Saving Face: True Stories

Saving Face: True Stories


“I know I’ll never again be as God made me,” says a Pakistani woman with one side of her face hidden by a headscarf. Her husband, we learn, threw battery acid in her face – a shockingly common crime in Pakistan — and burnt her features, destroying one eye. “It took one second to ruin my life completely,” she says.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar for this True Stories film about the culture of acid attacks and the efforts by one British plastic surgeon to help the victims. It’s powerful stuff, the kind of programme that makes you by turns angry and appalled.


Every year in Pakistan more than 100 people, most of them women, are known to be victims of acid attacks, while numerous other cases go unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are left physically and emotionally scarred. This extended version of an Oscar-winning film follows pioneering British plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad as he travels to the country to treat two victims, 39-year-old Zakia and 23-year-old Rukhsana, who were both maimed by their husbands.