Saving Face: Pakistan’s first Oscar win


Pakistan’s first Oscar win for Saving Face,  a documentary from Pakistan by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy about survivors of acid attacks  that disfigures hundreds of women each year,   is as much a matter of pride for receiving the prestigious price  but  it also touches upon a variety of feelings in Pakistan, not everyone embraces it.





Chinoy dedicated the film to the women of Pakistan and it’s their story.  But just as Slumdog Millionaire had evoked criticism in India for presenting a biased view, one reinforcing poverty instead of its incredible development in the last ten years or more, so does Pakistan react to Saving Face.  Pakistan’s image in the world is ripe with negativity and rightly so might  Pakistani get offended when an honor such as the Oscars is received for a tarnished and negatively skewed picture of the country. Maltreatment of women.

The shameful side.  Despicable, cruel treatment of women is common unfortunately in wide parts of the world.  India carries its own share of shame when brides are killed for dowry or lack of submission to their husbands and in-laws.  We find mutilation of women in Africa. Here in America women get killed out of jealousy, rage, collection of insurance money, but it’s a given, we have more rights here in the West. 

Women are still enslaved in so many parts of the world, that if you read up on it, your heart might break into a thousand pieces.  Maybe Pakistani who felt offended by the “tainted image”  showing the abhorrent abuse women suffer  ought to keep things in perspective and not take it personally. Instead of perceiving this movie  as some sort of insult on a national level,  we should all take a deep breath and say:  Let’s do everything that is in our power to protect women from harm. Let’s  make sure they have the same rights and respect men receive without having to fight for it.





Pride over Oscar win, shame over content: Pakistani daily


ISLAMABAD: The documentary that won Pakistan’s first Oscar is a matter of national pride, but its “content is a matter of national shame”, said a daily.

The Oscar that went to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy in Los Angeles is a first for Pakistan. Chinoy, who dedicated the award to the women of Pakistan, has been internationally recognised in the past.

An editorial in the News International Tuesday said the subjects of her work are often challenging and “her winning documentary is certainly so”.

“‘Saving face’ documents the fate of women attacked by having acid thrown on them and the work of a British-Pakistani surgeon who performs reconstructive surgery on their appallingly scarred faces,” it said.

The editorial said: “Over 100, mainly women and girls, are attacked in this way every year, though civil society groups say the real figure is much higher but many victims and their families choose not to report the crime out of fear or ‘shame’.”

It, however, added that although the award is a matter of personal and national pride, “its content is a matter of national shame”.

“Pakistan is reportedly the third-most dangerous country in the world for women after Afghanistan and Congo…”

Chinoy made the film about acid attacks, and “in doing so drew back the curtain and exposed this form of misogyny”.







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