By Rachael Fisher
“Afghanistan – one of the most dangerous places for women today.” – filmmaker Gayatri Kumar
Words cannot begin to describe the torture or torment these girls are put through at such a young age. Filmmaker Gayatri Kumar captures the fear, horror and pain the Taliban has caused to not just one, but several families all at once in only a few minutes.
The short film gives us the perspective of one young bride, Rihana and her downfall at the hands of her fathers’ choice. She kneels next to her father to begin the ceremony, veil covering her eyes. Just as the door opens to reveal the groom, in walks the Taliban. The veil is off and Rihana begs for her life. Her father pushes away her family and young brother fighting to get to her.
When the father locks the rest of the family away, they watch as Rihana is taken and dropped into the coffin. The Taliban fires their guns in celebration as Rihana cries for her family and begs for freedom.
In the beginning of the film, we do not see Rihana’s father, only his legs which kick at the family trying to reach their beloved daughter. His face and expression is then revealed as he graciously welcomes the Taliban, with his eyes focused on the duty to send his daughter away.
In the end, we witness his one lasting second to possibly stray from his choice, but instead, he hammers the last nail on his own daughter’s coffin to be sent away to the Taliban. The cries from the family and the banging of their fists on the door fight the laughter and mockery of the Taliban partying of their new capture.
Her father, the one to make the decision, was the one man who betrayed them all.
Kumar’s careful choices were evident throughout the film. Such as her choice to cast real Afghan refugees who fled to Delhi, India after facing harassment and trauma from the Taliban to taking a stand as a female American filmmaker to direct such a piece.
Kumar sends a message to all audiences that the Afghan women’s cries are heard and it is our response to care. The cries in the film from Rihana’s family were not only for this girl’s story, but for the many others whose lives were stolen away from them.
Coffined at 15 will have its world premiere at 5 p.m. PST at Dances With Films at TCL Theatres in Hollywood. Tickets available now at: https://danceswithfilms.com/coffined-at-15/