Classic Screening: Beneath the Veil – Inside the Taliban’s Afghanistan

Screening Friday 6th February, 2009

Filmed in late 2000 and early 2001, ‘Beneath the Veil‘ is the story of Saira Shah’s
journey through Taliban Afghanistan, a country savaged by years of war
but not yet under international scrutiny. Hailed as one of the most
daring, insightful and shocking news documentaries of recent years it
laid bare a devastating country savaged by war and religious extremism,
where journalists were no longer welcome, and where the rest of the
world seems as distant as another planet. After the screening Cassian Harrison (producer/director) and David Henshaw (executive producer) will discuss the film, its impact and the challenges that filmmakers face today.

Saira, along with Cassian and former Frontline TV News cameraman James Miller,
travelled through some major towns and small villages to talk to
ordinary people, and discover how the Taliban’s regime affected their
lives. The first part of the programme focuses on the actions of the
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

Saira undertook a covert trip, using her contacts in RAWA, and
discovered what life is like as a woman in Afghanistan. This section
shows Saira exploring a gynaecological hospital where the appalling
conditions explain why more women die in childbirth in Afghanistan than
in any other country.

The team then travel to a region where
resistance to the Taliban is still strong, and where villagers are
still at war. The people in these remote areas live in fear of the
Taliban soldiers who have visited before, killing their children,
parents, friends, husbands and wives. ‘Beneath the Veil’
contains footage captured by RAWA’s undercover photographers and camera
people: of executions at a converted UN-funded football ground; of
adulteresses and other Afghans convicted of ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour.

Beneath the Veil
was a timely insight into a country which became the focus of
international military, political, and media attention after September

Length: 52 mins