Jennifer Reeder's 'Signature Move' ventures into the intricate layers of multiculturalism, seamlessly blending comedy, love, and the unlikeliest of passions – wrestling. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Chicago, the film intricately intertwines the lives of Zaynab (played by Fawzia Mirza), a Pakistani-American lawyer, and Alma (portrayed by Sari Sanchez), a spirited Mexican-American bookshop owner.
Shabana Azmi takes on the role of a "sweet, TV-obsessed mother in Chicago" in the film, where her daughter, portrayed by Fawzia Mirza, discovers love with a Mexican woman played by Sari Sanchez. Azmi's involvement marks her return to a film centered around LGBTQ themes, notably 21 years after her acclaimed performance in 'Fire' (1996).
At its core, 'Signature Move' explores the complexities of identity, tradition, and love. Zaynab, straddling her American and Pakistani roots, navigates her mother's traditional expectations while wrestling with her own suppressed desires. The unexpected connection she shares with Alma unfolds against the backdrop of societal constraints and personal insecurities, adding depth to their magnetic yet conflicted relationship.
The film is an amalgamtion of languages – English, Urdu, and Spanish – reflecting the characters' diverse cultural backgrounds. This multilingual canvas, though artistically enriching, presented unique challenges during filming. Director Jennifer Reeder, known for her meticulousness in dialogue, emphasized the importance of linguistic precision. Juggling three distinct languages demanded a symphony of efforts to ensure accuracy in tone, context, and emotional resonance. This task was accomplished with a dedicated team of translators, meticulously verifying nuances in formality, pronunciation, and emotional delivery, underscoring the authenticity of the characters' voices.
Reeder's keen focus on the cadence and emotional depth of each language underscored her commitment to portraying the experiences of 'third culture kids' and immigrant families authentically. The deliberate use of multiple languages becomes a storytelling device, inviting the audience into the characters' intimate spaces while compelling them to embrace unfamiliar tongues through subtitles, thus immersing them in a truly global narrative.
The film's success on the festival circuit, including winning the Grand Jury Prize for Best US Narrative Feature at Outfest, speaks volumes about its resonance with audiences worldwide. Its exploration of the universal themes of love, identity, and societal expectations amidst cultural diversity has struck a chord with viewers globally.
A special screening is set to take place in Mumbai organised by Gaysi. This event promises an immersive experience into the film's cultural mosaic, delving into themes of love, identity, and wrestling. Scheduled for Saturday, 6th January 2024, the screening in Juhu invites cinephiles and enthusiasts to witness the beauty of this multilayered narrative.
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