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
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.