Classic Movie Review: A Girl in The River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015)

Posted: March 14, 2016 in Documentary

a girl in the river

A 19 year old Pakistani woman named Saba is shot in the face by her father, for wanting to marry someone of her own choosing.  The father is jailed, but pressure mounts for Saba to forgive her father, and release him from prison, does she agree to forgive him?

I was intrigued to watch this film because of the striking similarities between this story and the story of Malala Yousefsi, the Pakistani girl, who was shot by members of the Taliban, for going to school while female.  If anything this story is more horrifying, because the shooting was perpetrated by a member of Saba’s own family, her father.  Why do honor killings happen?  No religious texts, whether Hindu or Muslim permit this.  Part of the reason is that honor killings in these countries are hardly ever reported, so people feel they can carry out these killings with impunity.  Hopefully, films like this will shine a bright spotlight on practices such as these, and brave women like Saba will continue to come forward.  But the sad truth is honor killings have been going on for a long time, and it’s going to take a long time and a lot of education to end it. The problem must ultimately  be solved by the women that confront this problem every day. This film absolutely deserved the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

There is nothing even vaguely cinematic about this film, it looks more like a reporter’s video journal, but it did do a good job of capturing the feelings of all involved, and watching this film is truly an emotional experience.  The short length of the film actually works in its favor, because there’s no fluff or padding, every minute is used productively, there is no waste.  And it also shows the difference between rich and poor and in this part of Pakistan, that isn’t much.  Kudos belong to the director, Sharmeen Obaid Chonoy, for bringing this film to fruition, and not sweeping honor killings under the rug out of a sense of shame.  Violence is never the right answer no matter the situation, violence against women should never be tolerated.

A Girl in The Water:  The Price of Forgiveness:  Required viewing if for women, and men who love women.




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