Their names are Sofia and Nigina. They’re Afghans, beautiful, proud, best friends. And, despite themselves and without knowing it, icons of Kabul’s idle youth. Behind the curtains of their beauty salon, whose exterior has been ransacked by the Taliban, they support a small team and a dream: to protect their last space of freedom.
Sophia and Nigina’s salon is situated in central Kabul. Around twenty employees work there, seven days a week. It’s a sanctuary for women: a place where men do not enter. Somewhere to get pampered, comfort each other and talk about the country’s situation.
We began filming the day after the Taliban came to power on August 15th 2021. The new rulers of Afghanistan made a promise to the world: they have changed. For a year and a half, as the extremists impose new laws on Afghans, especially women, we follow the two friends in their beauty salon and across the Afghan capital: in a park where they are the only ones who still dare to show their faces; on the hilltops where they learn to drive in secret; on a big wheel where, with their hair blowing in the wind, they narrowly escape the Taliban…
And then, on the road to exile. The repression becomes too harsh, too suffocating, too violent. The young women’s quest for lightness becomes a plan of escape… Which will test their resilience, their courage, and even their friendship.
Over the past few months many beauty salons in Kabul closed their doors for the last time.Zakia’s salon held out for as long as possible. On 3rd July 2023, in a final blow, the Taliban ordered it to be closed, along with around 10,000 other beauty salons across the country.