“Saving Face” May be a Saving Grace for Women Victims of Acid Attacks

Update: This film won the Oscar for its category. Congratulations to those involved in its creation!For the first time in the history of the Academy Awards a Pakistani filmmaker has been nominated for an Oscar. The 2012 Oscar’s “Best Documentary Short” category features a 40 minute short film by journalist and investigative filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.Ms. Chinoy is known for making hard-hitting documentaries such as Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret and Pakistan: The Taliban Ge … [Read more...]

Circumstance: Gender, Sexuality and the Power of Men in “Fundamentalist” Iran

After reading a couple of reviews (on FilmJabber and Afterellen.com) about Circumstance, a recent film by Maryam Keshavarz, I decided to give the film a shot. Circumstance is a drama set in Iran, where gender and sexuality are heavily controlled by the political regime. The film depicts the story of Atafeh and Shireen, two sixteen-year-old friends, whose friendship extends to the sexual and romantic in an environment of underground adventure in contemporary … [Read more...]

MMW 2011 Year in Review: Arts and Entertainment

As 2011 draws to a close, we at MMW are looking back at our year of posts.  For those who missed posts earlier in the year, or for those who want to look back through some of the things we wrote about, we’ll be going through some of those through the rest of this week.  Yesterday, we started off with an overview of some of the news highlights that we talked about in 2011; today, we look at books, movies, and television; and tomorrow will look at some of the more ridiculous stories that cam … [Read more...]

Films by Afghan Women Tell Real Stories of Struggle, Patience, and Hope

Image from the film "Bearing the Weight"

Women in Afghanistan tend to be depicted as enigmatic objects that defy human comprehension. Media sensationalism and selective reporting bear some of the blame. But thanks to projects like an Afghanistan-based Community Supported Film workshop that trained men and women on how to tell the stories on film, Afghan women are now also using media to represent themselves.The project, named The Fruit of Our Labor produced ten short films that feature different aspects of Afghans’ daily lives. … [Read more...]

The Interrupters’ Ameena Matthews: Anti-Violence Powerhouse

Steven James (director of the classic American documentary Hoop Dreams) and Alex Kotlowitz’s The Interrupters (2011) looks at the work of a group of violence preventers—the Interrupters—in Chicago. Inspired by an article on CeaseFire—the violence prevention organization the Interrupters work for—that ran in the New York Times Magazine by Alex Kotlowitz in 2004, the film follows three of CeaseFire’s violence interrupters for a year.Dr. Larry Slutkin, an epidemiologist at the University of Illi … [Read more...]

The Light in Her Eyes: An Eye-Opening Documentary

I stepped into a cozy loft, decorated minimally with Moroccan style tapestry and into an experience I won’t easily forget.The Light in Her Eyes, a documentary film following the story of  Houda al-Habash, the founder and teacher of an all girls’ Qur’an school in Damascus, Syria, sparked my interest about a year ago where, in a similar intimate gathering, I was first able to see the footage gathered.I must admit I was skeptical, even after meeting the charming directors, Julia Meltzer and Laur … [Read more...]

Bhutto: A One-Sided Look at a Complicated Woman

BHUTTO is the definitive documentary that chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time. Hers is an epic tale of Shakespearean dimension. It’s the story of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation: Pakistan. –Synopsis from the film’s websiteDuane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara’s 2010 documentary Bhutto, which recently aired on PBS’s Independent Lens in the United States, attempts to portray the “Shakespearean” life of Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto … [Read more...]