"A bad husband is better than no husband" is a common refrain. Is marriage the only option for women?
You have to get married. If not, it's considered really sad.
How does divorce work in that society?
Divorce is incredibly rare. I was really shocked Aleema was divorced. She told me her mother forced the divorce so she could get her married again and collect another dowry.
What surprised you the most as you were following the women?
That Kareema called the cops because she believed this was the one way to survive. Everything is so moral, she knows if she gets him to marry her, the judge might let her go. If he doesn't marry her, she's screwed anyway. It's not a gamble.
How did the women in the prison react to you?
Most of the prisoners really took to me. They liked the attention. In survival cultures, they don't put much time into how you're feeling. It's, "What's going to happen? What do I have to do next?" It was pleasant for them to be around someone who was just relating to their humanity, "How do you feel? What do you think?"
How do you stay objective?
I'm always empathizing. But the most I can do is to show the logic at play and the way the system operates.
Have any of the women been able to see the film?
No, it won't be showing in Afghanistan. There will always be a really traditional uncle who will think, "It wasn't bad enough you did this, you went on TV?"