Artist Interrupted: Praise for Samiksha Thakur’s Blue Iris

by Christian Lee

Christian Lee
3 min readAug 19, 2020

“I’m a pretty good artist,” Mila declares, while arguing with her teacher over a C she received. After trying to hustle for a B, he asks why she didn’t fight for an A. Mila is perplexed and tries to search for a possible excuse until she is interrupted. Like many artists, she has trouble accepting criticism, however constructive it may be. I myself have grappled with the same issue and resonated heavily with this sequence, among others.

Samiksha Thakur’s fantastic directorial debut, Blue Iris, follows a talented young painter who struggles to fulfill the demands of others, while fighting the sense of self doubt that plagues every creator. Thakur’s approach is patient and subtle. Her direction is elegantly commanding. Despite it being her first film, it seems as if she has honed her craft to the point of perfection.

That is evidenced by the amount of detail Thakur devotes to the film’s central symbol: a blue iris. The flower performs best in certain areas, particularly those with heavy sunlight. The iris’s strength is seen through its resistance. There are striking similarities between our protagonist and the flower; Mila cannot thrive within a stressful environment or work under demanding conditions. But she is strong minded and tenacious.

Audiences grow to respect Mila and her fierce determination. We witness her development as an artist and her growth as a person. We sympathize with her frustration and confusion. We rejoice in her satisfaction and ultimate triumph. Her small but glorious moment occurs near the end. After Mila hangs up her painting of a blue iris in an art gallery, she receives a compliment from an admirer. The camera zooms out as we see her piece, amongst all the other beautiful works of art. It is a simple yet impactful sequence that touches the viewer in an unexpected way.

The drama is magnified by a standout performance from lead actress Naima Idrissi. She adds a sense of naturalism and emotional honesty to the film; a quality that many teen shorts are missing. Her talent is fully witnessed in a poignant scene; my favorite of the entire film.

When Mila is lying in her bedroom, gazing at an old drawing taped to her ceiling, she reflects on the passion that once drove her to create as a child, along with the encouragement her mother provided. It is reflective without having the false tinge of nostalgia. Plus, Idrissi plays it off so well with the help of Thakur’s sharp direction. Together, they make absolute magic. A short like Blue Iris is a rarity on the teen film circuit. It’s guaranteed for an extended festival run and should generate awards buzz for direction and acting.

As a young filmmaker, I have not been moved in such a long time by one of my pier’s films. I will definitely be supporting Thakur’s next project, as she has a voice that cannot be denied.

Christian Lee is an internationally recognized teen filmmaker. His work has been selected at eight renowned film festivals. He frequently writes articles on cinema.