Of Shame and Coffins

The Box

  • Maziar Bahari
  • Iran
  • 2001
  • 27 min
  • Retrospective: Maziar Bahari

In just 30 minutes, director Maziar Bahari shows the implications of the taboo surrounding AIDS that prevails in large parts of Africa.

In Kwazulu-Natal, an eastern province of South Africa, he interviews Joyce, who in fear of the consequences keeps her illness a secret from both her children and the community. Bahari captures her on film in the church, dancing to the lively drums. Within the religious community, the subject is being silenced. Churchgoers dance around a pregnant woman who claims her husband died of tuberculosis - while the true cause of death was more than likely AIDS. An AIDS patient in hospital says he regrets telling his brother about his disease, as the latter threw him out of the house. A young woman who is filmed at her sister's grave - murdered because she did not keep silent about her illness - was harassed herself after the film was shot. While the screen remains black for a moment, the narrator reveals that the film crew was also threatened.

One part of the community wants to preserve the taboo by using force, another part believes AIDS is a punishment from God. All the while, the documentary reveals that the undertakers are doing very well.

Credits

  • 27 min
  • color
  • video
  • Spoken languages: English, Zulu
Director
Maziar Bahari
Production
Maziar Bahari for Off-Centre Productions
Cinematography
Maziar Bahari
Editing
Maziar Bahari
Sound
Maziar Bahari

IDFA history

2007
Screened
Retrospective: Maziar Bahari
2001
Screened
Jan Vrijman Fund
2001

Jan Vrijman Fund
2000
Supported with €12000 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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