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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

காந்தஹார்- Kandahar Film (ஈரானிய திரைப்படம்) by Iranian director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf


2001ஆம் ஆண்டில் திரைக்கு வந்த படம். பல மிகச் சிறந்த திரைப்படங்களை இயக்கி, உலக அளவில் புகழ் பெற்ற இயக்குனராக ஒளி வீசிக் கொண்டிருக்கும் ஈரானிய திரைப்பட இயக்குனர் Mohsen Makhmalmaf இயக்கிய ஒரு மாறுபட்ட கதைக் கருவைக் கொண்ட இப்படம், வித்தியாசமான படங்களைப் பார்ப்போர்கள் மத்தியில் பெரிய அளவில் கொண்டாடப்பட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது.
பொழுது போக்கு அம்சங்களைக் கொண்ட படங்களை உருவாக்கி விட்டு, ஏதோ பெரிதாக சாதித்து விட்டோம் என்று மார்பைத் தட்டிக் கொண்டு ஆர்ப்பரிப்போருக்கு மத்தியில், யாரும் எடுப்பதற்காக அஞ்சக் கூடிய ஒரு பேசப்படும் கதைக் கருவைக் கையாண்டு, அதை ஒரு நேர்த்தியான திரைப்படமாக எடுத்திருக்கும் Mohsen Makhmalmafன் அசாத்திய துணிச்சலை நாம் பாராட்டியே ஆக வேண்டும்.


''Kandahar'' is bound to attract potential audiences, if only because it may be the only film whose name gets more mentions than Harry Potter on CNN. Though the Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's picture was filmed long before today's breaking news from Afghanistan, it is worthy of some attention because it happens to portray the culture -- specifically the treatment of women in that Taliban stronghold -- in forceful and dramatic terms.
An Afghan journalist, Nafas (Nelofer Pazira), who left Afghanistan and is now based in Canada, goes back home to find her troubled sister. Mr. Makhmalbaf isn't much of a storyteller, and Ms. Pazira is more than his equal in her lack of acting ability. She looks slightly distracted when staring into the camera; she seems to be waiting for instructions to change expression to come over an ear piece, and the instructions never quite get there. Yet she has the command of someone who is accustomed to sitting before the camera and holds positions as if she were born to be there, which makes her the film's star by sheer power of concentration. (In real life Ms. Pazira, who grew up in Kabul, is a Canadian television journalist.) To say that she doesn't lend a great deal of emotional credibility to ''Kandahar,'' which opens today at the Lincoln Plaza, is an understatement.
As Nafas slips into Afghanistan to begin her search, she runs into a number of situations that almost make the movie seem to be taking place on a back lot, a dreamy Never-was Land where each scene is a setup for another surprise. (The movie was filmed in Iran.) But the bleached, sun-beaten landscapes are undeniably real, as are the hardships that the women suffer as they battle to survive the inhospitable land and the rigidity of the Taliban. Children play and pray while machine guns, worn and obviously used, sit near their feet. Desperation has a ghostly presence here: it's never spoken, but we can feel it nonetheless, and it's a part of the everyday life in the encampments where these women live.
Nafas meets a doctor who treats women in a most unusual fashion, at least to Westerners, and who isn't what he seems. He talks to his female patients while they're under a sheet -- he views them through a hole -- and the low-key assurance in his voice is a marvelous contradiction to the strangeness of the situation. By this point Ms. Pazira's vacant stare has become a part of the texture of ''Kandahar'': you almost can't imagine anybody else -- certainly not someone who might actually react to these unusual proceedings -- as the lead.
On this level the director displays talent by providing notes of absurdity and unforgettable visuals. Somehow it's as if he is cognizant that his star, and most of the rest of the cast, for that matter, simply can't carry a scene. His compensatory touches have a jaw-dropping power: for example a shot of prosthetic limbs parachuting onto the bleak desert landscape as scores of handicapped men on crutches await the legs as they fall from the sky. When he pulls off things like this, ''Kandahar'' feels like a Magritte painting rendered in sand tones, and your eyes are drawn to the screen.
There aren't enough of these moments, though, and Mr. Makhmalbaf lessens their power by repeating them. He knows he is dealing with a hot, potent subject, and he has an eye for astonishing imagery, which he integrates into ''Kandahar'' in such a way that the film occasionally succeeds on its own made-under-a-full-moon terms: it's a wide-screen daydream. But the way the film works defeats any melodramatic urgency in this tale of enduring punishment. The awful moments he creates have the time-delay impact of a nightmare: the potency of the horrors hit and linger after the freakishness of an image or a moment fades away and the creeping realization of exactly what you've just witnessed finally hits you. Sometimes that impact comes like a blow to the back of the head.
KANDAHAR

Written, edited and directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf; in Farsi and English, with English subtitles; director of photography, Ebraham Ghafouri; music by Mohamad Reza Darvishi; produced by Makhmalbaf Film House and Bac Films; released by Avatar Films. At the Lincoln Plaza, Broadway at 62nd Street. Running time: 85 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Nelofer Pazira (Nafas), Hassan Tantai (Tabib Sahid) and Sadou Teymouri (Khak).




The film Kandahar serves as a timely memorial to the brutality of the Taleban regime, and its release comes as the world's attention is focused on the town after which it is named.



One day the world will see your problems and come to your aid
The acclaimed Iranian director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, described Afghanistan as "a country without images". Under the Taleban there has been no cinema, no television, photography was banned, painting was considered "impure", and books were burnt.


Bread sellers in Afghanistan
Makhmalbaf is very well known in his native Iran
Yet, in one of his most polemical films to date, Makhmalbaf secretly entered the country and made one of the very few films ever to have been set inside Afghanistan. Watching a film about a country in which films are banned lets the viewer share the thrill of defying the censor.
But it is given added edge by the knowledge that the Taleban regime is collapsing in real life as the movie unfolds.
At the beginning of the film one of the characters tells a crowd of Afghan refugees that "one day the world will see your problems and come to your aid".
But when the film was made, few people would have been able to find Kandahar on a map. The world had turned its back on Afghanistan.
Beneath the veil
The film tells the story of an Afghan-Canadian journalist, Nafas, who returns to Kandahar to rescue her sister who is so depressed that she has threatened to kill herself before the last solar eclipse of the 20th century.
As she enters Afghanistan, Nafas is told she must wear a burqa - the all-encompassing veil - to protect the honour of her male escort.


Kandahar
Women were also made to wear the veil before the Taleban
It becomes a symbol of the stifling oppression of women - the most invisible group of people in this "country without images" - and at the same time their defiance of this oppression.
Her veil is not one of the now familiar blue nylon burqas, but a woven muted green and pink veil. In one scene she joins a large group of women going to a wedding party, all wearing brightly-coloured burqas.
The women may be faceless, but the veils themselves are strangely beautiful.
By ordering women to be fully covered, the religious militia also never quite know what is underneath the veil.
But the audience is permitted to look inside: girls secretly apply lipstick and paint their nails; Nafas carries a tape-recorder; and a man uses the subterfuge to escape arrest.
Surreal
The journey to Kandahar must be completed within three days if Nafas is to rescue her sister, which gives the film an urgency that highlights the unbearable timelessness of Afghanistan - a country where time seems to have stopped.


This surrealism is not an aesthetic device, but a straight portrayal of a people pushed to the limits of survival.
Nafas falls sick along the way, and has to visit a doctor. Because men are not allowed to look at women who are not related to them, she must sit on the other side of a cloth partition from the doctor, who speaks to her through her child escort. "Ask her what she has eaten," says the doctor. "What have you eaten?" asks the boy. "Tell her to put her mouth to the hole," says the doctor. "Put your mouth to the hole," repeats the boy.
The laboured repetition dramatises the absurdity of daily life in Afghanistan in a way in which straight reporting can rarely do.
As the journey continues we are taken on a tour of the surreal land which decades of war and the Taleban regime have wrought out of Afghanistan.
This surrealism is not an aesthetic device, but a straight portrayal of a people pushed to the limits of survival.
In one of the most memorable scenes, a group of one-legged landmine victims race on crutches to claim pairs of false legs that Red Cross helicopters have dropped from the sky. It could be from a Fellini film, yet it is quite likely to be real.
Although a feature film, Kandahar is half documentary, and many of the characters are not actors but refugees that the crew met along the way.