Looking for beauty in Afghanistan["The Beauty Academy of Kabul"]
"The Beauty Academy of Kabul" is a chick flick, though you won't find it on any list of chick flicks. This is a documentary about a group of women visiting in Kabul - the capital of Afghanistan - to teach local women to become professional hair and make up stylists.
Men figure minimally in this film. They are workers who don't much care for being told what to do by women. They are gun toters, for this is, after all, modern Afghanistan, a country bombed off any modern foundation by decades of war - continuing war. Men, strict keepers of cultural prescriptions regarding their women, are objects of discussion amongst 20 women building a solid foundation for earning a living.
There is no romance in "The Beauty Academy of Kabul," but there is a mundanely inspiring amount of hopefulness and connection.
This film captures a peculiar corner of the real world in a complex, reflective way, although it is a dry movie experience. The question for you is whether you want to be exposed to a slice of Afghani culture with a global twist. Do you want to learn something about the fact that a hairdo matters in a part of the world that's tougher than any of us will ever understand?
A common image of what little we know about Afghanistan is women wearing burkas covering their heads and faces. What we don't know is that the same women will line up outside a beauty school waiting for a chance to be done up by a bunch of fledgling professionals.
You hear about American and British soldiers in Afghanistan, but who knew there were American and British beauticians? Who are these Western women who have the nerve to think they can upgrade the lives and culture of Afghani women? "The Beauty Academy of Kabul" is an almost casual clash softened by a sort of counter-militaristic insurgency. Typical chick flick.