‘Every year world-wide, there are over 26 million arranged marriages. Over 53% of all marriages in the world are arranged. Globally, over 11 million women are forced to marry before the age of 18’.
A startling, accurate statement at the bitter end of British Indie Film ‘The Forbidden Note’ which struck more than a familiar tune with me I can tell you. Tissues and a cup of strong tea at hand, I was prepared, prepared for the sting of tears which usually surface after a love story doesn’t go the way I hoped it would and the lump in my throat to be comforted by my hot brew; calming my romantic soul. However, the emotion that I didn’t possess a coping mechanism for whilst watching ‘The Forbidden Note’ on amazon.co.uk Amazon Prime was pure rage.
Whilst this film essentially highlights the desperate plight of millions of young women and girls being forced to marry against their will, it also touches on the harrowing act of grooming innocent young children who are lured into worlds that take them away from the dreamland they are desperately trying to reach.
Orphan Cosmo, played by Reese Scholtz, is banished from a boarding school by a less than God like nun after his mother passed away. Just a boy, he is thrust into Yardie territory and the brutish arms of its leader Benzart played by Fredi ‘Kruga’ Nwaka to be made a soldier; a child soldier. Sakeena, played by Reena Anjali is a Muslim girl promised to a fellow Muslim who is so vile and inadequate in every way possible, that you would question any parent or family member, regardless of culture or religious conviction, for believing a life of misery with ‘that’ is a life worth living for their daughter. These are very real stories, stories of a savage existence, experienced behind every dark corner and continent.
Supressed by the criminal underworld and ignorant, undisguised restrictions, Cosmo teaches himself to play the piano and Sakeena is a ballerina tip toeing through life on a secret stage. Both find solace and freedom of expression through music and dance which inevitably leads them to one another. Those of you who are open-minded, with a live and let live attitude will think this a perfect combination but the course of true love never did run smooth…so they say.
‘The Forbidden Note’ has my full attention thanks to writer and director Callum Andrew Johnston who has thoughtfully created a telling piece. He wrote this emotive story with two highly sensitive topics in his mind, arranged marriages and radicalization but he skilfully managed to incorporate so much more. Scripted and acted with feeling and depth, this film has left me emotionally invested for an eternity unless history is made!
© Michelle Sotiriou 2017