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A woman's tale of love and justice - An Afghan Love Story
Culture & Life

A woman's tale of love and justice - An Afghan Love Story

2 min. 04.03.2013 From our online archive
Despite its name, An Afghan Love Story isn't just about love and feelings. Barmak Akram's latest feature film talks about modernity and tradition, giving audiences a somewhat fresh, yet very powerful portrayal of modern Afghanistan and its treatment of women.

(RM) Despite its name, An Afghan Love Story isn't just about love and feelings. Barmak Akram's latest feature film talks about modernity and tradition, giving audiences a somewhat fresh, yet very powerful portrayal of modern Afghanistan and its treatment of women.

Avoiding clichés by all means, the film tells the story of Wajma, a young career-oriented middle class woman who falls in love with slightly older, metrosexual and much westernised Mustafa. Despite contrasting personalities, the two characters experience a clandestine love story that takes place in a very conservative Kabul and which ends with a pregnancy.

Based on real life and inspired by numerous cases of young women whose destinies are in the hands of men, as part of an age-old patriarchal society, director Barmak Akram delivers a feminist perspective on the subject.

Portraying strong women, who actively take part in taking decisions for the family, from young Wajma, to her mother and then grandmother, strong disobedient personalities span over three generations in a family where at times even the father seems to voice compassion for Wajma's bad fortune.

Justice and honour are undoubtedly the ultimate goal and purpose that drive all the characters in the film.

Wajma is a promising young girl who dreams of making a career after having been accepted to law school, a rare opportunity for an Afghan girl.

Her father symbolizes the traditional head of family who works hard for his family in order to provide them with a decent lifestyle.

Perhaps the most important aspect in the film is how technology and information make a change in women's lives, empowering them to make informed decisions.

For those in the audience who know little on Afghanistan's lifestyle and society, An Afghan Love Story will definitely be a revealing experience, set to go far beyond stereotypes.

The film looks into how unmarried Wajma's life takes a different path when she falls pregnant, bringing shame upon her family.

In her father's quest for justice and honour, the man will have to face both tradition and modernity, having to fight the urge to kill his daughter, her lover or both.

Produced by a small team of five people and shot with a sort of documentary realism, the film is a sober, downbeat indictment of a patriarchal society's traditional right to uphold family honour.

In his 86 minute-long film, Kabul-born Barmak Akram raises questions but doesn't fail to provide answers and alternatives to a long-sought issue. What to do when your unmarried young daughter falls pregnant?

As part of its European premiere, the second festival screening of An Afghan Love Story takes place at Cinémathèque on March 4 at 6.30pm in the presence of director Barmak Akram.