A nuclear family, a teenage daughter and two religions that do not allow the family to invest in their happiness, are the main characters in this documentary about relationships within the family. Some of these characters are seen on screen, while the others stay behind the scenes, looming large over everyone, swallowing everything with their dark shadows. The film opens with some behind the scenes footage of the lead character auditioning for her role. This prelude sets the stage for a very unconventional style of storytelling, that is both impactful and refreshing. Fah, the teenage daughter of a Muslim father and a Christian mother, finds herself stuck between their unhappy marriage. But, things were not always so. When after a very adventurous courtship, the couple decides to get married, they were fully aware of the differences between their religions. The much in love couple did not foresee a future where their religious differences would become an obstacle in their family life. So much so, to mitigate such an eventuality, Fah’s mother adopts Islam. But, after Fah is born, the couple finds themselves drifting apart. Both the parents feel that the other partner is more concerned about religion than the family. Now, Fah is left to bear the pain of their separation.
‘Marriage and Burden’ is a documentary by Arisara Theerajit. Theerajit picks a very delicate topic of how faith, that teach unconditional love, destroy the love in a family. Theerajit uses some very novel narrative techniques where she seamlessly transitions between the story and real-life incidents at several points in the documentary. Using this approach, she tells us about her pain and the autobiographical nature of her film. ‘Marriage and Burden’ benefits largely from some mature cinematography and colour grading, setting a sombre tone to this highly controversial but delicate topic. Theerajit also manages to add a touch of genius by incorporating some comic relief into this otherwise loaded emotional narrative.
‘Marriage and Burden’ is an autobiographical presentation where ‘Fah’ proposes to have a conversation with her parents through the film. Does she manage to hold this conversation and do her parents understand what she wishes to say?