For Western Eyes: Nelofer Pazira's Accented Returns to Afghanistan
Keywords:Afghanistan, women filmmakers, accented cinema, diaspora, Taliban, 'War on Terror', gender, honour-killing, religious fundamentalism
Appropriating relevant elements from Iranian film scholar Hamid Naficy’s formulation of an ‘Accented Cinema’ (2001) that addresses various aspects of diasporic filmmaking and filmmakers ‘situated in the interstices of social formations and cinematic practices’ (4) as guiding tropes for analysis, this paper focuses on the depiction of the post-Taliban period through a contextual and critical reading of Nelofer Pazira’s first documentary film Return to Kandahar (2003) and her debut feature film Act of Dishonour (2009) on the topic of 'honour-killing.' The paper examines how these films portray ‘accented’ images captured and relayed by a diaspora Afghan woman filmmaker to appeal to distant and unversed Western/foreign audiences and film festivals. In addition to Naficy's formulation of the 'accented cinema', I argue that Pazira uses a formulaic accent and variances (also to be read as her emphases) in her depictions that are aimed specifically at appealing to Western audiences.
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