Tense, claustrophobic Danish doco counts down the ten days leading up to the 2005 Afghanistan election, focusing on brave, controversial female candidate Malalai Joya.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
This tense, claustrophobic documentary counts down the ten days leading up to the 2005 Afghanistan election. Its focus is Malalai Joya, a female candidate who had been banished from the Loya Jirga (Great Council) some years earlier for speaking out against the warlords who were covertly running – and ruining – her country. Western media have dubbed Joya “the most famous woman in Afghanistan”, but celebrity is a decidedly mixed blessing, leading to multiple assassination attempts and requiring a round-the-clock armed guard. Having inspired countless Afghani women to stand up for their rights, Joya now finds herself having to hide beneath the hated burka for her own safety. A magnet to desperate women, the film traces her attempts to help a teenaged girl who is being relentlessly pursued by a man old enough to be her grandfather. It provides a hair-raising insight into a world of alien gender relationships, in which the mere suggestion that husbands could look after their children for a couple of hours while their wives go to vote is met with howls of outrage. — Andrew Langridge