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A tender fable about childhood innocence amid the realities of war is set against the rugged landscape of Kashmir, so long a flash point for the territorial claims of neighboring India and Pakistan. The title character, an eight year old mountain boy, often hears distant gunfire. But it is not until he goes on a quest to reclaim his beloved donkey, which has been confiscated as payment of his poor family's debts, that he is drawn toward a violence he has no capacity to understand. Written by
Denver Film Festival
There's a scene in Santosh Sivan's Tahaan in which a group of Kashmiri kids play make-believe militants. That scene, more than any other scene in this film, succeeds in demonstrating just how well the director understands the themes he's dealing with in his new film.
Tahaan is a heartwarming story of the friendship between a young Kashmiri boy and his faithful childhood companion, a donkey.
It's the story of a difficult journey the boy is willing to undertake to bring back his donkey, who has been separated from him.
But Tahaan is also the story of present-day Kashmir and cross-border terrorism, and of course, of the test that the little boy is put to in the name of unconditional friendship.
Unfolding at a leisurely pace, Sivan's film addresses so many relevant and important issues but you've got to be alert to notice.
On the surface, it's a simple fable, almost Iranian-film like in its treatment, but think hard and you'll agree it packs in so much all at once. I'm going with 8 on 10.
It's a film of great virtue
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