Documentary | USA, Canada, Pakistan | 2016 | English, Pashtu, Urdu
What struck me first and foremost about this documentary was the open and candid offerings of the protagonist Maria Toorpakai as she moves between professional squash tornaments representing Pakistan, to Waziristan, her home place in the Federal Administered Tribal Territories of Pakistan close to the Afghan border, an area largely controlled by the Taliban. This looks at much more than the mental and physical struggles of elite sport. Maria is a person who has gone to great lengths in order to pursue her dream of playing squash. And the relationships with her father and other family members as her allies stand out beautifully. It paints the portrait of a strong and determined woman. A woman who dressed up as a boy in order to play sport as a child. A woman who is not sure about her sexual identity. And who has the support from those around her to sit with that and take her time. It shows us the huge challenges Maria and family have overcome in order to live the way they wish as well as the dangers they are willing to face head on for the longer term benefit of other women. Against the backdrop of a country that is rapidly changing socially and politially. We are orientated to the fact that the fundamentalist views of the Taliban in the name of Islam lie far away from the Muslim faith this family is living. A take away message for me was about the values we instill in our children and how they can embody them towards greater change.
THE BOY FROM H2
Documentary | Israel, Palestine | 2017 | Arabic, Hebrew
This short documentary from B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories screened before Girl Unbound. It gives insights into the life of a young boy Muhammad. He lives in H2, the section of Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, which is under Israeli occupation. It shows the constant interactions with the military as this child moves around his neighbourhood. For example, having to ask a soldier to unlock a gate in order to take his father who is wheelchair bound out of one area. We are presented with a picture of a child who is living with persistent fear and great restriction but who also dreams. Who wants to be a doctor. Who wants to be free.