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Search for Freedom cover photo

Search for Freedom 2003


Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Munizae Jahangir
Directed by Munizae Jahangir
VHS, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Area Studies, Education, Human Rights, Women's Studies

Date Entered: 09/01/2004

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Despite waves of progress in the early twentieth century, the tragic recent history of Afghanistan has been filled with revolution, war, religious and social repression, and violence. Putting a human face on events that have often been played out on the international stage, Pakistani filmmaker Jahangir chronicles the lives of four Afghan women who survived to tell their stories from exile.

In the 1920’s Afghan women enjoyed social mobility, education, and a non-restrictive dress code. A backlash in 1929, however, forced women back into the veil and interrupted the education of Princess Shafiqua Saroj, the sister of reformist King Amanullah. Although she went on to become a reformer and activist she also saw her siblings and husband killed by the Mujahdeen. Mairman Parveen, the first woman allowed to sing on national radio, was forced into exile and saw all her recordings destroyed by fundamentalists. Moshina, a widow and refugee with four young children, witnessed Taliban massacres and atrocities. Eloquent medical student Sophaila cares for her siblings, works for RAWA (Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women) and hopes for a better future for her country.

Combining archival photographs and news footage, the film provides a brief background on the long-standing political tensions of the area, including the most recent occupation by American troops searching for terrorist strongholds. An oral history of the times, the sub-titled interviews give viewers a personal connection to the short, sporadic waves of progress followed by the brutal persecution and violent warfare that these women have experienced.