Watching Kandahar after the 9-11 event tends to distort the film and has lead to a lot of disapointment and misunderstanding from some of the western audience (myself included, first time around). The expectation seems to have been that it would be some kind of stark politically motivated condemnation that would have fitted in nicely with the war-rhetoric of late 2001 - early 2002. The film is not that simplistic. Neither is it quite the documentary people may have expected either. Now that I've seen a couple more of Makhmalbafs films I can finally tune into this movie and get rid of the baggage, and the passing of time since the bombing of Afghanistan helps too. This film is more concerned with humanity than politics, and is not out to condemn anyone (which some westerners may have been expecting in abundance). I don't mean that the Taliban are made out as good guys, anything but. The film just isn't propaganda, that's all. And Makhbalmaf's style is closer to Tarkovsky than documentary. Infact the movie could hardly even be called 'semi-documentary,' just because of the subject matter.
However, some of the criticisms of the film are valid : a few technical problems with the sound in the opening scene (which really does throw the audience from the begining, and it takes a while to get back into the movie) and the lead actress is extremly wooden, at least when acting in english (Maybe there's an Arabic & Farsi version that's more convincing...).
The golden rule with this movie is don't expect from it something which it is not going to deliver, and you'll be able to appreciate it.
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