Among the many things that remain hidden about Afghanistan, despite the saturation coverage and instant news appeal it receives, is the diversity and ferment of its cinematic landscape. The films in this package are an attempt to showcase some of this vibrant activity through a selection of work by Afghan filmmakers. In treatment and content, these films represent a nuanced way of looking at the country, as a counterpoint to the monochrome ideas of conflict v/s ‘hope’, good v/s evil that dominate most media representations of Afghanistan.
Many of the young directors working in the media today grew up away from Afghanistan as part of the large refugee communities living abroad and returned in the years after 2001 to a land that was both their own yet unknown to them. In many ways, these films are both a negotiation with this reality, as well as a way to claim their own voices in the Afghanistan of today.
The themes and influences on these works are also wide ranging. Some of them deal with the theme of 2014 and withdrawal of the NATO troops, others are concerned with the dreams of children. What they all have in common is their importance as both an insight into and record of this particular moment of flux in Afghanistan. Each of the works shown here is a testament to the commitment and passion of this generation of storytellers, who often overcome massive odds to bring their stories to the world. This package is an attempt to showcase their voices, and an attempt to talk about Afghanistan in a language that is determined by Afghans.
The curator of the programme, Taran Khan, is a journalist and filmmaker based in Mumbai. She has been travelling to Kabul since 2006 where she has worked closely with Afghan media professionals and filmmakers. Taran will present and discuss the films.
The screening is free and open to all.
ANGELS OF THE EARTH
Short Fiction/15 mins/2009
Director: Jalal Husaini
Two children in Kabul. One has lost his mother and dreams of flying. If he can fly, he can go to his mother in heaven, leaving behind his father, a shoemaker, who does not care about him. The other child wants a pair of shoes. Their stories collide in this short film.
Director: Basir Seerat
Vintage horse drawn carriages used as taxis mingle with heavy automobile traffic down a very long street. The coachmen attempt to resist the pressing urban planning desires of the riverbank inhabitants, a modernization which would make them disappear.
Short fiction/14 mins/2013
Dir: S. Masoud Islami
A family prepares to leave Afghanistan as 2014 looms. But the elder daughter is unhappy with her marriage, and her husband must be dealt with.
THE LAST PRESIDENT
Short fiction/14 mins/2013
Dir: Jamil Jalla
Amir Ali’s father told him he could change the world. All of Afghanistan is preparing for elections. This could be his chance to make a difference.
A LETTER TO LIGHT
Dir: Ghafar Azad
The story of Jamshid, a 13 year old boy, who is half blind since childhood. After the diagnostics, doctors tell him that he will gradually become totally blind. Nadia, a girl quite like an angel, is always with Jamshid. She has normal eyes and can see. Nadia gets sad at times, when thinking of Jamshid and his fate.
Short fiction/3 mins/2012
Dir: Ali Hussein Husseini
A goodbye that isn’t.