June 26, 2022

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FROM AFGHANISTAN … NO WESTERN-STYLE LOVE STORY, FOR SURE – BUT ‘WAJMA’ HAS THE FEEL OF A MINOR CLASSIC

3 min read

ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL WRITES – Should you can’t stand scenes depicting violence towards girls, keep away from “Wajma: An Afghan Love Story.” Filmed in 2013 on a finances as small as they get, and now launched on DVD, this was Afghanistan’s submission to the 86th Oscars for Greatest Overseas Language Movie (it didn’t make the shortlist of ultimate nominees). However it ought to have.

“Wajma”  is uncooked, relentless and all too actual— nearly unwatchable, and but so value watching. The movie tells a easy and all too acquainted story: Woman (Wajma, performed by the very younger actress Wajma Bahar, with an orchestration of feelings nearly extremely dense and convincing) meets a dashing younger man named Mustafa. They fall in love. She turns into pregnant. He deserts her. Wajma alone should face the wrath of a punitive, patriarchal Afghani society, a dishonored household and a father who threatens to kill her.

Happily, his plans are thwarted. A prosecutor explains that, since he didn’t catch the 2 younger lovers within the act, he can not declare justifiable murder—or, within the parlance of human rights teams, this isn’t an “honor crime”—as outlined by the European Committee on Crime Issues, “a crime that’s, or has been, justified or defined (or mitigated) by the perpetrator of that crime on the grounds that it was dedicated as a consequence of the necessity to defend or shield the respect of the household.”

And so, in scene after scene, Wajma’s enraged father slaps her, beats her with a belt, pushes her deep into the snow, locks her in a storeroom with no warmth, and calls her “Slut!” And but, she lives on.

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As movies about honor crimes go, this one isn’t as horrific, possibly, as, 2008’s “The Stoning of Soraya,” a Persian-language American drama a few lady falsely accused of infidelity. Within the closing scene, her father stones her to demise, his daughter’s head sinking deeper into the grime with every blow…. Till she is gone.

However Barmak Akram, the director of “Wajma,” presents his viewers hope. When Wajma boards a airplane headed for New Delhi, alone—the place abortion is authorized— her loving mom sobs uncontrollably as she drives from the airport. Earlier than that, Wajma’s brother gently urges his sister to not cry; and all through all of it grandma, wanting ever so grim, stays robust, speechless and unhappy. Love conquers all, these scenes recommend—at the very least that’s so for familial love, particularly when it weaves its method into the hearts of girls. (Wajma’s dad stays dwelling, nursing his wounds however calmed by the truth that Wajma, in aborting the newborn, will finish the household’s disgrace).

As well as, this film is daring— for it dares to query the ethical superiority of Western mores and values. When  Wajma’s mother pleads for her husband  to spare the rod (and belt, and foot, and freezing chilly), he screams at his spouse: “Shut up! What good has your freedom carried out us?” She doesn’t—and can’t— reply to that.

In some way, cultural understanding, or empathy, appears to have escaped the viewers reviewers who posted about “Wajma” on  the film website “Rotten Tomatoes. ” Amongst their condemnations: Wajma is about “… a patriarchal society dominated by ignorance and revolting non secular worth,” that this society  “can solely result in intolerance and struggling;” that it’s “a tradition that’s nonetheless mired within the medieval previous;” and that Afghanistan maintains an “quaint repressive Islamic society (you guess! The beginning of Afghanistan dates to the Center Stone age).

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Viewers could need to save Wajma and Soraya, however would unthinkingly eviscerate the deep tradition of the civilizations from which these heroines emerged. What a disgrace. Life is way extra sophisticated than this. Westerners must get past Disneyland and attempt to achieve entrance into the land of actuality. The world of Wajma will not be our correct future however the film is an little low-budget unbiased traditional that’s to not be ignored.

 

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