Saving Face (2012)

A review - by Shlomoh Sherman
December 29, 2013

Saving Face (I) (2012)
Directors: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Star: Mohammad Jawad, Plastic Surgeon, as himself
Genres: Documentary - Short - Drama
Country: USA - Pakistan
Language: Urdu - English
Release Date: March 8, 2012 (USA)
Company Credits:
Production Co: JungeFilms, Milkhaus
Runtime: 40 mins
Awards: 2011 Oscar(R)-winner for Best Documentary-Short Subject
Plot Summary: Saving Face -- The 2011 Oscar(R)-winner for Best Documentary-Short Subject, this film tells the stories of Pakistani women who have become the victims of acid attacks and of a renowned London plastic surgeon who put his practice on hold to help them. Every year hundreds of people -- mostly women -- are attacked with acid in Pakistan. SAVING FACE follows several of these survivors, their fight for justice, and a Pakistani plastic surgeon who has returned to his homeland to help them restore their faces and their lives.


This documentary appears to be just another link in the long, tragic culture of Islamic way of life. Mostly filmed in Pakistan, it tells the story of brutal and barbaric attacks on women victims of acid thrown in their faces. These criminal acts are performed daily, mostly by the female's husband or boyfriend. The reasons for the attacks range from the woman's request for divorce to rejecting the man's advances. Up to recent times, Pakistani law had not dealt effectively with these outrages and therefore many men got away with disfiguring the women. Pakistan, after repeated efforts by women's groups and legal groups, finally enacted laws to deal harshly with the perpertrators. But in many cases, the women don't even report the attacks to Pakistani law enforcement for fear that the acid throwers will attack them again or attack their families. In many cases, there are death threats against the victim and her family.

In the midst of this horror, the film describes the efforts of Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a reknowned Pakistani plastic surgeon, now a resident of England, who returned to his native land to help restore as much as possible the ruined faces of these helpless women.

Think about it. Pakistan was created after the Second World War when the British left the Indian continent and split India in two nations, one a Hindu country and the other a Muslim country. We do not hear of such atrocities coming from India however.

Watching the film is difficult. Seeing the terribly scared faces arouses anger and indignation. It's a story out of the world of Islam that we have become used to but never quite indifferent, and each time we hear about the stories, we wonder about the future of a world in which Muslims constitute one quarter of earth's population, a sub-population that is growing.

One reviewer says: "Hard to watch but impossible to forget!" - Michael Elliott (Louisville, KY)

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