Released on DVD/VOD earlier this week: SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN 1959-2012

Director Jim Burroughs and Co-Director Suzanne Bauman premiered their comprehensive survey of a half century of Afghanistan’s tumultuous history at Tribeca in 2006. It went on to screen at IDFA and DOCNZ. Additional material has been added since then to bring the film up to date.

Burroughs and Bauman’s film is at once both a crash course in the history of a country that has been significantly tied to the US since the Cold War and a self-reflexive examination of wartime documentary journalism. Incorporating the work of independent journalists who were killed covering the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, and drawing from the experiences of others who survived, the doc serves as a testament to those who have sought to illuminate the truth. While normally I might take issue with the film’s over-reliance on narration, beyond proving largely necessary to keep track of so much information, this instills a directorial presence – one that reminds the viewer of the dangerous work that the filmmakers, and those who came before them, have undertaken. Even more compelling is the participation of Wakil Akbarzai of the National Islamic Front, and Fatima Gailani, of the Afghan Red Crescent, filmed over two decades, as they reflect on the way their nation has been hijacked to serve different agendas, and how its people have suffered as a result.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

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