Day Shall Dawn (R/I)
Khan Ataur Rahman, Tripti Mitra, Kazi Khaliq
An extraordinary collaboration between artists in hostile parties – West Pakistan, East Pakistan, India, and with a cinematographer, sound editor and editor from the UK – Day Shall Dawn is a long lost treasure of Pakistani cinema.
Out of circulation for decades, AJ Kardar’s modernist masterpiece returned to the world stage last year when a restored version was presented at Cannes.
From the week preceding the film’s initial release in 1958 when the government asked the producer not to go ahead with it, to last year when the film was removed from Mumbai Film Festival’s line-up given political tensions between India and Pakistan, this film has been denied an audience over the years.
It is now ripe for rediscovery on our screens as a landmark classic of world cinema and a beautiful example of the Pakistani re-interpretation of European neo-realism.
Inspired by Manik Bandopadhay’s 1930 novel Padma River Boatman and penned by revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Day Shall Dawn focuses on the intimate struggles and infinite wells of humanity and dignity in the daily lives of fisherfolk in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), a world dominated by poverty and exploitative loansharking.