This week in BCM320, we viewed the 2018 Pakistani Film Cake, which is features an eccentric family coming together under one roof as Zareen contacts her siblings living abroad about their fathers deteriorating health. This film also conveys the themes of family values, death and romance in a Pakistani setting.
One aspect of the film that intrigued me was the family values that was portrayed throughout the movie. In Pakistan, family bonds are valued and this society is led by collectivism where relationships are family are strong. Loyalty to the family also comes before all other social relationships. Family relatives are also protected from outside influences. Gender roles are also a major theme that was identified in this screening and I found it interesting that this film challenges these stereotypes and expectations by creating independent career focused women. Usually in Pakistan, women stay home then go to work and are known to be the housewives.
I noticed while watching this film, that it conveys modern Pakistani family values and strong female characters and expressed how these women choose to exercise their own choices. I also loved that this film didn’t centralise romance/marriage/commitment as central concerns. Their goals, independence and career was the first concern in the film and I found this super interesting because it was so different to what I expected Pakistani Culture to be like.
Romeo (the romantic interest) was also portrayed as a minority in this film, as he was silently placed in this movie and was never a priority, which is different to other films I’ve seen before. This film has fully inked its female protagonists and both Zareen and Zara are both excellent as their relationship turns antagonistic and loving.
What I loved most about Cake is how it brought sisterhood together and strong family ties over an incident in the family. I relate to this as I was studying abroad in Italy when my family had an emergency and they needed me home except I wasn’t able to get on a flight. No matter how busy life gets and how important career is, you will do everything you can for your family. The theme of sacrifice was also evident in Cake as sacrifice is the ultimate form of love. Zareen has to let go of a life of her own and put everyone before her, no matter her dreams and ambitions.
This film challenged traditional Pakistani Culture by highlighting female protagonists and giving them a strong storyline. I did find the movie challenging to watch as it was hard to keep up with the plot and subtitles at some points of the film and stay focused the whole time, especially as it didn’t have anything to do with CAKE! However, I did love the family dynamic and the strong family bond that brought everyone together.
Gulwani, N., 2019. 13 Things You Should Know About Pakistani Culture. [online] Culture Trip. Available at: <https://theculturetrip.com/asia/pakistan/articles/13-things-you-should-know-about-pakistani-culture/> [Accessed 1 September 2020].
Encyclopedia Britannica. 2020. Pakistan – Religion. [online] Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/place/Pakistan/Religion> [Accessed 4 September 2020].
Countrystudies.us. (2020). Pakistan – RELIGION. [online] Available at: http://countrystudies.us/pakistan/38.htm.
“Pakistan – Language, Religion, Culture, Customs and Etiquette.” Www.Commisceo-Global.Com, http://www.commisceo-global.com/resources/country-guides/pakistan-guide.