Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Moshen Makhmalbaf's feature films have long followed the Iranian tradition of blurring the line between fact and fiction. His 2001 film, Kandahar, documented one woman's heartbreaking journey through war-ravaged Afghanistan. For his latest work, Makhmalbaf has stripped away any artifce and produced a short feature documentary following the trails of Afghan refugee children who live in villages on the border between Iran and Afghanistan.
Shot under extreme conditions, during the US Governments bombardment of the area, Makhmalbaf examines the effect on the children's schooling. Using a digital camera, he has fashioned a lyrical work that captures a number of unexpected moments; he witnesses school classes that are improvised in the open air for children starved of knowledge, but denied 'official' learning because they do not have the correct paperwork; while filming a group of young girls studying in a UNICEF class, the director focuses on one particular girl who, although no longer under Taliban rule, refuses to remove her burqa for fear of reprisals. A vital work from one of Iran's pre-eminent directors.