A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir.
In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over seven years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow De Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs to control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds—making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them. De Pue’s transportative and wonderfully crafted film confronts the visceral beauty and roughness of survival, serving as a testament to the spirited innovation of childhood and the extreme resilience of a people and country.
World Premiere: January 24, Sundance Film Festival
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Duration: 1h27min (24fps)
Original Language: English, Persian
Negative Format: Super 16
Screening Format: Super 16
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
A Savage Film Production in Co-Production with Fastnet Films, Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, Submarine, Zdf/Arte, Canvas, Ikon in Association with Eyeworks, Telenet Prime, Sciapode with the support of The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (Vaf), The Belgian Tax Shelter for Film Financing, The Netherlands Film Fund, Le Centre du Cinéma et de L’audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles et De Voo, Bord Scannán na Héireann—The Irish Film Board, Media Programme of the EU, Belgian Development Cooperation—DGD, Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in collaboration with Flanders Image, Afghan Film & Afghan Ministry of Culture and Information.