Pacing in “Lyari Girl” and “A Mother’s Dream”

“Lyari Girl”

In “Lyari Girl” the shots opening the film were wide and helped set the scene where the story takes place in Karachi, Pakistan. The violence of the shooting contrasted with the beauty of the clothes on the line and give the story a frenzied, but lyrical pace, that symbolically reflected this world. At a slower pace, as the story unfolds, the contrasting speed of pace when the girls are shown boxing in the club makes the film more dramatic and tense. Matching the blows being thrown, the background music provides a compelling counterpoint that justifies the athleticism of the athletes. The sounds of gun fire and explosions, in the city, also affected the pacing. They not only allowed an oral symbolism that echoed ominously they also controlled the sound of the boxing. Throughout there was an impatient urgency that caused a palpable anxiety. Primitive and starkly lovely, the title of the city, opened with a pastoral quality that felt leisurely compared to the factual events following it. Together they formed a nice, easy backdrop to the ensuing subtitles.

Photo by AaDil on

“A Mother’s Dream”

The shots-the wide angle in the beginning, at the cemetery, the close-up shots of the chimes blowing in the wind, and later when the mothers are talking at the table-have a very slow pace which allows the viewer time to absorb what’s going on and is being presented. Compared to “Lyari Girl” with its frenetic, boisterous opening “A Mother’s Dream” is its direct opposite, making the story that much more startling.You’re really allowed to feel the pain of the women presented both realistically and poignantly.

Since the music is equally haunting, sad and beautiful it helps solidify the pace throughout the film and gives the entire piece a gentle funereal quality appropriate for its subject matter. The choice to keep the pacing at a slower rhythm than “Lyari Girl” was also very effective because it helped the viewer understand who these women were as mothers grieving for their slaughtered children. When the camera focused on the wind chimes just as they had on the clothes on the line in “Lyari Girl” the pacing of both films mirrored each other with meditative grace. Death was close by, and these small moments felt like the calm before the storm.

Ultimately I found the pacing of each film to be very effective, because while both thematically dealt with death, one is about young women living in a war zone and finding refuge in a supportive boxing club, and the other a grieving mother trying to heal.

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