From Visceral Style to Discourse of Resistance: Reading Alka Sadat’s Afghan Documentaries on Violence Against Women

Misiak, Anna ORCID logoORCID: (2018) From Visceral Style to Discourse of Resistance: Reading Alka Sadat’s Afghan Documentaries on Violence Against Women. In: Female Agency and Documentary Strategies: Subjectivities, Identity, and Activism. Edinburgh University Press, Edinurgh, pp. 137-155. ISBN 9781474419475

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Abstract / Summary

This chapter offers the first English-language critical examination of documentaries made by Alka Sadat —an award-winning director of several films and the co-founder of Roya Film House, a production company in the Afghan city of Herat. Having limited visibility in festival circuits in the west, in Afghanistan the self-taught director enjoys a strong reputation of a filmmaker turned women's rights activist—one who offers a unique documentary perspective from the inside of her country. Numerous of Sadat's films focus on impoverished women who in oppressive post-Taliban patriarchal settings find themselves in no-way-out situations, paradoxically displaced in their own native culture.

With its particular focus on three titles—1,2,3 (2006), Half Value Life (2009), and 10 Years On (2013)—this research explores the director's documentary tactics of granting the voice to the oppressed women. It also shows that Sadat's films provide complex analyses of reasons behind violence against women in the country, where women rights activists still face stiff opposition. Currently based in Kabul, both Sadat and her sister Roya, a renown feature filmmaker, enjoy a strong reputation of prolific contributors to the developing film and TV industry in their country. They are also known as feminists speaking for gender equality, women's education and access to the media market.

The chapter situates Sadat's work against the background of western feminist criticism and culture studies scholarship to argue for a sensitive, intersectional and transcultural approach to her work. The author first embarks on reading Sadat's depiction of the current women's rights crisis in the discursive context of today's Afghan culture to honour the director's intentions and to depart from 'the rhetoric of the empire'. (Graham 2010). She then argues against Eurocentric categorisations of female authorship and empowerment, which some western scholars and critics tend to use when writing about internationally acclaimed non-western women filmmakers.

Interdisciplinary output: Film Studies, Feminism & Culture Studies

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Afghan film Documentary film Afghanistan Women & Film Women in Film
ISBN: 9781474419475
Subjects: Communication > Media > Digital Media
Film & TV
Film & TV > Film > International Film
Courses by Department: The School of Film & Television > Film
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Anna Misiak
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2017 09:11
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:31


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