6.9/10
726
47 user 15 critic

Yasmin (2004)

A young Muslim woman living in Britain campaigns for the release of her immigrant husband from his detainment in a holding centre.

Director:

Kenneth Glenaan

Writer:

Simon Beaufoy
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6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Archie Panjabi ... Yasmin Husseini
Renu Setna ... Khalid
Steve Jackson Steve Jackson ... John
Syed Ahmed Syed Ahmed ... Nasir
Shahid Ahmed Shahid Ahmed ... Faysal Husseini
Badi Uzzaman ... Hassan
Amar Hussain Amar Hussain ... Kamal
Joanna Booth Joanna Booth ... Cheryl
Emma Ashton Emma Ashton ... Sam
Rae Kelly Hill Rae Kelly Hill ... Wendy (as Rae Kelly)
Tammy Barker Tammy Barker ... Anna
Suraj Dass Suraj Dass ... Kashiff
Miriam Ali Miriam Ali ... Amina
Mary Wray ... Mary
Joyce Kennedy Joyce Kennedy ... Bobby
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Storyline

In England, the Pakistanis Yasmin lives two lives in two different worlds: in her community, she wears Muslin clothes, cooks for her father and brother, and behaves as a traditional Muslin woman. Further, she has a unconsummated marriage with the illegal immigrant Faysal to facilitate the British stamp in his passport, after which she will divorce him. In her job, she changes her clothes and dresses like a Westerner, is considered a standard employee, and has a good friend, a Caucasian, who likes her. After September 11, the prejudice in her job and the treatment of common people make her take sides and change her life. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany | UK

Language:

English | Punjabi

Release Date:

26 May 2005 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Yasmin - Uma Mulher, Duas Vidas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Yasmin chases off a group of boys who are throwing milk at a Muslim woman, an old lady comes up and apologizes for their behavior. This moment was completely unscripted - the crew were filming on a real street and the old lady was just a passer-by who hadn't noticed the cameras. See more »

Goofs

Yasmin is zapping through the TV program, but you there is no channel-sign. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bend it like Blunkett
23 August 2004 | by Chris_DockerSee all my reviews

The above title was suggested as a suitable alternative name for the film by one of the crew who was I was chatting to after its screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. David Blunkett's attempts to flout or re-write the law have produced widespread condemnation from civil liberties groups and lawyers - but one of the minority groups most affected is British Muslims.

In this warm, light-hearted comedy, set in a British Muslim community immediately around and immediately after 9/11, we see the horror of what members of that community were faced with as a result of the social, institutional and (shamefully) police and legal disregard for their civil liberties. In explaining the extensive research behind the film, Director Kenneth Glenaan says the examples used (innocent families being awoken by police 'terror' squads, thrusting guns in their faces, detaining them indefinitely etc) were typical of many actual cases, as were the scenes of discrimination and abuse in the workplace and in the street.

In our story, a modern, working Pakistani woman, Yasmin, has a traditional (if lay-about) husband who is falsely imprisoned as a terrorist suspect. It turns out that the rather simple chap, isolated by his poor English, had been making long phone calls to his brother back home – who it so happens was a teacher at a school that had received funds from the Kashmir Liberation Front (which has connections with terrorism). Yasmin was about to divorce him, but the disingenuousness of the authorities eventually leads her to take his side as she realises injustices are being perpetrated against him.

Other members of the family cover a range of attitudes, from the newly-recruited activist son distributing flyers (when not selling hash or working at the local mosque), the father who keeps trying to introduce a note of common sense, to the youths who find their new-found I(if fictitious) aura of ‘potentially dangerous freedom fighters' helps them attract local white girls. We see the way a decent white person woos a Pakistani who is not a practicing Muslim, how she has adapted to western values, yet we also see the bigoted look of shock on his face when she suggests he accompany her to the mosque one day. We see police tactics from the point of view of Muslims who have nothing to hide, the repugnance of those police tactics, yet when we examine them honestly we realise they are quite what we might expect – and we wouldn't have found them repugnant unless we saw them from the receiving end.

But Yasmin is not a diatribe or an ode to the miseries of a disenfranchised group. It is a film about the many positive experiences that everyone can relate to within a small British Muslim community. It takes away much of the mystique and makes everyday Islam a little less arcane to the western newcomer. It uncovers more similarities than differences. It is a film that crosses borders, that lets us enter other peoples' hearts (in a similar way that a Full Monty, by the same writer, did), but it also leaves us with very serious questions to consider.

A few of things I pondered during this film:

In Britain, most white people cannot distinguish (by looking) between a Pakistani, an Iraqi, a Palestinian, a Syrian, etc. Neither can we distinguish the accents (a point also made by Control Room filmmaker Jehane Noujaim - the 'Iraqis' toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein did not appear to be Iraqis).

When we hold our western democracy up as an example for other countries to emulate, it is shameful that our government should be guilty of implementing such unworthy measures as those experienced by British Muslims.

The attitude of the British government has pushed Muslims together, of whatever background: if faced with a choice of two evils, people are more likely to be understanding of family and those of the same or similar culture. The attitude of our government in clamping down unjustly and indiscriminately on Brtitish Muslims in itself helps to foster terrorism, and gives terrorist recruiters more ammunition (just as Bush's actions in Iraq, in immediate practical terms, increased the threat of terrorism).

Not all people in a Muslim community are Muslims! Some haven't been to a mosque for years.

The lies told to the British public over Iraq cause untold suffering to innocent British Muslims. Not only indirectly through prejudices introduced through the system, but they are blamed in a totalitarian way simply because they are Muslim. The real culprits, those with massive oil interests (primarily Osama bin Laden and co and George Bush & co), and those that fund and keep terrorism covert (primarily Saudi Arabia and the CIA) are given a light dusting by the public and the authorities - largely because they are untouchable (and Saudi Arabia's foreign investments are so vast that upsetting them will upset the Western economy).

In the Muslim / Arab's mind, all the Middle East conflicts centre around Palestine. This has been said again and again but is ignored by Westerners. Right Wing USA has no real intention of 'solving' the Israeli/Palestinian conflict except as part of U.S. expansionism, as outlined by the NeoConservatives' blueprints that guide U.S. foreign policy. Anyone wanting a fuller understanding of the East-West Islam-Christianity relations and conflicts need only study and comprehend the Israel-Palestine situation.

Yasmin uses a number of stereotypes, all pushed together into one family. This is its strength and its weakness - to break new ground, especially using the medium of light comedy (which reaches people persuasively without polemic), stereotypes help to focus public awareness. The weakness is that many Muslims may feel patronised by the simplisticness. Many stereotypes are also not covered - the well-educated, middle class British Muslim, for instance. But some of these themes are outwith the scope of the film. Reactions to the movie at the Edinburgh International Film Festival screenings, both ecstatic and critical, show there is still much to be done. But this film opens at least a window of understanding for the white, non-Muslim community on the subject of oppression of British Muslims since 9/11 - a very small window perhaps, but perhaps the first one. At the time of writing, the film has distribution rights secured all over Europe - except, of course, the island where Mr Blunkett happens to live.


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