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Film / A Wedding

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A Wedding (French: Noces) is a 2016 Belgian drama film directed by Stephan Streker. The plot is based on the true story of Sadia Sheikh.

Zahira Kazim is a teenager of Pakistani descent. She lives in Belgium with her family. She gets pregnant. Her family encourages her to have an abortion and then tries to force her to marry a Pakistani.


A Wedding provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Zahira's parents want to force her into an Arranged Marriage.
  • Appeal to Tradition: Zahira explains that according to tradition, she cannot go night-clubbing, she cannot go with a male friend spend a couple of days in the country, etc. She also confesses that tradition is a very convenient excuse when she does not want to do something.
  • Arranged Marriage: Zahira's family wants to force her to marry a Pakistani. The marriages of her sister Hina and of her parents were also arranged.
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  • Based on a True Story: The plot is based on the true story of Sadia Sheikh.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Happens two times in a row when Zahira dreams of her Pakistani fiancé.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Amir finds a gun in his father's shop. His father tells him that he needs it because the district is dangerous. Amir uses this gun to kill Zahira in the end.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Zahira's father uses Pakistani culture to justify the fact that he wants to force his daughter into an Arranged Marriage.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Zahira first dates a muslim Pakistani guy, which is not acceptable for her father because of the Arranged Marriage tradition. Later, she dates a Belgian guy, which is even less acceptable.
  • Deadly Hug: In the end, Amir hugs his sister Zahira and kills her with a gun.
  • Dead Man Writing: After Zahira is killed by her brother, her letter to her family is read via voice-over.
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  • Disposable Fiancé: Zahira dumps her boyfriend of Pakistani descent early in the film (because he wants her to have an abortion). This makes way for her Love Interest, Pierre.
  • Downer Ending: Zahira is killed by her brother Amir in the end.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Zahira dreams that a Pakistani is sitting next to her in class and that he kisses her. Then she wakes up to find the Pakistani lying next to her in her bed. Then she wakes up again alone in her bed.
  • Epilogue Letter: The film ends with the reading of Zahira's letter to her family via voice-over.
  • Family Honor: It is explicitly stated that, if Zahira's parents do not manage to marry her with a Pakistani, they will not dare to come back to Pakistan, because the family's honor will be tarnished. When Zahira escapes after her online wedding, the family's honor is probably completely lost.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you know Sadia Sheikh's story, you should not be surprised by the end.
  • Foreshadowing: Zahira tells her Belgian boyfriend that she cannot see him because it is dangerous, as dangerous as death. When he meets her again, he tells her that he is not afraid of death.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted. Zahira is encouraged by her family to have an abortion, but she thinks that it is a bad thing. She has an appointment for an abortion, but during the intervention she decides to keep the baby. Later, she finally has an abortion in the Netherlands.
  • Good Samaritan: André and her daughter Aurore put Zahira up when she does not want to live at her family's apartment any more. André also tries to reason with Zahira's father.
  • The Hero Dies: Zahira is killed by her brother Amir in the end.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Zahira's father has one when he hears that she has left the house.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Zahira first refuses to marry a Pakistani. Then, after her online wedding, she escapes from the family's house. By doing so, she tarnishes the family's honor, so her brother decides to kill her.
  • Immigrant Parents: Played for Drama. Zahira's parents want her to follow Pakistani tradition of Arranged Marriage and do not accept her to live like Belgian girls.
  • Inspiration Nod: At school, Zahira studies Jean Anouilh's play Antigone (1946). The destiny of Antigone obviously parallels Zahira's. The teacher even asks the students why this tragic character is still relevant today.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Amir really loves his sister Zahira. (Zahira herself acknowledges it.) He kills her anyway to preserve the honor of the family.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Zahira's family would not accept that she dates a Belgian guy, so she does not dare to start a relationship with Pierre at first. She only bonds with him when she decides to leave her family.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin: Zahira and her sister Hina cannot be married if it is revealed that they are not virgin any more. Therefore, their parents plan hymen reconstruction surgery for them.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Zahira dreams that a Pakistani is sitting next to her in class and that he kisses her. Then she wakes up to find the Pakistani lying next to her in her bed. Then she wakes up again alone in her bed.
  • The Runaway: After her online wedding, Zahira runs away from her home, because she cannot accept the Arranged Marriage.
  • Runaway Fiancé: After her online wedding and before the wedding ceremony in Pakistan, Zahira goes away with her Belgian boyfriend. Justified, because this was an Arranged Marriage.
  • Sibling Murder: Zahira is killed by her brother Amir.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Zahira and her Belgian boyfriend Pierre. At first, she does not dare to start a relationship with him, because she fears her family's reaction. After her online wedding, she runs away with him and they have some happy time together, but soon she comes back home, where she is killed by her brother.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Zahira, who still goes to school and isn't in a stable relationship, gets pregnant.
  • Voiceover Letter: The film ends with the reading of Zahira's letter to her family via voice-over.

Alternative Title(s): Noces

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