My Mother's Daughter

My Mother's Daughter


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

In 2001, journalist Yvonne Ridley was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Bartering for her release, she promised her captors that, if they freed her, she would study the Koran. “I kept my word,” she says six years on, having converted to Islam two years after her release. This absorbing documentary explores the affect this has had on her relationship with her mother- a Christian who, though she loves her daughter, can’t quite reconcile herself to Yvonne’s new way of life.

Saleyha Ahsan’s camerwork is unfussy and unobtrusive as she observes the women in conversation at Yvonne’s mum’s home and later at church. “I’ve lost her in a way,” her mother says at one point, although it is clear that - aside from their religious differences their bond remains strong. It’s the intimacy of this documentary which makes it so compelling. Both women are candid in their opinions and there’s plenty of laughter as well as serious debate. For exam ple, when admonishing her mother for eating bacon sandwiches - “You wouldn’t eat them if you saw what pigs eat” - her mum, deadpans: “The last thing your dad had before he died was a bacon sandwich.

This is a very clever look at culture clash that happens every day all over the UK and beyond, but by exploring it through the microcosm of one family it becomes more personalised and the differences less pronounced. Fascinating and educative.

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2007
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An exploration of the relationship between Islamic-convert Yvonne Ridley and her mum. Showing at EIFF 2007 in Bridging The Gap and Scottish Documentary Shorts Awards.

Director: Saleyha Ahsan

Year: 2007

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2007

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