Kandahar - 2001

Directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf

An Afghan-born Canadian journalist crosses into Afghanistan from Iran in order to reach Kandahar and prevent her sister from committing suicide. This offering from Mohsen Makhmalbaf was made to bring attention to the living conditions and the plight of women in Taliban era Afghanistan, at a time when the world was not paying much attention to this oppressive regime.

Color, 1 hour 25 minutes, Farsi/Pashtu/English

Original Title: Safar-e-Kandahar

Watch Trailer (Farsi, English), Watch Scene (Pashtu w/English subtitles)

Star Rating


Firouzan Rank # 28

Cast


Nelofer Pazira Nafas
Hossein Tantalaye Tabib Sahid
Sadou Teymouri Khak
Hayatollah Hakimi Hayat
Safdar Shodjai  
Mohammad Heydar Barbari  
Mollazaher Teymouri  
Makdalna Ouzdavska  
Monica Hankievich  
Mohammad Javad Aarfian  
Zahra Shafahi  
Nafs Gol  
Mahboub Showjaii  

Crew


Writer Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Director Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Producer Syamak Alagheband
Director of Photography Ebrahim Ghafouri
Sound Recordist Behrouz Shahamat
Farrokh Fadai
Production Designer Akbar Mashkini
Editor Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Sound Mixer Behrouz Shahamat
Music Mohammad Reza Darvishi

Pictures


Ever the journalist, Nafas (Nelofer Pazira) documents the journey for her sister.

Ever the journalist, Nafas (Nelofer Pazira) documents the journey for her sister.

Nafas just before donning the all-encompassing burka.

Nafas just before donning the all-encompassing burka.

A picture with her pretend family.

A picture with her pretend family.

Robbed of their transportation, the group must walk the rest of the journey - carrying only their U.N. flag for protection.

Robbed of their transportation, the group must walk the rest of the journey - carrying only their U.N. flag for protection.

Nafas's latest guide Khak (Sadou Teymouri) stumbles upon a skeleton and salvages anything worth selling.

Nafas's latest guide Khak (Sadou Teymouri) stumbles upon a skeleton and salvages anything worth selling.

Khak acts as an intermediary between Nafas an the male doctor unable to directly see her due to strict taliban laws.

Khak acts as an intermediary between Nafas and the male doctor who is unable to treat her directly due to strict Taliban laws.

Land mine victims race in vane towards the latest air-drop of artificial limbs.

Land mine victims race in vane towards the latest air-drop of artificial limbs.

Parachuting Limbs.

Parachuting Limbs.

Nafas's newest guide has a quick smoke before donning his disguise.

Nafas's newest guide has a quick smoke before donning his disguise.

The setting sun through the veil.

The setting sun through the veil.

DVD


Kandahar DVD Case

Purchase DVD at Amazon.com

External Reviews


By Elvis Mitchell The New York Times

"Kandahar" is bound to attract potential audiences, if only because it may be the only film whose name gets more mentions than Harry Potter on CNN. Though the Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's picture was filmed long before today's breaking news from Afghanistan, it is worthy of some attention because it happens to portray the culture -- specifically the treatment of women in that Taliban stronghold -- in forceful and dramatic terms.

An Afghan journalist, Nafas (Nelofer Pazira), who left Afghanistan and is now based in Canada, goes back home to find her troubled sister. Mr. Makhmalbaf isn't much of a storyteller, and Ms. Pazira is more than his equal in her lack of acting ability. She looks slightly distracted when staring into the camera; she seems to be waiting for instructions to change expression to come over an ear piece, and the instructions never quite get there. Yet she has the command of someone who is accustomed to sitting before the camera and holds positions as if she were born to be there, which makes her the film's star by sheer power of concentration. (In real life Ms. Pazira, who grew up in Kabul, is a Canadian television journalist.) To say that she doesn't lend a great deal of emotional credibility to Kandahar, which opens today at the Lincoln Plaza, is an understatement. Continued

By Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid

Though many members of our heroic American military would probably like to get out of Kandahar, Afghanistan, the hero of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's new film, "Kandahar," desperately wants to get in.

Her motivations are far from political. Typical of Makhmalbaf and other Iranian filmmakers, he's found a way to insert humanist values into a highly political atmosphere. Our main character, a female journalist named Nafas (Nelofer Pazira), simply wishes to get to the Taliban-controlled city of Kandahar where her sister lives to stop her from committing suicide at the next solar eclipse. Continued

By Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times

Mohsen Makhmalbaf's "Kandahar," a powerful depiction of oppression and hardship under Taliban rule, would have been an important picture even if the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks never occurred. It is but the latest prize-laden, critically acclaimed work of one of Iran's major directors, who combines here the intense social consciousness of his earlier work with the poetic sensibility of his more recent films.

In this post-Sept. 11 world, "Kandahar," its very title only newly familiar, understandably drew far wider audiences in New York than usual for an Iranian film. It was helped also by the fact that it is largely and credibly in English. Continued

By Robin Eisgrau Offoffoff.com

"Kandahar" -- a name that's suddenly a household word in the U.S. -- is a drama that looks unblinkingly at hardship among women, mine victims and others in recent-vintage Afghanistan.

This film is an unblinking glimpse into the hardships of life in Afghanistan, and the difficult odyssey of one woman in particular. Inspired by a true story, Kandahar tells the story of Nafas (Nelofer Pazira) an Afghani woman who has been living in Canada and working as a journalist when she receives a disturbing letter from her sister, who has remained in Afghanistan.

Her sister, who has been maimed by a land mine, writes of the oppressive treatment of women and says that she will commit suicide when the next eclipse happens. With only three days until the eclipse, Nafas attempts to travel to Kandahar, a difficult undertaking in a country where women are forbidden to travel alone and are forced to wear the head-to-toe burka. Continued

By David Ng Images Journal

Not quite a "journey into the heart of Afghanistan" (as the ads indicate), "Kandahar" is a sun-induced hallucination of what such a journey might be like. The first shots of the movie are of a solar eclipse as seen through the burka’s mesh and its blinding effects seem to have irradiated the heroine into a kind of waking stupor. The heroine is an Afghan-Canadian journalist named Nafas (Nelofer Pazira) , who returns to her homeland after receiving a suicidal note from her sister who lives in the city of Kandahar. Nafas’ journey is long and rambling and may have only taken place in her head. But, as the movie’s director Mohsen Makhmalbaf implicitly asks in every scene, what is Afghanistan but a state of mind? Continued



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