Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)

Director: Barmak Akram
Screenwriters: Barmak Akram

Institute History

  • 2013 Sundance Film Festival


It’s snowing in Kabul, and gregarious waiter Mustafa charms a pretty student named Wajma. The pair begin a clandestine relationship—they’re playful and passionate but ever mindful of the societal rules they are breaking. After Wajma discovers she is pregnant, her certainty that Mustafa will marry her falters, and word of their dalliance gets out. Her father must decide between his culturally held right to uphold family honor and his devotion to his daughter.

Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) offers us a more complex and nuanced portrait of contemporary dating and the role of women in middle-class Afghanistan than we’ve been permitted to see before onscreen. Wajma Bahar’s dynamic intensity in the title role is matched by the powerful work of Hadji Gul as her foreboding but conflicted father. Beginning his story as an intimate romance, filmmaker Barmak Akram shifts the focus to the volatility in Wajma’s home after her secret is divulged, ultimately revealing an Afghan family just as capable of cruelty—and forgiveness—as any in the world.

— H. Z.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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