Felix) and an impressive debut feature film from Iram Haq.
I Am Yours is out in selected cinemas nationwide from Friday 30th January.