Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The latest feature documentaries I have seen ...

"My pain is not the fences around the pond, but to live with fish that can't imagine the ocean"- Sepideh Hooshyar

I have recently seen three very inspiring feature documentaries, two of which deal with dreams come true ... and the last one with shattered "dreams" being re-constructed.

What these documentaries seem to have in common is the fact that they all deal with the difficult issues and struggles women often face in the Middle East, once they are set in countries where women are not supposed to have dreams of their own and if they dare dream, whatever they happen to dream of is to be conformed and restricted to a strict code of conduct and all sorts of limitations. In extreme circumstances some of these women do not even exist and  can be very easily "discarded" and "scarred".

Who would dare go out at night looking at the stars in a country like Iran, being a female adolescent?

Sepideh Hooshyar, a fourteen year old  girl from the Fars province in Iran Berit Madsen met when she was just fourteen and whom she filmed over the period of two years.

Sepideh has since then made her way not into the sky but high enough to be closer to "reaching for the stars" as she is now studying Physics at a University abroad and has become a role model for many more young female adolescents who want to make their dreams come true despite the difficulties. 

Who would dare think of fighting for the education of young girls in Pakistan knowing full well how difficult it would be going to school herself, let alone the hardships and difficulties that lay ahead to manage to bring other girls along?

Humaira Bachal, a 15 year old Pakistani girl from the Karachi province, who has since then been fighting for what she believes might make a difference in her country having now become the President  of the Dream Foundation Trust.
 "The dream catcher" by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy provides us with a thorough insight into what has been achieved since Humaira set her mind to make the once apparently unattainable dream come true. 

Who would put his whole effort to reconstructing young women's faces after they had been severely damaged and destructed in acid attacks most of which perpetrated by their husbands?
Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon of Pakistani origin known for his medical achievements in the UK, who decided to put his skills to good use in a country ravaged by such cruel disfiguring acts that day in day out victimise many defenceless women.  

By "saving" their faces this surgeon has not only been rebuilding the victims' self esteem and their hopes for a better future but also saving his face, as a potentially better positioned person to allow those without a face regain their facial expression.

Sepideh, reaching for the stars - 2013 documentary (The Maisles Brotherrs award wining documentary film at the 14th Belfast Film Festival)
Director/Screenwriter: Berit Madsen
Director of Photography: Mohamed Reza Jahan Panah
Humaira, the dream catcher - 2013 documentary film
Director: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Saving face - 2012 documentary (Emmy award wining documentary film)
Directors: Shermeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge

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