Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: Safar E Ghandahar
Iran/France, 2001. Bac Films, Makhmalbaf Productions, StudioCanal. Screenplay by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Cinematography by Ebrahim Ghafori. Produced by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Music by Mohammad Reza Darvishi. Production Design by Akbar Meshkini. Film Editing by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. National Board of Review Awards 2001. Toronto International Film Festival 2001.
Nelofer Pazira was an Afghani-born woman living in Canada as a journalism student when her sister wrote her from their native land and stated that because of the harsh conditions of being a woman under the Taliban regime, she was going to commit suicide at the next solar eclipse. Pazira’s journey to reach her sister in time was so difficult that she enlisted the help of filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Gabbeh) in order that he might document her goal on film and help raise international attention to the crisis that she was facing. The result was this exquisitely beautiful film, starring Pazira as a fictional version of herself travelling across the stunning deserts of Afghanistan in order to find her beloved relative and stop her from killing herself. Along the way of her journey we are given probing glimpses into the condition of life that her fellow nationals are put through, particularly women, who under the Taliban have been barred from education and the workplace and are forced to cover themselves completely from head to toe under heavy burgas. Powerful, moving, fascinating and extremely enjoyable in the most informative way, this is one film that everyone should see.