Meet Zarifa Ghafari, one of the year’s most captivating characters. When the young woman, then 26 years old, was chosen to command Maidan Shahr, Afghanistan, It was impressive that Ghafari was at the time the youngest woman in the country to be elected to public office. It is still true in double measure after seeing the brave actions in In Her Hands. The misery and resilience of one lady are used in this fascinating character study to examine a country’s quest for transformation. Through Ghafari’s tenacity, In Her Hands paints a positive picture of one person’s capacity to spur social change.
directed by German director Marcel Mettelsiefen and Afghan filmmaker Tamana Ayazi (an Oscar nominee for Watani: My Homeland),The story of Ghafari is not given much context in In Her Hands. There won’t be much information revealed to viewers about her past or her previous tenure in politics. However, this isn’t an attempt at a conventional biography. Instead, as Ghafari uses her position to promote women’s rights, In Her Hands strongly embeds the spectator in Afghanistan’s reality. President Biden makes the announcement that American soldiers will leave Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation at the same moment. Everyone is aware that the departure of the Americans will reignite the Taliban’s flames and plunge Afghanistan back into the past. As the conflict between development and conservatism rages, In Her Hands catches something in the air as viewed through the eyes of one lady.
In Her Hands has unrestricted access to Ghafari’s personal and professional life. The movie follows her as she gives speeches in front of crowds and promotes equitable access to education. Ayazi and Mettelsiefen watch as Ghafari deals with the tension between tradition and modernity in his own home. Zarifa’s father, a former military commander in Afghanistan, is concerned about her career and, more seriously, her decision to live with her fiancé, Bashir, prior to getting married. Even with her father, Ghafari maintains her composure. The movie illustrates Ghafari’s bravery in standing up for her freedom to live her life as she sees fit.
In addition, Ghafari manages her relationship with Massoum, her bodyguard, with whom she nearly escapes death when the Taliban ambush their car. Violence increases in frequency as In Her Hands approaches the day when the Americans will leave. Through unexpected turns, Ayazi and Mettelsiefen demonstrate the imminent threats that Ghafari and her family face as a result of the fact that she is a powerful and well-known lady.
Before In Her Hands may be cynically dismissed as a solely heroic picture, another strand is introduced in the movie. To see Ghafari’s obstacles, In Her Hands ventures into Taliban territory. Though Ghafari’s actions and words continually define the Taliban’s patriarchal power, the movie avoids engaging in “both sides-ism.” Musafer, a leader in the Taliban who instructs a new generation of young men to subjugate women, offers Mettelsiefen a personal insight. There is no condemnation, and the filmmakers are not giving the Taliban a voice. Instead, they are supporting Zarifa’s narrative with direct quotes from the source.
The duel between Ghafari and Musafar is contrasted in In Her Hand. Ayazi and Mettelsiefen provide strong visual comparisons across the threads in addition to the ideological talking points. The image of Ghafari learning how to shoot a weapon while wearing stylish heels replaces shots of young boys bouncing bullets in the air. As withdrawal day draws near, anxiety increases and Ghafari realises that, despite her accomplishments so far, her time in Afghanistan is currently limited.
In Her Hands is an emotional depiction of this young woman’s bravery, and it was executive produced by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. The Middle East’s unrest is seen to be cyclical as America continues to cause problems at the same time. Although the documentary may have been harsher on America for leaving behind the catastrophe it caused, that is probably a tale for another movie. In addition, the scenes showing Ghafari departing Afghanistan and collecting sand to bring a piece of her home country to Germany are without a doubt the most poignant ones in the movie. The creators also told POV during an interview that the Clintons had only seen the movie two weeks previously and had no input on how the withdrawal was handled.
But In Her Hands takes a startling turn for another character when Ghafari departs. The movie places the stories within a group of marginalised men who attribute their problems to the advancement of women. The movie offers a potent portrayal of the necessity of heroes who take a position, rather than so much a representation of a hero.