Coffined at 15
The subjugation of Afghanistan to Taliban rule has made for harrowing but moving art. The Swallows of Kabul, for example, is a blistering read and a beautifully adapted film. Film shorts have also provided a platform for highlighting the injustices in the country, especially for women.
Coffined at 15 starts with a closed door. It opens onto a world most would prefer not to see – the jarring juxtaposition of a jaunty wedding song, a pretty young bride, a celebrating man who might be her grandfather and colourful sweetmeats with kalashikovs, the sound of wailing and a hammer.
We know instantly the picture is wrong because the bride is a weeping child clinging to her father begging him not to do this to her. The ‘grandfather’ figure is her bridegroom and the Kalashnikovs are being fired as a threat to the girl’s family that they must give her over to the old Taliban boss or else. Notes of money fly around and then the terrified girl is forced into a coffin, a symbol of her being buried alive in a loveless, likely brutal marriage. The girl’s father begins the painful task of hammering the nails into the coffin lid as his daughter pleads with him to save her.
Each horrific scene in writer, director Gayatri Kumar’s 5 minute film cries out for justice for, not only the girl but also her family forced into this heartbreaking an degrading sale of her to a cruel master.
The roles are all played by Afghan refugees and the pain for millions of girls and families and their homeland is etched in their faces.
Coffined at 15 is a difficult watch but a powerful cry, through art, for the world to see what is happening in the 21st century, to acknowledge it and maybe be stirred to ask for action against it.