Era of Suffocation
She is not alone in fearing that the small inroads made in women’s rights may disappear — in urban centers young people have grown up listening to music, watching television, and more recently accessing the internet and social media. Many have only seen the Taliban on the news.
Sadat, who has been writing stories, poems and plays since she was a little girl, recalls how her life ground to a halt in 1996 as the Taliban rolled in.
Schools closed, women were confined to their homes, the televisions and radios stopped playing. A precocious teenager she continued to write indoors, and read books on directing from her father’s collection.
She was allowed to work as a nurse as women could only get female medical help, and even set up clandestine cultural performances of her plays in the hospital, even though the head of it was linked to the Taliban.
“It was very dangerous. I still find it hard to believe that we were able to,” she says.
Her first work, “Three Dots”, which tells the tale of a single mother who is forced to marry a warlord and become a drug smuggler, was penned during this period, but only made — using simple equipment — once the regime changed and she could channel all the knowledge accrued from surreptitious reading, into real world creativity.
This determination and persistence has defined her career, and she feels strongly that film has a social purpose.
The mother-of-two explains: “I turned to cinema, when I had just come out of an era of suffocation, and had a world to express”.
“I strongly believe in cinema and that this is the most important art that can influence a positive change in our society. But change cannot come overnight. The change has to come to the thoughts and minds of people.”