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It's snowing in Kabul, and gregarious waiter Mustafa charms a pretty student named Wajma. The pair begins a clandestine relationship - they're playful and passionate but ever mindful of the societal rules they are breaking. After Wajma discovers she is pregnant, her certainty that Mustafa will marry her falters, and word of their dalliance gets out. Her father must decide between his culturally held right to uphold family honor and his devotion to his daughter. Written by
Note: when I saw this film I knew little about it, and I think that added to it's power. So while this review doesn't contain spoilers in the normal sense -- everything revealed here is in the film's first half, and I've kept my comments deliberately vague -- I'd urge you to see it knowing as little as possible. Of course, if you're reading this you may already know the film's basic plot,
With that note, some thoughts if you choose to continue reading.
I found this a devastating look at the darkly surreal realities of life for women in Afghanistan. Indeed, the English title 'An Afghan Love Story' is as bleakly sardonic a name for a story as I can remember.
What's so powerful about the film is the way that title has a very different meaning for the first chunk of the movie, when the film really does play as a sweet story of young love, if in a repressive world.
But then the film starts to examine what happens when things go awry in a relationship in a super-patriarchal society where women are made scapegoats and bear all the weight of social disaster. Perhaps because I knew nothing about the film when I saw it, its endlessly deeper turn into blackness caught me off guard and took my breath away. But I'm willing to bet that the strong performances and tragic raw reality of the film would be pretty overwhelming regardless.
An important and powerful social document that screams out for change.
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