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Kandahar (2001)

Safar e Ghandehar (original title)
After an Afghanistan-born woman who lives in Canada receives a letter from her suicidal sister, she takes a perilous journey through Afghanistan to try to find her.


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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Ike Ogut ...
Hassan Tantai ...
Tabib Sahid
Sadou Teymouri ...
Hoyatala Hakimi ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Monica Hankievich
Noam Morgensztern ...
Three children (voice)
Zahra Shafahi
Safdar Shodjai
Mollazaher Teymouri


Nafas is a reporter who was born in Afghanistan, but fled with her family to Canada when she was a child. However, her sister wasn't so lucky; she lost her legs to a land mine while young, and when Nafas and her family left the country, her sister was accidentally left behind. Nafas receives a letter from her sister announcing that she's decided to commit suicide during the final eclipse before the dawn of the 21st century; desperate to spare her sister's life, Nafas makes haste to Afghanistan, where she joins a caravan of refugees who, for a variety of reasons, are returning to the war-torn nation. As Nafas searches for her sister, she soon gets a clear and disturbing portrait of the toll the Taliban regime has taken upon its people. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | War


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Release Date:

1 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kandahar  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,122 (USA) (14 December 2001)


$21,122 (USA) (14 December 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Sri Satya Sai Suprbhatham
By Mohammad Reza Darvishi
See more »

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User Reviews

A long strange journey into the past in the present.
29 November 2004 | by (London) – See all my reviews

This is an extremely beautiful film which inhabits a visual and emotional territory somewhere between Werner Herzog and Pasolini.

As others have stated, the actors are non-professionals and the plot is not the stuff of Hollywood melodrama. However the images and sounds are haunting and profound. Mahkmalbaf is truly a poet of the cinema.

The film does not attempt to make a political analysis of the situation of Afghanistan in 2001, but operates on a more humanistic and emotional level, showing the human consequences, the poverty both material and spiritual of life under the Taliban and the indifference of the outside world.

The "doctor" character, far from being implausible, is played by a real person with a very similar history. He is also a stand-in within the film for Makhmalbaf himself, who started as an Islamic fundamentalist revolutionary but has moved towards a more open-minded humanism.

The film itself describes a circle, the first scene is also the last, the sun shining through a burqa onto a woman's face. Between are unforgettable images, and a transit across a surreal and nightmarish landscape. Surrender yourself and you will really feel you have been on a journey.

The UK DVD also includes "The Afghan Alphabet" a similarly fictionalised documentary on the struggle to bring education to the three million or so Afghan refugees in Iran.

19 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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