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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Motherland Afghanistan
Directed by Sedika Mojadidi
First Run Features 04/07 DVD/VHS Documentary
Not Rated

Dr. Qudrat Mojadidi came to the United States from Afghanistan in 1972. In 2003, he is invited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department to return to Kabul and help rehabilitate Rabia Balkhi Hospital, the largest women's hospital in the country. He is accompanied by his wife, also a doctor, and his daughter, Sedika, who films their journey.

Upon his arrival, Dr. Mojadidi finds the facility has only limited supplies and totally unsanitary bathrooms. The largely untrained staff is forced to purchase supplies from a local pharmacy. Writing Washington doesn't help, and nothing arrives during his stay there. Dr. Mojadidi admits he has made a mistake in accepting the position and returns to the United States.

Two years later, he comes back to Afghanistan to work for Shuhada, an Afghan-led nongovernmental organization that runs a hospital in the rural Jaghori district. Hundreds of women from small villages come to see him. He helps several women with difficult problems and trains the doctors who have not had much education.

In Afghanistan, one in seven women die in childbirth; the country has the second highest infant mortality rate in the world; and most babies born premature die shortly afterwards. Dr. Mojadidi, a specialist in women's health, dispenses his healing touch along with wise and compassionate words for these poor women in pain. He comes off as a heroic figure who makes it clear that the plight of women is exacerbated by cultural attitudes and domestic violence. Sedika Mojadidi has made an engrossing film that conveys the ravages of war on the people of Afghanistan and the desperate need for better health care for women.

Special DVD features include deleted scenes and biographies.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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