IFFK Special: 'Our lady of the Nile' is empathetic to the plight of its characters
Atiq Rahimi's 'Our lady of the Nile' is an adaptation of Scholastique Mukasonga's semi-autobiographical by the same name. The story is set in 1973 Rwanda at a boarding school run by Catholic priests and nuns, almost 20 years before the mass slaughter of Tutsi ethnic groups in the country.
Atiq Rahimi's movie doesn't show the actual massacre or the events that led up to it. Rather, the movie carefully traces the psyche and toxic atmosphere that eventually results in it. The brilliantly staged climax, in a way, recreates the atmosphere of the massacre.
The movie remains empathetic to the plight of the characters. The cinematographer closely follows the characters and the visuals gives us a sort of 'intimacy'.
The flash back portion in the climax is remarkably touching. When the girls of Tutsi community were attacked by the militants, the director employed silence in the background instead of music, as if refusing to celebrate the action.