DOXA Film Festival

Part of the Justice Forum of DOXA's Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver. 

Join the Bonding through Bars team, for a public screening and panel discussion of:

Nima Sarvestani, Sweden, 2012

Friday May 10, 2013 | 6:00PM |
VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour St 
Vancouver, BC CANADA V6B 3M7

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In the Takhar Prison in Afghanistan, 40 women are serving time for ‘moral crimes’. Their sentences range up to 15 years for leaving abusive husbands, refusing to consent to arranged marriages, or falling in love with men that their families deem unsuitable. But Nima Sarvestani’s revelatory film shows that behind prison walls, women are actually far more free than they are in the outside society. With unprecedented access to this rarely, if ever, seen world, director Sarvestani captures life in the raw. Fights erupt over money. There are spats and feuds between prisoners and guards. As the warden wearily comments, “It is far easier to look after 500 male prisoners than 40 women.”

The film follows the fortunes of Sara, Nadjibeh and Sima. Both Sara and her boyfriend are sentenced to serve their time at Takhar. Sima and her kids are in prison to escape her violent abusive husband. She views the prison as a refuge from her home life. Nadjibeh, one of the youngest prisoners, wages a personal battle to keep her new baby son, a campaign that ends in heartbreak. As kids ferry notes back and forth between the male and female sides of the prison, the women keep watch on the action through peepholes in the latrines. In the women’s enclosure, children and babies are cared for, and there is a degree of safety and security unavailable anywhere else. But as the women struggle to make a home for themselves and their children inside the prison walls, their hopes and dreams for a better future are the only things that are truly free. -DW