When a couple is madly in love, and one of them dies, leaving a void space in one’s heart, it takes longer than anticipated to accept that the person is no more and it takes even longer to outgrow the feeling when it comes bizarrely unexpected. Art = (Love)², a film by artist Mumtaz Hussain, is a portrayal of a similar emotion.
The film, which was more a work of art, was screened at The Second Floor (T2F) over the weekend, and was followed by a conversation with the film-maker.
The award-winning movie is about a quintessential couple, Dean and Isabella, living in New York. The two make a unique pair with Dean being a painter and Isabella, a mathematician, occupied in a world of numbers and equations. However, as fate might have it, Isabella dies a rather mysterious death, leaving Dean in utter despair, who then begins his mad search for the reality of Isabella’s death. The 90-minute movie is a great mix of passion and emotion captured through flashbacks of Dean’s mind and his current state of creative madness, perfectly depicting how love can drive someone crazy. Matched with crisp dialogues and beautiful cinematography, the film clearly represents the brilliant effort of its cast and crew.
The multi-talented Mumtaz Hussain introduces his award-winning project to a limited audience at T2F. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
The screening was followed by an extensive conversation with the film’s writer and director, Mumtaz Hussain, who is a graduate of the National College of Arts, Lahore. Hussain has studied film-making and graphic design from New York but he originally comes from a small village near Jhang in Punjab called Rodu-Sultan.
Being a small-town boy who managed to live the American dream, Hussain has so far made seven films, including Butterfly Screams, a film on 9/11 and Soul Civilization, which was screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
While speaking to the audience, Hussain, who is a great fan of Italian and Iranian cinema, said, “I am a painter and I make a living by selling my work.” He added, “I make my money through my paintings and spend it on my passion of film-making.”
He said that the story was inspired from the murder of his teacher and Pakistan’s pioneering painter and sculptor, Zahoorul Akhlaq and his elder daughter Jahanara. “I built my work of fiction on this existent fact,” he admitted.
Hussain was not the only celebrity present at the screening. Pakistan’s renowned cartoonist Rafique Ahmed aka Feica also accompanied the film-maker and is apparently an old friend of Hussain’s. “Our association dates back 30 years,” said Ahmed. When asked about why he left the country, Hussain said “Out of curiosity and for the sake of higher education.” His journey for self-discovery took him through Europe and finally to the United States, where he has now been living for over 20 years.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2013.