Year: 2024

‘Nikah’: An astonishing portrait of Uyghur life on the edge of erasure

Mukaddas Mijit and Bastien Ehouzan’s Nikah is extraordinary. It is a quiet film, a portrait of a young Uyghur woman and her family living in a Uyghur world in the late 2010s. It is astonishing in its restraint, in the way it remains true to a ground-level view of what it looked and felt like to be on the verge of internment. Nikah is a portrait of the impossible becoming reality. The story on the surface is a simple one. Two daughters in their twenties, Dilber and Rena, are caught between their own ambitions — careers, travel, love — and community pressures to follow gendered norms dictating what young women should do, whom they should get married to, and the life path of a wife and mother. After the younger sister, Rena, is married to a young man in the community, the pressure builds on the older sister, Dilber, to marry as well — or be lost to old age or, more ominously, as whispers imply, be married off to a Han man. In 2017, the Chinese state criminalized …