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Donkey in Lahore: An Unconventional Love Story

Review: Donkey in Lahore: An Unconventional Love Story

Auckland International Film Festival

By Natasha Burling

Donkey in Lahore is an enthralling documentary tracing the unlikely love story of a gothic Australian puppeteer and a sheltered Muslim Pakistani.

Brian, or Aamir as he becomes when he converts to Islam, meets 17-year-old Amber fleetingly while doing a puppeteering tour in Pakistan.

The couple fall in love immediately and Aamir, who is in his late 20’s, returns to Australia determined to marry his new love.

Social misfit Aamir is a dreamer who aims to set up a puppeteering business in Lahore and settle there with Amber.

Aamir’s plans change continually and it is easy to wonder if they will ever eventuate and whether this love affair fraught with difficulties will ever come to fruition.

As the audience may also wonder, Aamir’s psychiatrist asks he has been driven by the Hollywood-like romanticism of their situation.

Aamir, who had a nomadic childhood and whose parents were involved in a Christian cult, struggles to fit in in his native Australia but thinks he has found that acceptance with Amber’s family.

Mentally ill Aamir’s quest often seems misguided and it is hard to know what will become of this fragile character and his naïve fiancée.

Donkey in Lahore is a gripping, non-formulaic tale of love that twists and turns with surprises at each corner. It is definitely no Hollywood love story.

Australia, 2007 Director/ Screenplay/ Photography: Faramarz K-Rahber
Editor: Axel Grigor
Music: Colin Webber, Pranay Chandra
Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2007; Tribeca 2008
In English, Urdu, Arabic and Punjabi, with English subtitles
117 minutes/ DigiBeta
Screenings: Saturday July 19 and July 21 at Sky City Cinemas Queen St


Natasha Burling is an AUT journalism student doing the Graduate Diploma in Journalism. She has lived in Colombia, France and Scotland.


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