With Nina’s Heavenly Delights coming up, I saw Brick Lane last week. I think they make interesting companion pieces, since they draw on some similar themes but treat them very differently I think. Both have been shot with typically small budgets for British films – Brick Lane cost only £3.2 million, but the producers comment (in Q&A) is that every single penny is up on the screen. The cinematography in both is breathtaking given the budget; Robbie Ryan, who did Andrea Arnold’s fantastic Red Road, shot Brick Lane as well.
At the heart of both films is an intense (and for some controversial) drama. Brick Lane relies (rightly) on the strength of Tannishtha Chatterjee’s ability to convey emotions with very little dialogue – translating the inner world existence of this immigrant woman, powerfully, from the book to the screen.
I found it reminded me of others of our films – The Namesake, for its powerful realisation of dramatising a woman’s journey to a new identity in a new country (although these are interesting to compare for their different treatments of the issue of racism) and something of the intensity Ahoo’s resistance in The Day I became a Woman.