The Beauty Academy of Kabul
Description: In Afghanistan, beauty raises serious questions: Why were women willing to risk imprisonment, even death, to run beauty salons under the Taliban? In a land that has suffered decades of war and loss, where people are ill, wounded and illiterate, why are women so anxious to learn makeup-application techniques? It is also a film about globalization -- a case study of how American culture is received abroad. Is the school imposing shallow American materialism, or helping women support and express themselves as they have across the world for centuries? These questions are explored through the personal stories of the women whom the school has brought together for this first post-Taliban beauty school class -- from Afghan-American hairdressers struggling with the guilt of having fled their homeland, to Manhattan stylists out to spread the beauty gospel; from mothers who turned to clandestine hairdressing when the Taliban made them leave their jobs, to girls who worship Hindi films stars and dream of escaping to the West. The creation of the school is a bizarre and unprecedented event, bringing together beauty-industry power-players with a group of impoverished women and girls who have been brutally sidelined in a nation that has been a pawn in several decades of global conflict.
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