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Yes The Goat is My Husband short film review

★★★

Directed by: #IsyraqiYahya

Written by: #IsyraqiYahya

Starring: #ShashaFairus, #EliseShick, #FahmiHarun

Film Review by: Shrubaboti Bose



This peculiar short film can be considered a philosophical exploration of human faith in God and our belief in His retribution for the sins we commit. It is interesting to note how the core narrative is framed within the shells of other alternative narratives. The story unfolds slowly like the unfurling of leaves of an onion. In the opening scene, one of the two characters laments on how technological advancement has made it possible for anyone to make a film these days. He ponders on what’s the use of being passionate about something when it can be so conveniently achieved by an outsider with hardly enough skills.


The director deliberately leaves the question hanging for us to think about, should he just give up then, accept things as they are and give up? But the other character voices how faith in the almighty drives us to pursue our dreams. The second narrative frame opens with the second pair of characters, who introduces us to the basic premise of the film by discussing shortly about the story of a restless widow spending her days in misery, repenting her disobedience to her husband. As the boat is pushed into the waters, the music spills over the scene and establishes the actual start of the film.


Earlier we see the widow walking in the foreground with a photograph of her dead husband cradled in her arms, while the first pair of men talk about globalisation and commercialism in the background. She walks across the landscape but the camera does not follow her. She remains insignificant throughout the banter of the two men behind her. Nevertheless, in the following scene, she occupies a space in the mid-ground, standing on the shore while the boat pulls away and finally the camera shifts its focus from the boat to rest on her, identifying her as the subject of the film.



A particularly beautiful scene is when Maria walks around the house, her loose red blouse contrasted against the dark background, vaguely recounting us her past relationship with Fatimah and the incidents that probably led to the present situation, while Kamal follows her from window to window asking her questions as he pushes them ajar, one by one wide open. It’s almost symbolic of their next decision to take Fatimah out of town and let her get some air. Certain transitions in the plot are marked by an extraordinary splash of jarring black and blue spirals, perhaps to directly signify the sudden shift in tone or mood of the film.


While we can discuss the identity crisis that Fatimah undergoes in considering the goat as her husband, it is necessary to realise the cause for her mental breakdown. If we were to psychologically analyse her behaviour, it is not very far-fetched to conclude that she descends into madness or psychosis after being traumatised by the guilt of knowing that her husband died while saving her even though she had cheated on him. But, what the film does here, instead of implicitly showing us this insane side of her, it paints everyone else in an unreal fantastical world that could be just Fatimah’s imagination completely. In choosing to depict her condition as something surreal, the film leaves it open-ended, allowing us to interpret faith and sin in our own terms.


Throughout the film there is intense music being played at random intervals, otherwise crucial moments, not ideally in sync with the film narrative and often drowning out dialogues; however, it contributes to the whole enigmatic and abstract style of the film. Even though the film loses a lot of its symbolic significance due to cultural differences and language barriers, what is important to remember is that religious beliefs to a large extent do not make much sense to non-believers and it is this innate essence of human faith that the film ultimately captures.