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Rated NR · 74 minutes · 2006

Documentary
Under the Taliban, Afghan women were not allowed to attend school, vote, or go out in public unless accompanied by a "close" male relative. They also had to be covered head to toe by a burka, their eyes barely visible from behind a small mesh slit. Against such a draconian background, a documentary about the first beauty school to open in Kabul post-Taliban feels terribly inconsequential. It's a hurdle that filmmaker Liz Mermin (On Hostile Ground) simply cannot overcome. The pursuit of beauty may indeed be an "element of democracy," but somehow "Beauty Without Borders" doesn't have quite the ring of "Doctors Without Borders." And while most women probably do worry about how they look, focusing an entire documentary on hair and makeup seems not only frivolous, but also uncomfortably stereotypical. Then again, those of us who don't "do" spas and beauty salons are probably the wrong people to critique such a film.
Official Site: www.beautyacademyofkabul.com
Director: Liz Mermin
Producer: Liz Mermin
Cast: Sheri Levine, Linda Saetre and Nick Fraser

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