Donkey in Lahore
Photos and Video
When director Faramarz K-Rahber first met him, Brian was a newly minted master puppeteer happily immersed in the Brisbane, Australia goth scene. But in 2000, Brian's world was upended: While performing at a puppet festival in Lahore, Pakistan, Brian met and fell head over heels for Amber, a young Muslim woman from a highly traditional Pakistani family. Though it would be more than two years before he laid eyes on her again, Brian grabbed destiny with both hands, converting to Islam, changing his name to Aamir, and plunging himself into the complicated rituals that govern courtship in Pakistan. As Donkey in Lahore shows, however, marrying Amber is the easy part. K-Rahber's vérité-style documentary picks up speed and suspense as negotiations for Amber's hand give way to Brian's long-distance pleas for help filling out her immigration visa(a process more byzantine, indeed, than anything else hundreds of years of tradition has devised). And as he waits-and waits-to be reunited with his bride, Brian comes face-to-webcammed-face with his romance's most daunting hurdle of all: Amber herself. Where Brian is a peripatetically employed misfit desperate for acceptance, Amber is undemonstrative and cloistered and not entirely sure she's ready to fling herself thousands of miles away from the bosom of her family. Though probing of both his principals, K-Rahber reserves judgment on their quixotic courtship, leaving his commentary to provide context and allowing this post-globalization Romeo and Juliet tale to play itself out on its own. Perhaps if Shakespeare's young lovers had shown as much patience as Brian and Amber, they too would have met a happy ending after all.
Director's Statement Collapse
I had been a friend of Brian's for more than five years before I began filming Donkey in Lahore. His talent as a puppeteer and his near-religious devotion to goth culture had always fascinated me. Shortly after he returned from his first trip to Pakistan in 2000, he began telling me what he had experienced there. It quickly became clear that the people and culture he encountered in Pakistan had a big impact on his life. Through our conversations, I also found out that had met a Muslim girl, and that he had fallen madly and deeply in love with her. When he told me he was planning to convert to Islam in order to marry her, I realized he was about to throw himself into a dramatic and life-changing period in his life. From that point on I decided to follow his every step, so I could capture the journey from start to finish. The question was burning in my mind: What would happen when this Goth returns to Lahore to try convince a traditional Pakistani family to allow him to marry their girl.
Originally I had thought that it would take me about two years to film all the scenes. I was wrong. It took me five years to complete Donkey in Lahore. But life can't be hurried along—it takes as long as it takes—and this film has truly reaffirmed my belief that patience and perseverance are the most important qualities a documentary filmmaker must possess. I hope that Donkey in Lahore leads viewers to question what the most important things are when establishing a relationship with another human being and what role cultural values, customs, and tradition should be allowed to play in this delicate process. I hope you enjoy watching Donkey In Lahore.
Film Information Collapse
[DONKE] | 2007 | 117 | Documentary Feature
Directed by: Faramarz K-Rahber
Foreign Title: (Donkey in Lahore)
Language: English, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi
Premiere: North American
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Aamir (Brian), Amber
Line Producer Axel Grigor
Editor Axel Grigor
Executive Producer Mark Chapman
Director of Photography Faramarz K-Rahber
Composer Colin Webber
Sound Design Colin Weber, David White
Connect to this film Collapse
About the Director(s)Collapse
Faramarz K-Rahber (b. 1968, Tehran) won numerous awards for his debut film Fahimeh's Story (2004). He is an awardwinning graduate of Griffith University (Queensland College of Art) in Australia. He has worked across many roles in the Australian documentary industry in the last seven years. His focus on directing, mixed with a strong background in cinematography, has helped shape his insightful, observational style of filmmaking. His specialized cross-cultural knowledge allows him to shape films of religious, cultural, and social sensitivity. Faramarz's films reflect the fundamental essence of humanity through intimate observation while avoiding controversy or inflaming contentious issues.