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 translator who befriends Mena, and thoughtful Ali, a member of an ethnic minority who wrestles with the prospect of eternal exile from his childhood home. Act of Dishonour shuns easy answers, challenging rigid moral paradigms and preconceptions on both sides of the cultural divide. This eloquent, nuanced portrait of life in Afghanistan is part lament against injustice, part testament to the spirit of a people who have survived decades of war.
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