Saving FaceOriginal Title: Saving Face
Director: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Pakistan, USA | English, Urdu
Pakistan’s first-ever Oscar-winner, Saving Face
sheds light on the horrors of a very prevalent, yet little discussed, facet of the country’s gender dynamics: acid attacks, where perpetrators pour acid on their victims, usually on their faces, as a form of punishment for transgressions, real or bogus. The victims are overwhelmingly women, attacked and disfigured by their husbands in the name of preserving honour. Saving Face showcases the lives of acid-attack survivors and their phenomenal struggle for justice, dignity and emancipation.
The moving documentary starts with well-known UK-based plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad’s trip to Pakistan, where he was born and trained as a doctor, to perform facial reconstructive
surgery on acid-attack survivors. For Dr. Jawad, the journey also symbolises personal redemption: a Pakistani offering these disfigured women, society’s outcasts, a new lease on life.
At the core of this journey lie the stories of two of his patients: 39-year-old Zakia, attacked after filing for divorce, strives to find justice with the help of a heroic lawyer. 23-year-old Rukhsana, meanwhile, leads a life of forced reconciliation with her husband and her in-laws after they attacked her.
provides an intimate portrait of these two women, and others, all of whom bravely stepped forward to tell their stories, in the hopes that, by raising awareness, they will help to save other women from a similar fate.
– Özge Calafato