April 15, 2006

A movie I liked

Kandahar - This movie was made in 2000 based on a real story, fictionalized for the movie. Nilofer was living in Afghanistan and her family fled Kabul in 1988 when the war broke out under Communist regime of Russia. They had to walk for ten days leaving everything that belonged to them in Kabul. She completed her degree in journalism in 1991. In 1998 she received a letter from her friend Dyana (childhood friend in Kabul). Dyana wrote that she no longer believed that living under Taliban was worthwhile. Nilofer thought Dyana will attempt suicide and embarks on a journey to Kabul to persuade and save her. However midway through her journey she is convinced by refugees that the journey into Taliban area is too dangerous. Nilofer ends her quest and returns to Makhmalbaf, the master director of Irani movies.

Nilofer had seen some of Makhmalbaf's movies like Cyclist which had a softer corner to Afghan refugees. However Makhmalbaf says that he shot those movies in Iran and Pakistan and he did not know anything about Afghanistan. Disappointed and dejected Nilofer returns to Canada. She received a call after two years from Makhmalbaf. They venture onto make a movie based on the true story fictionalized for the movie. The movie was made with the help of Afghan refugees in Iran. In the movie Nilofer is searching for her sister and continues her journey to the outskirts of Kabul. The movie records the experiences of Nilofer's journey. It is absorbing and devastating.

Though this movie won the Jury prize in Cannes film festival in 2001, it was only after Sept 11 attack, that the movie became famous worldwide. The movie was watched with a new perspective, with a willingness to note and respond to the terrible living conditions in one part of the world.

Makhmalbaf was born in a poor family in Iran and he went to work at the age of 7. He had worked in 10 different jobs by the age of 16. He was then involved in one Muslim organization and fought against the regime of Iran. He was caught and jailed for 5 years from 1974 to 1979. 10 years from then he was one of the best directors in Iran. His wife and even his daughters have directed movies!

I have not seen Cyclist. But I know the story and heard that it is very good.

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