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Zero Bridge

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Zero Bridge

Taniya Khan and Mohamad Imran Tapa in 'Zero Bridge'

Film Forum
Tariq Tapa’s first film, the award winning Zero Bridge, has a strong, deceptive pull. At first, you might think watching this small foreign film is good for you -- like a dose of medicine. Learn about another culture, support a young filmmaker. This is no Hollywood action film, not even a twisted French romance. It feels very much like watching real life.

Seventeen-year-old Dilawar (Mohamad Imran Tapa) is a small time thief. He’s also a smart and good-looking kid with a strikingly large, oddly shaped nose who speaks fluent English, excels at math, and does homework for pay. His life in military-occupied Kashmir is bleak. He’s regularly beaten by his uncle, who took him into his home after his adopted mother left him, using the boy as a source of free labor.

Almost effortlessly, the plot of Zero Bridge grabs you. A moral dilema is set early on. Dilawar robs the bag of a beautiful older woman (Taniya Khan). He later meets her again, and again, in the place where she works. Bani befriends him, seeks his company. They are the ambitious, smart ones in their forsaken town, the ones who want to get out. She teaches him how to play chess. Diliwar has the chance to do the right thing by this woman and fails. And then, is given another chance.

Tapa’s film asks us to care about Diliwar despite his reprehensible actions. Remarkably enough, the filmmaker succeeds. He gets us to care about Bani, too. Zero Bridge creates drama and suspense up until the end. You will not be sorry to have swallowed this particular pill.

Zero Bridge (2008)

Director: Tariq Tapa
Country/Year: Kashmir/USA, 2008
Running Time: 96 mins
Language: Kashmiri/Urdu with English subtitles
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