DIFF student review – No Burqas Behind Bars: Women find freedom in jail

2013-07-26 10:38

City Press is proud to host student reviews of the films on offer at the Durban International Film Festival. The students are postgraduates from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Culture, Communication and Media Studies department.

Set in Afghanistan, the documentary No Burqas Behind Bars focuses on the life of Sima, a married woman who has been imprisoned, and also explores the lives of other women who have been convicted and are in prison along with her.

These women have been accused of committing the crime of fleeing their homes or their husbands, and thus their arranged marriages.

It allows the audience a chance to explore daily life inside Takhar Prison.

Sima got married at the tender age of 10. She is currently serving a 15-year sentence and is imprisoned with her five children. She found herself here fleeing her home with her stepson when she feared her abusive husband would kill her, as he did his previous wife.

He tracked her down and vowed to make her and his son pay for disgracing him.

Even though these women are deprived of their freedom, it is in prison where they find the strength to express themselves, unlike in the outside world where they have little or no means of asserting their opinions or beliefs.

The film contains sombre moments filled with raw emotion that have the power to bring the audience to tears.

Behind the burqas, these are women with voices, who want to be heard, who want to have an identity and who want to see change in their culture.

The film is an eye-opener. It shows how far women’s rights have come, but also how long the journey will still take in places like Afghanistan.


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