Unfortunate rhyming headlines aside, the trailer for Slackistan makes it look like the Reality Bites of Islamabad. The movie from newcomer Hammad Khan features the restlessness of 20-somethings in Pakistan’s capital city as they go from being talented students to being unemployed and without direction.
Pakistan has effectively banned the movie’s release (even as it rocks its way around UK theaters and international festivals) by not allowing it passage through the hallowed Central Board of Film Censors (the only body that could make us appreciate the MPAA).
Check out the trailer for yourself and the list of sins perpetrated by this banned movie:
It’s definitely got a mid-90s US indie vibe to it. A lot to do in the city but not much will to do it, a world of lazy repetition, the difficulty of finding a job with meaning, the sitting around wondering if girls are looking at you.
The trailer is fairly standard, and it makes the film look a bit unexciting, but it also looks like it has slow-burn potential. Plus, a bunch of young adults sitting around wondering what life is all about has to hit theaters every so often to remind us that we should be questioning what it’s all about too.
As for the sins? The Censors won’t let the film be released because it:
Mentions the Taliban
Mentions Osama Bin Laden
Brings up beards and Islamic attire (probably in a mocking way)
Uses the word “lesbian”
Uses curse words in English and Urdu
Shows people consuming alcohol
In other news, The Mechanic hits theaters this weekend.
Khan gave this response in a press release:
“The censor board’s verdict is oppressive, arbitrary and steeped in denial about life outside their government offices. Maybe the establishment’s view is that young Pakistanis saying words like ‘Taliban’ and ‘Lesbian’ represent a more potent threat than the bullets and bombs that are, day by day, finding increasing legitimacy in the country. Apart from being an undemocratic restriction on the filmmaker’s right of expression, the verdict shows the disdain with which the authorities regard local film culture and liberal ideas, in the face of growing extremism and intolerance.”
It’s unclear whether Slackistan will get a US release, but it’s interesting how a concept that’s so prevalent in our theaters can cause this much of an uproar in another country. It’s a movie about people being bored. How dangerous can that be?
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