The extraordinary story of a young Pakistani woman who lived to tell of her narrow escape from an attempted "honor" killing by her father and uncle. Told through the lens of a true love story, the film tells the story of Saba who was shot and left for dead after marrying a man once promised to her. The result is a scathing examination of the contradictions between modernism and tradition within Pakistani society.Written by
At the end of her acceptance speech, during the exit music, director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy announced that after viewing this film, the Prime Minister of Pakistan will change the law on honor killing. See more »
Jaw-dropping (and Oscar-winning) documentary about "honor killings" in Pakistan
"A Girl In the River: The Price of Forgiveness" (2015 release; 40 min.) is a short documentary about Saba, a 19 yr. old lady from Gujranwala, Pakistan. As the documentary opens, Saba is on an operating table and attended to by a doctor. The doctor shares some graphic/stomach-turning pictures as to Saba's original wounds to her face. It's not long before we learn that she was shot by her father and uncle, who actually tried to kill her for something Saba did that (allegedly) dishonors her family. What did Saba do? What will become of her father and uncle? To tell you more of the facts would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is another documentary by acclaimed director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. She previously won an Oscar for Best Short Documentary for 2012's "Saving Face", a feat she would eventually repeat with this film. She is known for her activism to showcase the inequality of women in Pakistani society. Here she tackles a particular egregious topic: the so-called 'honor-killings' (of which more than 1,000 take place each year, we are reminded at the beginning of the movie). We get to know Saba, as well as her immediate family and the family of her husband, all of which speak on record and fully convinced that their personal opinion is the one and only correct (if not righteous) one. The suffocating "mores" of Pakistani society (never mind what the law actually says) is hard for anyone in the US to fully grasp and understand. But it makes for a jaw-dropping viewing experience. If I have one criticism of this documentary, it is that there is so much material to cover, that the documentary frankly feels rushed at a running time of just 40 min. I don't think it would've been all that hard to stretch this out to a feature-length documentary.
I recently stumbled onto this film while browsing the documentary section of HBO on Demand. So glad I found this. No, this does not make for "fun" viewing but it is all the more ESSENTIAL viewing. last and certainly not least, major kudos to Saba for her bravery to speak out. "A Girl in the River" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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