Few things remind me that I am not a filmmaker more than first feature films. This is because first feature films tend to do a lot of what I think I would do if I were a first filmmaker; namely, I would have used every trick in the book to prove that I directed said film. Good first features use this in positive ways, by ensuring that the obvious techniques are in service of aesthetic and thematic relevance.
Thankfully, Haya Waseem’s Quickening falls closer to the side of an ideal first feature film. There are some noticeable thematic threads found within this coming of age story. It stars Arjoo Azeem as Shelia, a college-aged Pakistani-Canadian who falls in love for the first time. Specifically, the concepts of happiness and community play a prominent role here.
Most impressively, Waseem has the wherewithal to make sure that she’s creating visual motifs. In particular, there’s a very fascinating one with cutoff legs, where all we see of an individual is their feet. To generate this imagery, Waseem utilizes the cinematography of Christopher Lew in ensuring that Quickening features innumerable unique camera placements. Many shots take place pull far back from Shelia, affording her a modicum of privacy. Others will feature close-up moments, allowing Azeem to display some impressive facial acting. This likely won’t be an all-timer, but it is a very good film, and one that suggests Waseem is truly a talent to watch.