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The Beauty Academy of Kabul (2004)

 -  Documentary  -  4 May 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 160 users   Metascore: 68/100
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A documentary following American women (some of whom emigrated from Afghanistan in the early 1980s) who return to the capital city of Kabul to open an American-style school for beauticians.... See full summary »


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A documentary following American women (some of whom emigrated from Afghanistan in the early 1980s) who return to the capital city of Kabul to open an American-style school for beauticians. Some of their students are women who maintained "underground" beauty salons while the city was under strict Taliban control. Written by RBFS

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Release Date:

4 May 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I akadimia omorfias tis Kabul  »

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$9,704 (USA) (24 March 2006)


$225,348 (USA) (20 October 2006)

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More than cutting locks of hair, an inside view of women's role in Afghanistan
12 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This documentary is more than about teaching a few lucky Afghan women how to take care of other women's hair. What makes seeing this movie worthwhile are two things. First, seeing a bit of Kabul, its street life, its people and, sadly, the still visible destruction that is the result from many years of conflict starting with the Soviet invasion. Second, the candid commentary by the Afghan women about their role vis a vis their male relatives. Clearly this is still a retrograde male-dominated society despite the minor advances that have been made since the Taliban's ouster from power. Granted women's hands and feet are no longer being chopped off for exposing bits of uncovered skin. But for the women of Kabul, and more so for those of the rest of the country, there is a long way to go before they recover the relative social freedoms they enjoyed during the period of Soviet occupation. One readily sympathizes with the resigned frustration and powerlessness the American women feel when they hear their Afghan counterparts talking casually about the restrictions that oppress them. It is not the US occupation, which is not overtly shown in the film, that is likely to change a culture that is prepared to condemn a man to death for converting to another religion. One can only hope that time will erode the reactionary nature of the Afghani -- and all others for that matter -- faith-based system.

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