The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan
Jamie Doran / UK / 2010 / 52 min.
Bacha Bazi, which translates as "boy's game", is the name of an old Afghan tradition under which pubescent boys dress as women and perform dances for the pleasure of adult men. The custom, particularly widespread in the north of the country, has flourished in recent years as former army commanders and influential businessmen purchase selected boys as a kind of trophy. In this way, street orphans and boys from poor families become sexual slaves; in some cases they are even murdered. Exiled Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi returned to his homeland with British director Jamie Doran to make a brave investigative film about this illegal practice. He wins the trust of Dastager, a rich businessman who admits to indulging in Bacha Bazi, saying two to three thousand children have passed through his hands. Through him, the journalist gets to attend a ceremony and witness an argument over who will take a good-looking boy home that evening. When he meets a police official at another event it becomes clear that ending this barbaric custom in Afghanistan will be far from easy.