THREE SONGS FOR BENAZIR: FILM SCREENING AND Q&A WITH THE DIRECTORS

Three Songs for Benazir. A powerful, poetic love story that transcends war. 

ISHKAR hosted a film screening for the Oscar nominated short film and celebration of universal love.

The story of Shaista, a young man who—newly married to Benazir and living in a camp for displaced persons in Kabul—struggles to balance his dreams of being the first from his tribe to join the Afghan National Army with the responsibilities of starting a family. Even as Shaista’s love for Benazir is palpable, the choices he must make to build a life with her have profound consequences. In just 22 minutes this love story captures the many layers of Afghanistan, so often overshadowed by the conflict. The Taliban takeover means that the film has been released into a very different world than the one it was filmed in, but filmmakers Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei insist this isn’t a political film.

 

“Love stories are universal,” Elizabeth Mirzaei told the Wall Street Journal, “If you can’t relate to Shaista, someone that’s been displaced from Helmand and has a third-grade education and lives in a house with no running water, electricity, or a bathroom, you can at least see the love in his eyes and the love that he has for his wife, and the hopes that they have for each other.”


The Filmmakers

Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei’s film film, Laila at the Bridge, screened and won awards at numerous festivals including CPH:DOX, Locarno, Bergen and Santa Barbara among others. Their short film Three Songs for Benazir premiered at Full Frame, where it won the Jury Award for Best Short. The film also won jury awards at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Odense Film Festival, and Middle East Now among others. 

Gulistan and Elizabeth founded Mirzaei Films to be an indigenous window into modern-day Afghanistan, making films that are recognized for their intimacy, rare access, and how they challenge perceptions of Afghanistan. 

They are based between California and Kabul and have two daughters together. At the moment, they are working to help their family and friends in Afghanistan. 

There was also an opportunity to donate to a worthy fundraiser to feed families in Laghman organised by Aseel.

 

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