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Signature Move is a comedic and heartfelt look at modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms. Zaynab is a Pakistani, Muslim lawyer living in Chicago who begins a new romance with Alma, a confident Mexican-American woman. Zaynab’s recently widowed mother Parveen has moved in and spends her days watching Pakistani TV dramas while searching for a potential husband for her only daughter. Alma’s mother is a former professional Luchadora, which Zaynab finds fascinating, as she has recently taken up lucha-style wrestling with a former pro wrestler. Zaynab tries to keep her secrets from her mother, who knows more than she lets on.
Signature Move is the directorial debut feature of Jennifer REEDER who has acquired favorable comments with a number of her short films. This film provides a compressed view on the new trends of queer cinema in North America, which is to deal with the issues related to family, community, and identity with telling the various ethnicities and minor nationality, rather than a story of coming out itself. In this sense, this film bears comparisons with Appropriate Behavior directred Desiree AKHAVAN, an entry of the 2015 SIWFF. Zaynab, a Muslim and Parkisani American, is a divorce attorney in Chicago. One day, her mother Parveen, who has been suffering from the loss of her husband, moves into her house. Engrossed in Pakistani TV shows, Parveen is intent on finding her would-be husband from her neighborhood with a telescope. Meanwhile, Zaynab develops a romantic relationship with Mexican American Alma who is so cool and confident. The title of this film ‘Signature Move’ is a pro-wrestling term which means the personal characteristic technique. Zaynab, an apprentice for pro-wrestling business, tries to find her own way in wrestling, her relationship with her mother, and romantic relationships, and all of it fares ill with her. She gets lost among exoteric and active Alma and her family, conservative mother, Latin and Indian cultures, and American mainstream culture. The film dwells on the communication and constant negotiation with others in the course of pathfinding. It is important for us to be reminded of that there are still chances of not knowing our closest and most lovable mother, and she might not be that weak as we thought her to be. This moving journey of acknowledging differences and looking for each other’s ‘signature move’ presents us a surreal but not entirely impossible moment. (CHO HyeYoung)
Jennifer REEDERJennifer REEDER
Jennifer REEDER constructs personal fiction films about ‘relationships, trauma and coping’. Her award-winning narratives are innovative and borrow from a range of forms including after school specials, amateur music videos and magical realism. These films have shown consistently around the world, including the Sundance Film Festival, The Berlin Film Festival, and The Venice Biennale. Her awards include several that have qualified her films for Oscar nomination. She won a Creative Capital Grant in Moving Image in 2015, short film funding from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation and the Hamburg Film Fund in 2016.