72' 2019 USA, Afghanistan, Qatar director: Mariam Ghani cinematography: Adam Hogan editing: Ian Olds production: Indexical Films, Ajna Films
In the last half-century, Afghan cinema has traveled a road filled with as many twists and turns as the country itself, which, during that time, has had to deal with invasions by the two largest military powers in the world, an extreme form of religious fanaticism and a civil war. Mariam Ghani’s fascinating documentary introduces us to five unfinished film projects from 1978 through 1992, i.e., from the period of communist dictatorship. Interviews with those involved in making the films—directors, producers, and actors—shed light on the tragicomedy behind the scenes of big Afghan productions, but the most interesting part are undoubtedly the extensive fragments from the movies themselves. From war epics in praise of a series of leaders imposed by Moscow, through socialist realist productions, to spy thrillers in which mustachioed agents make superhuman efforts to save their homeland from the temptations of global imperialism.