Film Archive

Jahr

Little Afghanistan

Documentary Film
Afghanistan
2011
28 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Stéphane Jourdain, La Huit Production
Basir Seerat
Basir Seerat
Laurence Attali
Nasim Karawan, Reza Sahel, Mirwais Wahja, Zahra Sadat, Taj Mohammad Bakhtari
Afghanistan, the never-ending story? Tired of embedded reports about the hardships of the allied professional soldiers’ mission in treacherous enemy country? If the answer is yes, have a look at Qala-e Wahid Street in Kabul – a microcosm that reflects all the misery of this tormented country. Supported by the French Atelier Varant film school, which provides funding for young filmmakers to delve deeply into the social life of their country, Afghan director Basir Seerat observes the daily hardships suffered by ordinary people – in this case the coachmen of the last horse-drawn carriages in Kabul. They are fighting on many fronts: against the growing flood of cars; against shop owners who are sick and tired of the smell of horse piss; against pedestrians, stray dogs, idle local politicians, frequently against each other, and all together against the potholes yawning everywhere. For Qala-e Wahid can only be called a street because it runs between two rows of houses. In reality it’s a rough unpaved dust track in summer and a sludgy mud path in winter. Basir Seerat takes an ambivalent look at this busy Little Afghanistan so ill-suited to the Western modernity prescribed from above: on the one hand there is a great sympathy for the people, their worries, occasionally filthy jokes and rough manners. On the other hand we feel a deep melancholy at the barbarisation of a country whose social structures have dissolved in the chaos left by the war. Afghanistan, so we hear, is standing there with its pants down and its neighbour is a thief. Its people – embedded in permanent crisis.

– Matthias Heeder
International Programme 2012
The Postman Wahid Nazir

How to deliver a letter in Kabul, where there are no street names? With an investigator’s instinct and unshakeable patience – a messenger of trust in the post-war chaos.

The Postman

Documentary Film
Afghanistan
2011
19 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Stéphane Jourdain, La Huit Production
Wahid Nazir
Wahid Nazir
Véronique Sanson
Taj Mohammad Bakhtari, Mariam Nabil Kamal, Mahbouba Ebrahimi
He’s walking the dusty streets of Kabul, where there are no street signs, let alone house numbers, for hours. You either know your way around here or rely on enquiries. The postman Walid Nazir guides us through the life of a city that we know only from the news in connection with terror and bombings. But even Afghanistan has long known an everyday life slowly emerging from the modest dwellings where, after decades of war and destruction, you never know whether they are ruins or simply humble. Normality here means improvisation. Once you’ve seen the post office with its broken stove pipe and letters scattered in all corners of the room because there are not enough pigeon holes, you wonder how any letter coming out of this chaos ever reaches its addressee. But appearances are deceptive, because they will try anything to deliver the letters properly. The camera persistently follows Nazir with his great scar as he enquires his way from street to street, driven by something like an investigator’s ambition, past the little tables were scribes offer their services. It would be tempting to trust the peace, if it weren’t for the ubiquitous army posts with their bored soldiers dozing in the sun. Compared to them, Nazir looks like a messenger of trust.
– Cornelia Klauß