THE WORLD UNSEEN directed by Shamim Sarif, written by Sarif from her novel, with Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth and Parvin Dabas. A KinoSmith release. 94 minutes. Opens Friday (November 7). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Fifties South Africa is not the setting you'd expect for a lesbian love story, but Shamim Sarif's film adaptation of her novel makes the scenario credible.
Miriam (Lisa Ray) has come from India to a new home in Pretoria with her husband (Parvin Dabas) and children. Soon she's drawn to free-?spirited café owner Amina (Sheetal Sheth), who's come to work the family garden. Miriam then has to face up to her new community, an increasingly abusive husband and herself.
As intriguing as the transgressive lesbian connection is the light shed on mixed-race relationships. And we get a rare glimpse of the experience of South Africa's "brown people," caught between the extremes of the country's powerful whites and vulnerable blacks.
The baddie race police are played as stereotypes, and the pacing's a little wonky. But Ray and Sheth do the dance with sensitivity.