The purpose of filmmaking is debatable, with some believing it is a form of entertainment and others seeing cinema as a platform to educate and bring change. Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy�۪s latest documentary, ��A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness�۪, aims to bring change in the legal system of Pakistan.��BizAsia were privileged to view the film at a recent screening held by the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival.
The documentary revolves around the life of Saba from Gujranwala, Pakistan. Saba was the victim of an attempted honour killing at the hands of her father and uncle, who were angry at her for having eloped with the love of her life.�� Unlike thousands of victims who do not survive the fatal attacks, Saba was fortunate enough to make it out alive.�� The film follows Saba�۪s journey of survival and her battle for justice.
In a debate which followed the film screening, Chinoy stated that she was always interested in making a film on so-called ���honour killings� but was waiting to hear about a survivor, which eventually happened and led to making ��A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness�۪. ��The filmmaker clearly succeeds in having gained the trust of those in front of the camera, with them appearing extremely comfortable in expressing their opinions. ��Chinoy also succeeded in filming in private places such as the hospital, making the documentary appear even more intense and personal for the viewer, enabling the viewer to feel as though they are living Saba�۪s journey with her.���� In fact, Saba�۪s personality is so warm and relatable, and the documentary is definitely high on the emotional quotient, making it even more painful to watch what the protagonist has to go through.
While the film essentially projects the bitter truth of society, with regards to honour killings, Chinoy believes it is the love between Saba and her husband which holds the documentary together.�� The director has managed to capture beautiful moments between the couple, proving their love to be incredibly endearing and strong, appearing as the only bright light in the otherwise dark story.
Pakistan has over 1000 honour killing cases reported annually and in light of the recent news of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch�۪s death, also being labelled an honour killing, Chinoy�۪s documentary is both relevant and impactful. While you would definitely need a strong stomach to digest the contents of the documentary, its significance in our world today is paramount and it is an eye-opener into the different ideologies people hold.�� The film projects the conflicting views of many people who have been born and brought up in the same society, making one wonder what exactly leads to extremist actions such as honour killings.
��A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness�۪ won Chinoy her second Oscar, earlier this year.�� In the ��debate, which took place after the LIFF screening, Chinoy summed up her film as being the story of ���a woman who tries very hard but can�۪t beat the system around her as the system sets her up to fail�.�� Although the documentary did not end on a happy, positive note in the way a fictitious film on the subject could have, the success the fascinating film has received has nevertheless given the people of Pakistan hope that there is a chance to fight against so-called honour killings.
BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 5/5