Film Archive


Little Afghanistan

Documentary Film
28 minutes

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