Short Films & Documentaries

Mr. Khan’s Review on ‘Beyond Quarters’ (2016)

A review on a Pakistani Short Documentary Film, ‘Beyond Quarters’ (2016).


+ Crew

i – DOP, Directed & Produced by Amna Tariq


+ Note

This short documentary film is based on Afghani people (i.e. from rural areas), who come to big cities such as Karachi; Pakistan to find work but have to face harassment issues regarding being a foreigner, unregistered as refugee or card blockage temporary resident. In this documentary, we are informed at the start that an Afghani man Sharafdeen, who came to Karachi with his sons in late 90s. Since then he and his sons have been working as a watchmen for a private residential building.

There are few people such as Imran Sherwani [Journalist & Media Activist], Taimur Ahmad Suri [Academic] & Zia Ur Rehman [Journalist & Author] who input their views on the problem the Pakistani govt. is facing by having them (Afghani refuges) and discuss on what to do in reducing the problem which would be beneficial for both the parties. In 15 minutes of documentary, we see how these unregistered refugees live after finding work (which does not necessarily require skill for it).

It is uploaded on YouTube. Search for ‘Beyond Quarters’.


+ Plot

We have ‘Babdeen’ & ‘Burhan’ who share their story and living pattern in very limited resources and rights that they have as a human being.


+ High Points

i – It is how it is filmed. The way a professional documentary should be shot and handled is done here properly.

ii – By having two different certified journalists and an academic personality on board, we understand the dispute from their angles also.

iii – Most of the main relevant information is made known in the limited documentary that we have.


+ Low Points

i – The subtitles. If one is willing to show his/her film on screen or upload on internet then it means you know well that your product is complete. Yet we have white subtitles with no shade or any other dark color used for the documentary. Yes, it distorted in most places with the background and was hard to understand. But thankfully, this time it is not in foreign language (i.e. for Urdu speakers). Still, if any language subtitles is to be included in the film — it should be EASILY readable.

ii – There were times where one cannot understand the accent of the person who is speaking (even if you understand the language but do not understand clearly what that person is saying) and that is when you need the subtitles to clear that out.

iii – Anyways, the second thing that I felt was the lack of emotional link between with the lead person and the viewer. To me, it did not as such connect as it should have been. Before the bond could be made, the documentary ended.


+ Overall

Well, there you have it. I would say it is a decent short documentary. Most of the short documentaries that I have watched which were directed & produced by film graduates are not good. I would prefer that I don’t watch them since they have lots of technical issues especially with amateur cinematography and that they make it too much dramatize like a typical fictional film. Here I can safely say it is not anywhere near it but good effort to watch. ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, that I sincerely believe in. For the director, I would say is ‘Good Effort’.


Rate: 2.75 out of 5 stars


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