Immaculate Conception is the story of a young western couple, Jewish-American Hannah and British Alistair who are living in Karachi and desperate for a child. They visit the eunuch shrine of Gulab Shah which has a reputation for curing infertility and, sure enough, Hannah conceives. Hannah decides to convert to Islam and coaxes Alistair to do the same.
This causes a conflict with her family, while steering Alistair into a brief love affair. Meanwhile, the eunuchs from the shrine seem to think they have a share in Hannah’s baby. As tension mounts, the dangerous cocktail of clashing cultures and religious beliefs threatens to explode in the faces of everyone involved. Continue reading
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This is a landmark film in Pakistani cinema. First and foremost, it was one of the few occasions where filmmakers attempted to do something off-beat and high-brow (not unlike the ‘parallel’ cinema of India, that had just started to show its presence amidst the typical ‘Bollywood’ fare. We’re talking about late 1970s, when the average Pakistani film roughly resembled its Indian counterpart, if a bit more gaudy). Secondly, it is notable for being one of the country’s very few (probably the first) English language film. And finally, it is a controversial film for being banned and remaining largely unseen (except on bootleg VHS) in Pakistan. That last factor certainly helped it gain cult status. Unfortunately, that also meant that to date, nobody has attempted to rescue the film from obscurity (unlike in USA, where Blue Underground, NoShame, Something Weird and other companies regularly restore and release cult classics). Continue reading