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Kandahar, Mohsen Makhmalbaf (2001)

Watching this fascinating movie reminded me of Samuel Johnson’s piggish bon mot: “A woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” I couldn’t call Kandahar a good movie: the plot is one-dimensional, the dialogue is stiff as a board, the camerawork is only a bit more sophisticated than a suburbanite’s camcorder recording of a kid’s birthday party. What makes the movie worth watching is the glimpse it gives of the blasted Afghan landscape and the unbelievably constrained and dangerous position in which women found themselves under the Taliban. It’s especially poignant to learn that the film’s story is actually based upon the real-life experience of its lovely star, Nelofer Pazira.

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