Angelina Jolie has backed Afghan film Hava, Maryam, Ayesha to win honours at the Venice International Film Festival.
The movie, which had its world premiere at the Italian film event on Friday, is being screened as part of the festival’s Horizons strand – in which four prizes are awarded.
In a statement to Variety, Angelina hailed the film, which is made by female first-time director Sahraa Karimi, and chronicles the lives of three Afghan women from different social backgrounds living in the war-torn nation, as a “moving film” that had been made “against the odds”.
Called it a “delicately made and moving film (that) chronicles the lives of young women in contemporary Afghanistan”, Angelina added: “It shows the grace, beauty and spirit of Afghan women as they navigate marriage, love, friendship, family and motherhood.”
Hava, Maryam, Ayesha was made with an entirely local Afghan cast and crew – an achievement the Maleficent star praised as a remarkable achievement in a country in which women are still struggling for basic rights.
“Every film made in Afghanistan is a triumph against the odds,” she said. “At a time when the future of Afghanistan is hanging in the balance, it reminds us of all that is at stake for millions of Afghan women, who deserve the freedom, independence and safety to make their own choices – in their own homes, and throughout society as a whole.”
Meanwhile, Sahraa thanked film festival chiefs for providing her with a platform to “bring attention to the issues my country is facing – in particular, the need to guarantee fundamental women’s rights in Afghanistan.”