6.8/10
6,211
56 user 102 critic

The Sun Behind the Moon (2001)

Safar e Ghandehar (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, War | 1 February 2002 (USA)
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.

Director:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf

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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

drug | limp | painkiller | saber | letter | See All (153) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Makhmalbaf Film House

Country:

Iran | France

Language:

Persian | English | Pushto | Polish

Release Date:

1 February 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kandahar See more »

Filming Locations:

Afghanistan Border, Iran

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,866, 16 December 2001

Gross USA:

$1,418,314

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,914,751
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The background score repeatedly used is in Sanskrit. It is a Hindu devotional hymn called "Suprabhata". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Escape from Taliban (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Sri Satya Sai Suprbhatham
By Mohammad Reza Darvishi
See more »

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User Reviews

As a film it is average but as an insight into life in the Taleban's Afghanistan it is worth seeing
23 August 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Nafas is an Afghan refugee in Canada, separated from what remains of her family. When she receives a letter from her sister in Kandahar saying that she intends to kill herself at the next eclipse, Nafas sets out to enter Afghanistan and find her sister in order to rescue her. Joining a family traveling across the desert she quickly remembers why she fled the country in the first place as her status as a woman is as dangerous as the unseen landmines as she tries to find her sister before time runs out.

I knew little about this film prior to watching it apart from that it was popular mostly due to its unfortunate relevance. Watching it from the start to the end I must admit that, as a film or a story it was not as good as some viewers have said. The narrative is simplistic and seems to alter the passing of time to suit itself, while major holes in plotting are rather annoying if that is what you are focusing on. The film also struggles in terms of characters, with Nafas being rather bland and hard to care for, her sister being unseen and not in any more danger than those we do see (ie minimising our passion for the quest) and even the noble Talib Sahid came across as rather an unlikely character to stumble upon.

However, I still consider this to be a film worth seeing even after all that. Why? Well, simply because of the view it gives us of Afghanistan – a view that not even the British media did a good job of giving us when the conflict started. I watched this thinking 'this is the country we have been bombing for several years now?' and, while I knew it was hardly the most technologically advanced country, it doesn't really hit home until you see it and, with US news coverage of this side of the country being limited to hyped-up soldiers then this film should be seen to help balance it all out. So Nafas' journey is little more than an excuse to show many aspects of the country within a sort of story and, as that, it is worth seeing – it is hard not to feel for the people as you see the treatment of women, the poor facilities, the horrors of landmines and so on.

True to the weakness of the plot, the ending just sort of 'happens' and those who had been holding to the hope of the vague narrative becoming stronger will also be let down. This is not a film to come to for a story or a strong plot because in these areas it is pretty weak and not very good as a film as you'd expect one to be. However it provides insight into a country that we have all heard a lot about over the past few years and, for that and that alone, it is valuable and worth seeing if you can get the chance.


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