In 1939, the author Annemarie Schwarzenbach and the ethnologist Ella Maillart travel together by car to Kabul, but each is in pursuit of her own project. Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who was ... See full summary »
In 1939, the author Annemarie Schwarzenbach and the ethnologist Ella Maillart travel together by car to Kabul, but each is in pursuit of her own project. Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who was among Erika and Klaus Mann's circle of friends in the 30s, is searching for a place of refuge in the Near East to discover her own self. Ella Maillart justifies her restlessness, her need for movement and travel, with a scientific pretext: she would like to explore the mysterious Kafiristan Valley and make a name for herself with publications on the archaic life of the nomads living there. Both women are on the run, but political developments and their own biographies catch up with them again and again. Their mutual journey through the outside world, which runs from Geneva via the Balkans and Turkey to Persia, is compounded by the inner world of emotions with a tender love story. Written by
I thought this film was terrific given the information the writers, directors, and actors had to work with. After seeing the film and feeling disappointed in its lack of content, I had to research Annemarie Schwarzenbach. There isn't much first-hand biographical information. Most of what Annemarie Schwarzenbach wrote about her life in her journals was destroyed by her mother for its "vulgar" content. One can only infer what happened on that trip between these women. The movie, once I found this information, is like reading a broken journal. Pieces are obviously missing. Scenes cut just before something important may happen. Long parts of the trip are edited. I think because of this, Journey to Kafiristan is one of my top five favorite movies of all time.
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