Life imitating art, or vice-versa? Whatever your opinion, Mohsen Makhmalbaf's hugely impressive drama Kandahar is a timely release when you consider current world events. Although the drama makes no secret of its targets - the Taliban regime, which ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist until recent weeks - Kandahar relies on a fictionalised central narrative thread. Pazira plays an exiled Afghan journalist Nafas, who goes home in a bid to stop her sister from committing suicide. Yet her exile means that Nafas must return to the city of the title in secret and she relies on the aid of a number of strangers to complete her task. An emotional, visually arresting piece of work, Kandahar is both a difficult and enlightening film. To his credit, Makhmalbaf doesn't shy away from showing scenes of dehumanizing cruelty, and his whip shot style of delivery - beautifully shot in a quasi documentary-style - ensures that the film has intense and powerful air. It may be a little too difficult for mainstream consumption but Kandahar is involving stuff.
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