Act of Dishonour

Synopsis: In a land beset by endless strife, nothing must get in the way of the preservation of honour - even if that means sacrificing a loved one. Mena, a young, beautiful bride-to-be, lives in a small, remote village in northern Afghanistan, a harsh landscape that still shimmers with breathtaking colours. Respecting the deeply conservative local customs, she and her fiancé, Rahmat, have little contact yet cherish a special bond. The arrival of a Canadian film crew briefly opens a window on a new world for Mena, a foray beyond the boundaries of convention that leads her inexorably down a dangerous road. Directed by Nelofer Pazira, the star of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's acclaimed Kandahar and co-director of the documentary Return to Kandahar, Act of Dishonour is a compelling drama in which East and West, love and honour, modernity and custom collide with tragic consequences. In this rich microcosm of a fractured society, many stories intertwine, including those of Mejgan, the Afghan-Canadian translato
Genre: Drama
90 min

I don't mean to intrude...

Salam Mother.

He's our boss. He's usually a very nice

person but lately he's insisting on things.

It's kind of embarrassing.

I hope you weren't offended.

This is our gift to you,

something you've never seen before.

My family said you were

looking for someone to work here.

This is going to be a cinema.

Do you know how to work a DVD player?

I can't promise but I can try.

He's a high tech engineer...

...with a degree from Iran.

Oh sorry!

I'm sorry for earlier.

I didn't mean to underestimate you.

People here don't seem to know

about films.

So I hope you don't hold it against me.

Don't worry. I understand you.

Thank you.

Pardon me.

Sorry I didn't mean to startle you...

I wonder if I could use your washroom...

I don't know anyone here.

Come this way to the door.

Thank you. Sorry to disturb you. Is

there water so I could wash my hands?

Yes, right here.

Could you pour some for me?

What are you doing out there?

We're making a film.

What's that?

Haven't you been to our cinema?

Lots of kids have been there.

Women don't go out,

especially unmarried girls.

But don't you like to

go out and see things?

It's not our custom.

What are you doing with those burqas?

It's for a scene in the film.

You're not selling them?

Oh no, they're not for sale.

Thank you and sorry for bothering you.

I'm running late and

I have work to do out there.

Would it be ok if I came back

another day to chat?

Yes, why not.

Thank you again for

letting me in your home.

I tried my best but Gulagha

doesn't want to talk to you.

He's met us and knows who we are...

...but he's not willing to

discuss our house.

Brother, he is an elder in our community.

You must respect him.

No one means disrespect.

You tell us what to do.

When you and your family escaped...

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Nelofer Pazira

Nelofer Pazira is an award-winning Afghan-Canadian director, actress, journalist and author. She grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she lived through ten years of Soviet occupation before escaping with her family to Pakistan. From there, they immigrated to New Brunswick, Canada, more than twenty years ago. In 1996, Nelofer attempted to return to Afghanistan — still under Taliban rule — to find a lost childhood friend. Although unsuccessful, Nelofer became the star of Kandahar, a highly acclaimed feature film (presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001) which was based on her journey. She was awarded the Prix d'interprétation by the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma de Montréal for her performance in Kandahar. She also assisted UNESCO as a goodwill ambassador in their cultural work inside Afghanistan. She has been a jury member at a number of film festivals including those of Locarno, Geneva, São Paulo, Edinburgh, and Montreal. Nelofer later performed in, co-produced, and co-directed Return to Kandahar, which won the 2003 Gemini Award in Canada and also appeared in Christian Frei’s documentary, The Giant Buddhas. In 2008, she directed and produced Audition, a documentary about images and cinema in Afghanistan which premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. She is the writer and director of Act of Dishonour (2010), a dramatic feature film about honour killing and the plight of returning refugees. Nelofer, who was born in India where her Afghan father was then working with the World Health Organization, has directed a number of documentaries, and has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in CBC Television and CBC Radio. Her radio documentary Of Paradise and Failure, about the fate of a young suicide bomber and his family, was the winner of the Silver Medal at New York’s media award ceremony. She has written for the Toronto Star, The Independent of London, the British film journal Sight and Sound and many other publications. Nelofer founded a charity, the Dyana Afghan Women's Fund (, named after her childhood friend who died during Taliban rule. It provides education and skills training for women in Afghanistan. In 2006, Nelofer's memoir A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan was named winner of the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize. Nelofer is a frequent speaker at international conferences as well as universities and colleges including Carleton University and George Washington University, and was a keynote speaker at the Religion, Culture & Conflict symposium at Trinity Western University. Pazira defended Joseph Boyden's novel Three Day Road in Canada Reads 2006 Nelofer is a past president of the influential freedom of expression movement PEN Canada. In 2009, she accompanied the Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean as a cultural delegate in state visits to Slovenia, Croatia and Greece. Nelofer holds a degree in Journalism and English Literature from Carleton University (Ottawa), and a master's degree in Anthropology/Sociology and Religion from Concordia University (Montreal). She has also received an honorary doctorate of law from Carleton. Recently, she received an honorary doctorate of letters from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. She established her own film company, Kandahar Films, in 2001. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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