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

Ooh the next full moon...


There isn't much time but

one should hurry good things.

Salam, Mother.

Thank God you're home.

That storm...

God knows which poor household

is burning with grief.

I told Nabi the date of the wedding.

He was happy and promised to help.

Where are they from?

They're from Canada.

They want to make a film here.

Well... If they have anything to distribute...

...we'll help them.

Flour, candies, cooking oil...

Listen they're not an aid organization,

they want to make a film here.

But if we can help people we'll try.

You said they are from Canada?

Yeah, she's come from

Canada but she's an Afghan.

Can you tell the sister

to go to my house... be with other sisters? Once

we finish the meeting we will get her.

No, she must stay, she's the only

one who speaks English and Dari.

Forgive me. It's prayer time.

Sorry, this meeting took too long...

...the Mullah must lead the prayers.

Tell them to come back tomorrow...

...when we have more time to talk.


You understand that women

don't come to the mosque.

We made an exception this time.

We can't do that again.

I'll make sure to tell them.


Dear Commander, I sent for you

yesterday but you were away.

I was across the border in Tajikistan.

What's going on?

Some foreigners want

our help with something.

Are they building a road?

No... I have no idea what

they are talking about.

Dear Commander, you need some rest,

we'll talk about this later.

Salam Father.

I'm glad you're home safe.

The weather wasn't good. I was worried.

It's God's will.

Where are your brothers?

They're playing outside.

Bring me some water.

Right away.

The tea is ready.

Take it to them before it gets cold.

Poor Mother, may your soul rest in peace.

You kept everything so nicely.

Oil and wheat prices have gone up.

It's because of the returnees.

Why can't they wait?

Like sheep - when one walks

the other follows.

Oh my...

...this place has changed so much.

Here we are.


It's still here. This knocker has been

here since my grandfather's time.

Even the color hasn't changed.

I'm Hassan, son of Moussa.

Is there an elder in the house?

I'm Hassan, son of Moussa.

This is our house.

Go back where you came from.

This is my house.

I was born in this house and

I know where our well is...

...where our almond tree is.

Listen to me.

Listen to me.

Hey, come back I want to talk to you.

Go away. You Hazaras

don't belong here anymore.

We'll wait forever

to get our home back.

Hey wait...

Aren't you ashamed to take

someone else's house?

There's no time for this nonsense.

Let's go pray.

I swear to God I'll get my house back.

Go and pray, you hypocrite.

Your head's hurting again?

Try to sleep. You're tired.

Once your bride is home...

...and you have children... will forget all of this.

God willing.

Pomegranates... Sweet Kandahari

pomegranates. Two for one Afghani.

Pomegranates... Sweet Kandahari

pomegranates. Two for one Afghani.

How much longer to Ishqabad?

Half a day.

Are you from that village?

Yes I am.

My older brother is already there.

Someone has taken our home

and claims it as his own.

Where is the justice in that?

We used to live in ghettos.

The war set the devil free and

now we are fighting our own demons.

But don't despair, God is kind.

Salam Brother, you made it.

Salam Mother.

Salam Little Brother.

Have you got everything?

It's not far... just outside the village.

How are you?

Good - and you?

Please join us for tea.

I don't want to disturb you...

No please, please.

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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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