The World Unseen


The World Unseen (2008)


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Movie Info

Set in 1950s South Africa at the beginning of apartheid, free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community and the new apartheid-led government, by running a café with Jacob, her black business partner. When she meets Miriam, a young wife and mother, their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her to a traditional role. As Amina helps Miriam's sister-in-law to hide from the police, a chain of events is set in motion that changes both women forever.

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Critic Reviews for The World Unseen

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (10)

No amount of heaving bosom or quivering bottom lip can evoke a romantic frisson if the emotion simply isn't there.

Apr 3, 2009 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

A curiously strait-laced, timid and self-conscious affair.

Apr 3, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It suffers from an abundance of transparent acting, simplistic plot twists and music that essentially screams, 'These are important scenes to behold!'

Nov 14, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Drawing upon her own heritage as a descendant of South Africa's large Indian community, Sarif brings more than a dozen interconnected characters to life.

Nov 7, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It doesn't leave you cold, but it doesn't exactly make an impression, either.

Nov 7, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Less an account of hatred and injustice in apartheid-torn South Africa than it is a soap opera-ish romance that could easily be an episode of The L-Word.

Nov 7, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The World Unseen


An interesting movie! Set in 1950's South Africa, Miriam and Amina meet, and are instantly intrigued by each other. Miriam is a housewife, and a mother of three children. She abides her husband's every wish, and conforms herself to the upholding of her home. Dealing with her husband's adulterous affair with her sister-in-law, she finds motivation in taking risks and learning to do things on her own. Amina is unmarried, and runs a store with her business partner, Jacob. Carefree and independent, Amina tends to tempt the boundaries of the law. Indifferent to the opinions of others in the Indian community, Amina wishes only to live life the way that she seeks to. The personalities that mark each individual enables, and draws, them together. Great cast- Sheetal Sheth, Lisa Ray, Parvin Dabas, Nandana Sen, Nathalie Becker, David Dennis, Grethe Fox, Colin Moss, and Roderick Priestley. Worthy!

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer


Beautiful directorial debut with great (and stunning!) lead actresses. Unfortunately too concerned with conveying as much of the book as possible, the transition from the great novel to the screen wasn't entirely successful in terms of storytelling. The cinematography and cast is very good, and for a first film this is extremely well done. Overall a heartfelt narrative set in Apartheid South Africa, centered around a tender lesbian romance, but also filled with interesting glimpses into Apartheid realities. I just discovered that "I can't think straight" was actually shot before this, so ignore the part about the debut... Two very good films in a row, kudos to Shamim Sarif.

Ina S
Ina S

Super Reviewer

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