Minhal Baig's film Hala depicts the experiences of a young woman during her senior year of high school in the U.S. Hala is a bright thinker and student, a skater, and a good friend whose day to day decisions are shaped by the framework of her family's Pakistani American experience. Director Baig mentioned at the screening that film is an empathy machine, and indeed numerous scenes are coupled with dramatic soundscapes that heighten the all-or-nothing importance high school experiences are imbued with. Just as an action film goes all in on explosions, or a romcom goes all in on scenes on top of famous landmarks, this film shows how riding the bus on the way to school can be filled with the entire sum total of a high school student's existence. And why not? It's worthwhile to feel the emotions Hala undergoes and witness the way she navigates her life's predicaments while she learns new insights along the way.
Photo by James Wicks, 2019.