BANAZ: A LOVE STORY Film Review.
Directed By Deeyah Khan
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Crime
BANAZ: A LOVE STORY is a harrowing documentary that provides a powerful insight into a cultural issue that should be treated as an outrage in this country and internationally. In January 2006, Banaz, a vulnerable young Kurdish woman, was murdered by her own family in an honour killing for falling in love with a man who was not the husband she had been forced to marry when she was just 17.
The portrayal of these chilling events is constructed primarily through interviews and narration from significant members of the investigation, the prosecution, Banaz’s sister, and comments from significant members of various organisations, offering analysis and insight into potentially unfamiliar cultures and traditions. However, the most significant and shocking element is that Banaz’s voice forms the centre of the documentary, as she is able to tell her own story through video’s of police interviews, texts she sent to her beloved boyfriend, a video that was made of her and carefully constructed letters she had written to try and support her case.
The aims of this heart-wrenching documentary are twofold, as it seeks to raise awareness and provoke discussion of the scarcely mentioned multinational scourge of honour violence and the distressing lack of support for its victims.
Director, Deeyah, when possible, allows Banaz to tell her own story. Deeyah’s love and respect for Banaz is apparent throughout the documentary and by the end is almost certainly shared by the viewer. This admiration by an audience of strangers for the young woman’s brave and intelligent attempts to seek help, starkly contrast with the desperately sad opening to the film, which indicates that few people cared for Banaz or paid attention to her desperate plight.
The shocking statistics and cases referred to during the film demonstrate how common honour violence is in our country - and how little is done to prevent it.
The impact of the film is primarily auditory, as the focus is on recounting and discussing the events leading to Banaz’s death, and the subsequent investigation. However, the cinematography greatly enhances much of the core messages of the documentary as the sweeping shots of everyday London, juxtaposed with the heinous horrors being described, confront the fact that these things could be happening in any of the houses the camera pans over. Someone just like Banaz could be your neighbour, your child’s friend at school – the woman you work with.
This is a well made, carefully researched documentary depicting a desperately sad topic, and a tragic personal story. It highlights the unstinting work of a remarkable police officer, Caroline Goode, and her team who built the case against Banzaz’s murderers and had them brought to justice. It is their courageous efforts against a backdrop of what appears to be indifference, and the dedication of Deeyah to produce an eloquent eye-opening film that mean that at least Banaz will be remembered, and hopefully her story will help to save others from the violence that so called family honour perpetrates against women.
BANAZ: A LOVE STORY is the first feature documentary by artist, activist and film-maker Deeyah.
Watch BANAZ: A LOVE STORY now