‘Gagarine’ shows pain of losing home

“Gagarine” screened at the Cannes Market on a virtual platform from June 22-26. Supplied
Short Url
Updated 27 June 2020

‘Gagarine’ shows pain of losing home

CHENNAI: A home is not just bricks and mortar but a place where memories are made — of one’s childhood, one’s joys, and yes, sometimes one’s sorrows.

One of 56 official titles selected by the Cannes Film Festival, which was canceled this year because of the coronavirus, was “Gagarine,” screened at the Cannes Market on a virtual platform from June 22-26.

Directed by debutant Fanny Liatard and Jeremy Trouilh, “Gagarine” is a bittersweet French story of a housing complex on the outskirts of Paris. Inaugurated and named after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the complex is found to be in a state of disrepair and faces demolition.




“Gagarine” is a bittersweet French story of a housing complex on the outskirts of Paris. Supplied

But 16-year-old black teen Yuri (played charismatically by newcomer Alseni Bathily) refuses to leave. He has nowhere to go after his mother abandoned him. Yuri (probably named after the cosmonaut) is a good handyman, and with two friends, Houssam (Jamil McCraven) and Diana (Lyna Khoudri), tries to carry out repairs with secondhand materials before the inspection. He fails, but is inspired to recreate a spaceship in the building’s basement. Passionate about astronomy, he also has a telescope and great imagination to rebuild his place as a sci-fi model.

“Gagarine” is an apt commentary – a fictionalized account of a real incident – on how marginalized communities live on hope, struggling to survive against tremendous odds.




“Gagarine” is an apt commentary – a fictionalized account of a real incident – on how marginalized communities live on hope. Supplied

In many ways Yuri seems to embody the spirit of the community and the complex, and we see the beginnings of the boy’s passion for space when the directors include archival footage of Yuri Gagarin visiting the complex to the cheering of crowds, many of whom have been lifted from a miserable existence to live in the sky-high building.

There are lovely movements in the movie, in which the real and unreal merge, lending themselves into a “cockpit” romance between Yuri and Diana, where she finally notices life-saving Morse Code messages from him that she herself had once taught him.

Together with a superb score by composers Evgueni and Sacha Galperine, and Amine Bouhafa, “Gagarine” presents a hauntingly memorable picture of how the loss of a home sometimes be so traumatic. Had the festival not been sidelined by the coronavirus, “Gagarine” would have certainly created a lot of buzz.


Birthday tributes for Halima Aden flood social media

Updated 20 September 2020

Birthday tributes for Halima Aden flood social media

DUBAI: Tributes from all over the world poured in for US-Somali model Halima Aden’s birthday this week. Models, actresses and designers have all taken to social media to wish the newly-minted 23-year-old a happy birthday. 

“Happy birthday, baby,” wrote Egyptian model and actress Salma Abu Deif on her Instagram Stories. “Love you always,” she added alongside a black-and-white snap of the two together.

Also taking to the photo-sharing platform to celebrate Aden on her big day was US designer Tommy Hilfiger, for whom the hijab-wearing catwalker recently starred in a campaign. 

Egyptian actress Salma Abu Deif wished the model a happy birthday. Instagram

American actress Larsen Thompson posted an adorable snap of the friends in an embrace, writing, “Happy birthday to my beautiful sis @Halima. You amaze me! Love and miss you!”

Meanwhile, US-Lebanese designer Eli Mizrahi posted an editorial from Aden’s instantly-iconic 2017 shoot with CR Fashion Book, captioning it: “Definition of a superstar! Happy birthday, @halima.”

“Thank you for all the birthday wishes,” posted the model on Instagram. “Alhamdulilah, 23 never felt so good.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thank you for all the birthday wishes alhamdulilah 23 never felt so good #jordanyear

A post shared by Halima (@halima) on

Many celebrities took to the comment section to share their well-wishes, including supermodels Shanina Shaik, Iman Abdulmajeed and singer Austin Mahone. 

Though Aden just turned 23, she has already achieved many career milestones.

The model, who grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp before migrating to Minnesota with her family aged seven, made headlines at the age of 19 when she was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant, where she made the semifinals, in 2016.

Also taking to the photo-sharing platform to celebrate Aden on her big day was US designer Tommy Hilfiger. Instagram

She would go on to make her runway debut at Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5 showcase during New York Fashion Week in 2017, becoming the first model to wear a hijab on the international runway.

 After her debut, she walked for a number of prestigious brands such as Moschino and Max Mara and was the first model to wear her hijab on the covers of major women’s magazines, such as Allure, British Vogue, Teen Vogue and Sports Illustrated. 

When she’s not turning heads on the runways or pages of renowned magazines, Aden, who was announced as a UNICEF ambassador in 2018, uses her voice and platform to advocate for children’s rights. 

But despite all of her exceptional achievements, it is clear that Aden is only getting started and is certain to be breaking boundaries for years to come.