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The Beauty Academy of Kabul

Compelling doc avoids coming off too didactic
By GERALD PEARY  |  April 19, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
The Beauty Academy of KabulShot in Afghanistan just months after the seeming smashing of the Taliban, Liz Mermin’s engaging film already seems a nostalgia item remembering a better, more optimistic time. A bunch of New York hair stylists calling themselves Beauty Without Borders land in Kabul and set up shop, teaching local women who had suffered under Taliban misogynist puritanism to perm their hair, wear make-up, and preen like Western women. Mermin allows you to decide whether the Afghan women are being liberated, or brainwashed into the most frivolous kind of femininity, or something in between. Whatever, lots of these women are as charming as they are courageous in their harrowing war memories, and somehow this documentary, without being didactic, manages to stretch in compelling ways the boundaries of feminism.
  Topics: Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, War and Conflict, The Taliban,  More more >
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