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Canadian Film Fest Review: “Screaming On The Inside” (2018) ★★★


In the era of social networks, search engines, phones, and cameras, our life is easily exposed by those who want to benefit from our weakness. This is the reason why the family is the most important thing we should rely on in the face of trouble where the result of it could be worse than an earthquake. But what if something bad happens and you go home and find no one you can trust to talk to, not even with parents? That’s the problem between the younger and older generations when the two see life from different perspectives both will never be able to fully understand.

“Screaming On The Inside”, written and directed by Salar Pashtoonyar, follows Sahil (Noorin Gulamgaus), a young Afghani immigrant who lives in Toronto with his father (Kane Mahon) who’s strictly concerned about family values. Unfortunate things happen when Sahil finds himself blackmailed by a stranger who promises to release his online sex tapes if he doesn’t arrange payment by the end of that day. Sahil is concerned and does not know what to do. And by looking at his father’s vision of life, it’s no wonder why…

“He is a good son; boys his age do all sort of stupid things, but not him,” Yousef Jan proudly says to Mirwais in a restaurant. “Sometimes I wonder if moving to Canada was the right decision,” he adds later to Sahil as they wait for their take-out order. As the father continues criticizing Mirwais’ daughter who is a drug addict, or other people who do not meet Yousef Jan’s requirement of having lived a dignified life, the man creates an impossible situation for his son to open up about the intimate and potentially hazardous situation for him if his father sees the tapes.

“Screaming On The Inside” explores the relationship between two generations – one that follows Afghan values and the other one who has freely entered the digital world. As the two navigate through their day, the film wisely describes how one failed step of a parent can destroy the hope a child has put on, especially during a situation when the parent should be the first point of contact to a cry of help. But instead, a very upset Sahil continues screaming on the inside as loud as possible while his father shames other families while he needed to pay close attention to his own son who’s on the edge of an emotional breakdown.

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