UAB's Department of Art and Art History Film Screening: Jago Hua Savera

Film Screening: Jago Hua Savera (Day Shall Dawn) A. J. Kardar, 1958

Presented by UAB’s Department of Art and Art History

Until the reemergence of Day Shall Dawn at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, few Westerners were familiar with the humanist work of Aaejay Kardar or, for that matter, with 1950s Pakistani cinema more generally. At the time of its premiere in 1958, Day Shall Dawn seemed to herald a new kind of filmmaking in Pakistan, a strangely intoxicating mix of melodrama and Neorealism. But Kardar and his screenwriter, the poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, were branded as communist enemies of the country’s new military dictatorship. And though their film—the deceptively simple story of a fisherman who dreams of owning his own boat on the Meghna River in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan)—was filled with melancholy and comical touches, their depiction of a poor fishing community being shaken down by greedy loan sharks proved too incendiary.

The film was rediscovered by Western film critics when Philippe and Alain Jalladeau organized retrospective of Pakistani films at the 2007 Three Continents Film Festival in Nantes, France. Pakistani filmmaker and professor Shireen Pasha insisted that Jago Hua Zavera should be included as an important piece of Pakistani film history. Anjum Taseer, son of the producer, searched for remaining original copies of the film, and put them together for a version that could be screened. After the film festival, Taseer had the film fully restored, with the work completed in 2010.

The film was screened at the 2008 New York Film Festival, to celebrate its 50th anniversary.  It was selected for screening as part of the Cannes Classics section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. A presentation of the Nauman Taseer Foundation.

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