Crime Policy/Legislation

Film 'Saving Face' Too Dangerous to Show in Pakistan

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The co-director of the Oscar-winning documentary film talks about ongoing efforts on behalf of acid-attack victims. The movie still hasn't been shown in Pakistan, but directors are working on public-service ads for the country.

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, co-director of "Saving Face," the Oscar-winning documentary about acid attacks against women in Pakistan and their fight for justice, isn't done with this subject.

At a recent screening of the film she called for the retrial of old acid-throwing cases under new laws in Pakistan that criminalize them. She also urged the authorities to take stringent actions against acid throwers and regulate the sale of acid in the country.

The documentary, which focused only on women in Pakistan, was premiered March 8 on HBO for the U.S. audience. The film has yet to be been shown publically in Pakistan out of fear of reprisal against women in the film for being seen as damaging the reputations of their attackers and perhaps even their communities.

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"We hope that we can show it," Obaid-Chinoy said in an interview following the screening held at the Asia Society of New York.  "But it is going to take a while before that happens because we have to make sure that the women are safe."

"Saving Face" chronicles the lives of acid-attack survivors Zakia and Rukhsana as they attempt to bring their assailants to justice and move on with their lives. In their journey against cultural barbarism, these disfigured women are supported by Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a U.K.-based plastic surgeon who returns to his homeland to reconstruct their faces.

Obaid-Chinoy said although the women's last names were withheld in the film, reporters tracked down Rukhsana on the heels of the Oscar. Rukhsana rose to the occasion and embraced the role of unofficial spokesperson for other acid-attack victims, she added.

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