Expressing yourself through a medium that it reaches to thousands or millions of people is an effective way of communication. And, films are one such medium that instantly connects with the masses. The recently held Asia Peace Film Festival in Karachi screened 109 movies over the span of four days and had entries from all over Asia including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan to Malaysia, Korea Russia etc.
After watching a number of movies from different countries, one realised how similar our lifestyles, problems and values are. The festival screened a number of women oriented movies which showcased a strong and positive image of women, highlighting empowerment in the true sense of the word. This week, You! takes a look at few impactful short films about women...
Great Names (Pakistan)
‘Great Names’ is just a 2-minute movie but it’s so impactful that it has to be mentioned first. It is about an independent woman who marries a younger guy, owns a business, drives a car and makes her own life decisions because of which the society looks down upon her, including her parents. Then in a flashback, she is shown as a baby, and her father naming her Khadija after Khadija bint Khuwaylid.
The moral of the story goes with a subtle text that if you name your daughters after great people then let them follow their footsteps too.
Mary Mother (Afghanistan)
This short film is about an Afghan mother whose only son is away serving in military against the Taliban invasion when she gets the news of an attack on his posting. She sets out to get some information about him but to no avail. Finally, she embarks on the journey to look for him to the troubled areas. In a country under attack and where women are not allowed to step out, this mother defies all odds and finally finds her son who is injured.
She not just finds him, but also rescues him from the clutches of the Taliban and brings him home safely. ‘Mary Mother’ received thunderous applause because who doesn’t want to see a mother as the hero!
Run(d) For Freedom (Iraq)
This is a short documentary on a 21-year-old girl, Rand, who escapes from her hometown, Qaraqosh, with her family and the whole Christian community to save themselves from the Daesh attacks. After two years, she visits her hometown and goes to see her house as well as her neighbourhood. She understands it’s dangerous, but she just wants to see her home one more time.
Today, she works with an NGO and runs marathons for peace. After watching this movie, one realises what a blessing it is to be at home amongst friends and family and how difficult life is on the run.
My Heritage Singing (Iran)
Directed by Fatemeh Moosavi, ‘My Heritage Singing’ is a documentary about women of Bushehr port in Iran and their love for singing. After the 1979 revolution, women were prohibited to sing in public hence they got apprehensive even to sing during religious rituals like majalis. However, Bushehr port is the only exception where local women have strived to preserve their old traditions of singing.
During this 30-minute documentary, they talk about their life, their enthusiasm for singing and why they are determined to be involved in their religious rites the way they have always been. It is a beautiful movie about traditions and the power of steadfastness of women all over the world.
‘Mother’ is based on a true story of a single mother who is forced to hide her child’s existence from the world because he has been born out of wedlock. It focuses on the social and cultural pressures that make her and the child a subject of judgment and condemnation. It portrays the strength of a mother who, even after understanding the repercussions, gives birth to her child and shows courage to raise him with pride and honour.
‘Maryam’ is a story about a Muslim, who is working for a Christian man with autism. Since it is Christmas, her master insists her to take him to the church so that he can celebrate Christmas. This movie shows her struggle to act normal in a ritual of another religion of which she has no idea. She feels an immense pressure within which makes it more difficult for her.
But despite her uneasiness, she manages to deal with it. There is a scene where Maryam lights a candle in front of Mother Mary’s statue in the church, highlights the fact that all religions are quite similar in their basic teachings and have the same essence in their roots.
Main Kaun Hoon (Pakistan)
This short film is about a woman who is trying to find herself a place and identity in society. When she was an honourable wife, her husband always doubted her of infidelity and when she finally broke all chains and became what other labelled her to be, she was still not accepted by the society.
Her journey ultimately shows her the real face of society along with their level of acceptance and tolerance in their thoughts about women. Hence, it is important to hold one’s ground firmly and let others judge with all their might. If you are right, no one can label you otherwise.