Enemies of Happiness - Best of Dochouse
Monday 2 March 2015, by
Enemies of Happiness/ Vores lykkes fjender is a powerful exploration of the determination and sheer hard work of Malalai Joya in the ten days leading up to the 2005 Afghanistan elections-the first democratic parliamentary election in over 30 years and the first in which women were allowed to vote. We follow her trials as a female political candidate, accurately self-described as a ‘woman among warlords’. The film hums with the constant buzz of radio announcements and news stories, propelling Joya forward in the face of violent opposition and death threats. Yet this film is more than the story of her campaign to win electoral support. Mulvad paints a portrait of Joya that presents the sisterhood, solidarity and encouragement which she shows to those who arrive at her doorstep (from the young girl worried about being forced into marriage to an elderly woman who shares Joya’s vision for Afghanistan) to be a crucial element in her fight for a democratic system freed from corruption. These stories, which aren’t overtly concerned with her political campaign, are some of the most moving and significant moments of the film, performing the essential task of bringing politics back to the people. These moments save the film from exalting Joya as a singular figure and place her in a broader movement for change, whilst still recognising her courage and determination.
Mulvad’s humanist approach presents an Afghanistan that the Western public rarely see. Enemies of Happiness confronts the audience with several passionate expressions of hope and emotive desires for peace, expressions which are sometimes overwhelming for both subject and audience. Joya’s dedication is to people and communities who, in the midst of a brutal struggle, are overwhelmed by hope and her own passion is the hope for a whole nation, hope for a new kind of politics. We are left to contemplate the tenacity of their faith in struggle and solidarity, a conviction that is so easily lost.
Dir: Eva Mulvad, 2006
Enemies of Happiness is screening Thursday March 5th as part of the Best of Dochouse series, details below: