Everything about In Flames is stressful and horrific. In Flames - which had its premiere at Director's Fortnight in Cannes earlier this year.

In the case of In Flames, the love letter is eloquent and poignant : you cannot help but admire Karachi's very specific brand of unabashed beauty as you watch, and you cannot but help acknowledge the distortion of this beauty as lives live themselves out in the city.

Director and writer Zarrar Kahn stated at one of the film's international screenings that he put down this very what-ails-society story in a horror frame, so the 'victim' or we understand as we watch the film,  woman/women in the story can come out on top.

It should speak more to our society than the creator of the film that it takes a trope to make a woman win in a about Pakistan, but actually, it does speak to Kahn's processing of Ideas than it does.

While horror as a genre is often a response to the world around us, with real life situations expressed as monsters and endemics and violent streaks, Kahn's story has the ghosts of Mariam's life chasing her everywhere.

Whether it is a deep-voiced, zomboid apparition in the mirror, or the men that ogle at her as though it were second nature,  Marian can't seem to escape them.

The cast of the film delivers on every account. Bakhtawar Mazhar is a theater vet by now, and she translates her character as well to screen as she does to stage as you'd expect. 

She's played everything from a vindictive survivor to a woman always overshadowed by men through the course of her career and she's done it brilliantly every time.

Adnan Shah - or Tipu, as most of us know him - is aptly skeezy and one would expect nothing less of him.

Oman Javaid, who plays Marian's love interest, Asad, is sneakily chameleon-like. So natural you'd think he's just being himself, it turns out, he's just that good at impersonating your garden variety Pakistani boyfriend. IYKYK.

The star, in my opinion, who shone brightest is Ramesha Nawal. She photographs gorgeously, she speaks so well, and she brings both steel and vulnerability to her character.

It is well-constructed, beautifully filmed :  every frame can be a work of art ; and ultimately satisfying, because if you're a woman, regardless of where you're from, being a final girl, sometimes, seems like the only time we can win.

The World Students Society thanks Amina Baig.


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