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Search for Freedom
A film by Munizae Jahangir
Pakistan, 2003, 54 minutes, Color/BW, DVD, Subtitled
Order No. W04832
SEARCH FOR FREEDOM traces the dramatic social and political history of Afghanistan from the 1920s to the present through the stories of four remarkable women: Princess Shafiqa Saroj, sister of the beloved progressive King Amanullah (1919-1929); Mairman Parveen, the first woman to sing on Afghan radio; Moshina, a war widow and survivor of a Taliban massacre; and Sohaila, an exiled medical student who ran underground schools for RAWA (Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women) during the Taliban regime.

Through their personal stories, a surprising portrait of Afghanistan’s history emerges. Stunning archival footage from the early 20th century captures a time of remarkable progress and freedom for women that belies most Western perceptions. Other historical footage and Jahnagir’s incisive commentary reveal women’s realities and resilience under near constant occupation, first with the Soviet invasion, then under the mujahadeen and more recently under the repressive Taliban. Defying and clarifying the image of Afghan women as mere victims, SEARCH FOR FREEDOM offers a nuanced portrait of women who find choices where none are offered, who continue to find hope in the face of exile and isolation.


  • Amnesty International Film Festival
  • Pakistani Film Festival
  • Karachi International Film Festival

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    Linda Ferderiksen
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    "Riveting, reveals what has long been hidden: the beauty, the voices, and the suffering of Afghani women. Jahangir’s sensitive interviewing powerfully communicates a century of struggle for women’s self-determination in Afghanistan.”
    Deirdre Boyle
    Graduate Media Studies Program, New School University

    “A gripping film which skillfully weaves in the personal and public lives of Afghan women drawn from different social strata… A sensitive portrayal of their predicament amidst catastrophic political and social upheaval.”
    Ayesha Jalal
    Professor of History, Tufts University

    “Subtle and complex, a potentially great way to open up all kinds of larger themes from Afghanistan’s role in geopolitics to the hidden history of Afghan women’s movements.”
    Naeem Inyatullah
    Ithaca College

    “…an enlightening piece in a number of ways. …Suitable for some mature high school classes and for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of women/gender, anthropology of Islam, and Afghanistan studies, as well as general audiences.”
    David Eller
    Anthropology Review Database

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us