Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Nelofer Pazira, Hassan Tantai, Ike Ogut, Sadou Teymouri, Hoyatala Hakimi
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Commentary by actress nelofer pazira this epic tale of hope & courage as an afghan born journalist returns to her homeland in a desperate attempt to reach her sister. Studio: New Yorker Films Video Release Date: 05/13/20... more »
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A journey in the land of Taliban horror and oppression
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 09/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Iranian film was made before the horrible events of 9/11 etched the name of Kandahar into our consciousness. This film is NOT a documentary. It is a fictionalized story of an Afghan woman, Nafas, a Canadian journalist, who returns to Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban to search for her sister.Filmed in Iran, it nevertheless gives us a feel for the bleak sun-dried landscape of Afghanistan. Here, the woman wear burkas, they are not allowed to go to school, and they must constantly look out for land mines. During the course of the film Nafas has disguises herself as a fourth wife of a man returning to Afghanistan from Iran, is helped by a young boy who has to eke out a living the best way he can after being thrown out of a religious school, sickens and meets a doctor who speaks English and joins a one-armed man and a group of women on their way to a wedding in Kandahar.There is horror and oppression everywhere, not just for the women, but also for everyone under Taliban rule. Saddest of all are the victims of the land mines. There are several scenes in a Red Cross station about this, with the dozens of one-legged men who are in constant pain and who wait for the helicopters to drop prosthetic legs from the sky.Nelofer Pazura, a real-life Canadian journalist who was born in Kabul and therefore speaks both Parsi and English, plays the part of Nafas. She is beautiful with wide sad blue eyes and she plays this role as if in a dream, her face expressionless whenever she lifts her burka. The film is upsetting and not for everyone and some of the images will haunt me for a long time. I do recommend it. But don't expect to leave the theater smiling."
A beautiful semi-documentary that teaches without words
Philippe Ranger | Montreal, Can. | 11/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can't vouch the following is how Kandahar's author, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, would describe his film. I can't even say whether, living in Iran, Makhmalbaf feels free to say what he means, otherwise than through film. However, he has put up a long background document on Afghanistan at http://www.makhmalbaf.com/articles.asp?pa=1&a=a16What I saw is a semi-documentary set in a desertic area of Afghanistan, built of long sequences each of which is very telling, admirably constructed and visually beautiful. In fact, the film has been criticized for its beauty. The topic about which the images are so telling, is what Afghan society (which is essentially rural) has been reduced to by twenty years of war, and especially the state of the female half of that society.The sequences are linked together by the fictional component. A 21-year old Afghan refugee from Ottawa, Canada, working as a journalist, wants to reach her sister in Kandahar before she commits suicide on the eclipse. The sister told her about her plan in a letter sent three months before, but events have left our protagonist on the Iranian border three days before the eclipse. The sequences occur as she progresses towards Kandahar. The sister has never left Afghanistan because on the way out with the rest of the family, 15 years before, she stepped on a mine and lost her legs. Her father remained with her, but he is now dead.The Canadian sister will never reach Kandahar. As the film ends, she has been caught by the Taliban, to no one's surprise. I surmise she will either be taken up as booty by a commander, for a Xth wife or concubine, or will be raped by soldiers, as booty again, and left to fend as a prostitute until caught again and executed. She may well live no longer than her sister.In my reading the protagonist's naive self-centeredness is meant to set off the non-fictional images. There is a visual leitmotif translating this egocentrism. On all occasions, the girl keeps dictating her precious thoughts and "candles of hope" for her sister into a small tape recorder -- in English, which of course her sister can't understand: she's dictating to her own sensitive self. Her attachment to the machine is the reason she gets caught.A second English-speaking character is provided, who is as full of modesty and truth as she is blind and vapid. This is an American black Muslim who came to Afghanistan over fifteen years before looking for God by fighting the Russians, and has now learned to simply look for opportunities to do good. There is an unfinished dialog on the topic of hope, and, reading between the lines, my perception is that the endless war has cleansed Afghan society of any occasion for hope, especially for women, and that this cleansing is simply expressed through the Taliban. Hence the importance of doing good because it is good, and not because it is a "candle of hope".Whether or not I am right in any of this, I am sure Kandahar will tell you much also, of things that cannot be written but can be shown."
ALL ROADS LEAD TO...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an intriguing film by renowned Iranian director Mosen Makhmalbaf. It is a brief, fascinating peek at Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Filmed before the September 11, 2001 attack on the World trade Center took place, it offers a tantalizing glimpse into a country in which few of us can imagine living.The premise of the film revolves around an Afghani woman named Nafas (Niloufar Pazira), who has emigrated to Canada but finds herself returning years later to her homeland after her sister, who had remained behind in Afghanistan, writes her a letter announcing her intention to end her life at the time of the next solar eclipse. In the film, Nafas is journeying to her sister in Kandahar. She finds her country, a mosaic of ethnic and linguistic communities, totally devastated by two decades of war. It is through her eyes that the viewer sees the extreme views that have overrun her country. It is through her eyes that the viewer sees the tragedy that is Afghanistan. The viewer sees that education is firmly in the hands of the Mullahs, the local religious leaders who practice and instruct young boys in a strict fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. It is an ideology that is interwoven with a chilling militancy. Despite the extreme views propounded by the Mullahs, mothers struggle to get their boys in these schools, so as to be assured that their sons will get your basic three hots and a cot in this land of famine. Moreover, the issue of the role of women under such a repressive regime is also looked at. The viewer sees how the women are treated, denied an education, and referred to in collective, pejorative terms (black heads), due to the burkhas they are forced to wear, at all times. The viewer also sees the devastation that war has brought to this country in terms of land mines and consequent maimings. The results of famine and poor health care are also apparent throughout the course of this film.As a story, the film promises but, ultimately, fails to deliver a very satisfactory ending. Metaphorically, however, it delivers. Just as her sister's end is near, the end of Afghanistan under this repressive Taliban regime is also near. The film is positively prophetic, when viewed in a metaphoric light.Though the story line is left to drift as a backdrop for the bigger picture story alluded to through the stunning cinematography, the film still manages to succeed. The film, shot entirely in natural light due to the lack of electricity on location, is vivid with its imagery of a culture and lifestyle so alien to those of us living with and surrounded by creature comforts. The beautiful Niloufar Pazira, who is not a professional actress but, rather, an Afghani born journalist living in Canada, is wonderful as Nafas. The cast of unknown locals contribute to the vitality of this film, which is a must see for those who are interested in other cultures or in the human condition. Filmed on the Iran-Afghanistan border, the film is based in part on a similar journey to Kabul that Niloufar Pazira had herself earlier attempted in response to a letter from a despondent childhood friend. That journey was never completed due to the danger inherent in such a trip.The DVD offers superlative visuals and a crystal clear audio but has only a few limited bonus options or special features. It contains an interesting featurette entitled, "Lifting the Veil", which is a documentary that centers around Ms. Pazira. It tells the viewer about her extraordinary life and how it came about that this film was made. There is also a film commentary by Ms. Pazira. What is interesting about the commentary is that it is not from a director's perspective. The commentary is from a very personal perspective and details what is meant to be conveyed by this film. Those who listen to the commentary will know that the film is about much more than its basic story line about Nafas finding her sister. The film is about Afghanistan."
All The Way To Kandahar
Alysson Oliveira | Sao Paulo-- Brazil | 01/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When "Kandahar" was shown in Cannes in May/01, it was another film from an exotique country with exotique culture and traditions. Now, after September 11th, it all comes down to be a movie about a place where everybody is watching closely. I have to admit that I was most interested in this movie because it takes palce in that region, but after watching it, I changed my opinion.It is the story of an Afghan journalist, Nafas,-- who now lives in Canada - and receives a letter from her sister telling she'll commit suicide during the last eclipse of the XX Century. Then Nafas decides to fly back to her country in order to try to convince her sister not to kill herself. But before reaching her, the journalist has much more trouble in arriving in Kandahar. The film shows her journey and all people she meets through it and the problems she runs up against when in the way to Kandahar . In the background we see many costumes of this region and how living with terrosrism in everyday life is. And the beauty of this exotique land - I have to bring up that the film opens with an extremely beautiful image of an eclipse.I usually have some difficult in undersand Iranian films at the first time I see them. Maybe it's because it's a very different culture with different values, but it doesn't mean I don't like them. This "Kandahar" was an exception. I really appreciated very much only watching it once -- I'll probably watch it again soon. You may feel amazed with the settings and the lighting, but what counts more here is the reality of these people. It's touching seeing children been taught no to touch dolls and teddy bears the find on the floor because these toys may carry mine and seriously hurt these children. Moreover, the film made take a different look into my life itself. I mean I have problems -- as everybody does -- , but they are so small when compared with those people's problems. Some of them have to wait up to one to receive a pair of rough legs because they have lost their own in a mining field. All in all, the end is very touching -- I won't give it to you --, and the very last lines resonated in my mind for hours. Although Nafas journey is to save her sister, it becomes a way of her own rendemption and discover. Kudos to the director Mohsen Makhmakbaf and to the actress Nelofer Pazira, who had lived a very similar situation which inspired the movie."