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Kandahar [DVD] [2001]


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Product details

  • Actors: Nelofer Pazira, Hassan Tantai, Ike Ogut, Sadou Teymouri, Hoyatala Hakimi
  • Directors: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Writers: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Producers: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Persian, Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Ica
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Aug. 2002
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068OWN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,137 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Nafas is an exiled Afghan journalist who hears that her sister, unable to deal with life under the Taliban reigime any longer, has threatened suicide. Travelling to the Iran-Afghanistan border, Nafas finds an old man who will help her cross the border by allowing her to pose as his wife. She then heads for Kandahar, the city where her sister lives, but progress proves difficult, and Nafas continually comes up against examples of the suffering brought about by the Taliban's oppressive rule.

From Amazon.co.uk

Kandahar is a daring challenge to Afghan life. Told through the character of Nafas (Nelofer Pariza)--a young Afghan journalist who returns from Canada to save her estranged sister, who has threatened to commit suicide--it is an eye-opener about the plight of Afghan women.

On her journey to meet her sister, Nafas meets the prime features of the country--violence, disease, sexual discrimination and a terrifyingly dominant religion. The tempo of the film increases as she meets each new character. Among these are the victims of land mines who fight over prosthetic legs, the doctor who comes to the land in search of God, the many female voices silenced behind their burqas and the young boys who don't even know the meaning of the Islamic texts they memorise. The combination of vast, barren landscapes, haunting music and a poignant narrative is riveting. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, with his rustic imagery and documentary style, tells a story of great political, cultural and religious relevance in today's world.

On the DVD: Kandahar's bonus feature "Afghan Alphabet" (also made by Makhmalbaf) makes shocking revelations about the condition of Afghan refugees after the September 11 attacks. Focusing on a small group on the border of Iran and Afghanistan, it shows how deeply the Taliban regime scarred the Afghan people. --Anika Puri

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Aug. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
In Farsi this film is called 'Safar E Kandahar', which means 'Road To Kandahar'. I believe that to be a more apt title as this film is really a 'road movie'. It is episodic in structure as the main protagonist, Nafas, travels from the Afghan/Iranian border en route to Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban. She meets many people on her way who give her help.
The film is set just before the solar eclipse of Summer 1999. Nafas is an Afghan refugee who has returned home from Canada in the hope of rescuing her sister. Nafas received a letter from her sister saying that she would commit suicide on the day of the eclipse as her life was so terrible under the Taliban. Nafas has only three days to rescue her sister as she did not get the letter until several months had passed.
This film, like many of Mahmalbaf's previous films, is very strong. There are some major problems though. Makhmalbaf appears to playing to an international market, with much of the dialogue in English. It does not fit at all and is used for purely polemic reasons. Whilst Makhmalbaf should be applauded for for being the only filmmaker (that I know of) who stood up and protested about the situation in Afghanistan, much in the way of character development suffers because of the shouting of facts and figures at the screen.
There are moments though that could only come from an Iranian film, such as prosthetic limbs being parachuted down to amputees who scramble to reach them first. Also where the UN teaches young girls returning to Afghanistan not to pick up dolls as they are usually booby-trapped with mines.
Perhaps I am being unfair on the film, but after watching Makhmalbaf's previous films such as 'Gabbeh' and 'A Moment Of Innocence' one expects much from the man. 'Kandahar' is a very good film. You should do your best to see it. In fact, you should do your best to check out a lot of Iranian Cinema. Maybe this film could be a starting place for you.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD
I'd wondered how a film I'd enjoyed so much in the cinema would transfer to DVD. I needn't have worried unduly. This is an extraordinary piece of fim making, by turns emotional, subtle, sensuous, funny and frightening.
If there are faults they lie somewhere in the structure of the fim (the end in particular feels too abrupt)but this is a minor quibble. The acting is beautifully observed and I would recommend it not just as a commentary on Afghanistan under the Taliban but also as a more generally sharply insightful masterpiece by an Iranian director.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By I. J. Scantlebury on 11 Sept. 2002
Format: DVD
Tells the tale of a woman who manages to escape from Afghanistan but is forced to return in order to find her sister in Khandahar. We begin the journey in a refugee camp in Iran and follow her through the devastated wasteland that has been created by generations of war. This is very a poignant story which illustrates the utter helplessness and hopelessness of the people she meets in the face of the Taliban and their fundamentalism.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "sicaptsfarsit@yahoo.co.uk" on 2 July 2004
Format: DVD
A beautifully photographed film, every shot thought provoking from surreal images of the desert to abstract shapes of the woman in their burgas. Complete with a hypnotic music score you are transported into a world that constantly begs the question "is this real"? The film tips our perceptions of how the world is upside down spinning us into a state of extreme anxiety, like one of those dreams where time has run out and you are lost, trying so desperately to reach somewhere the feeling of nausea and disorientation pricking the conscience in the hope that you will wake up. Makhmalbaf captures perfectly the condition of people stretched way beyond any boundaries of culture; the Taliban is the new order and although we only catch a glimpse of them their presence dominates the film with a ghostly terror. I felt both moved and totally isolated in this world and I felt the loneliness and hopelessness of a people who have lost their identity and culture. A depressing film using suicide as a metaphor that is a lesson to us all about the choices in life that we don't make. Only men could think up such nightmare ideologies fuelled on extreme fear and paranoia. This film is like you are putting on a straight jacket, asking someone to fasten it then having them place a plastic bag over your head.
On the DVD is another film called Afghan Alphabet, again a film that is very uncomfortable to observe and though there is a glimmer of hope I only saw it sparkling through relentless tears.
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By Jono on 10 April 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For a long time I had wanted to see this movie having seen clips from it in a talk about Iranian cinema. I always thought that the region 2 DVD's of this film too expensive to buy. However when I replaced an old DVD with a non-branded very cheap DVD I was able to play all regions on it so I bought this region 1 DVD for much less than I previously could.
It's very worthwhile trying to see this film, which gives a greater understanding of what ordinary people of Afghanistan have to put up with day to day
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I recommend watching it inconjunction with co-director's (Marzieh Meshkini's) film, Stray Dogs; where many of the film's visual and conceptual aspects are taken to another level. Includes some very surreal scenes of artificial limbs being dropped from a helicopter to awaiting amputees.
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