A young Afghan girl's determination to attend a nearby school becomes an epic quest in this stunningly shot, politically charged film by a 19-year-old Iranian woman.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
A young Afghan girl’s determination to attend a nearby school becomes an epic quest in this politically charged film by the youngest of Iran’s formidable filmmaking clan, the Makhmalbaf family. Nineteen-year-old Hana’s first dramatic feature is a fresh example of Iranian cinema’s potent use of childhood tales to provide allegories of society at large, and the film's response to Islamic fundamentalism is blunt and forceful. Living in the cliffs that once housed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the bright, button-faced Baktay firmly intends to emulate the boy next door by going to school. Implacable in her innocence, blissfully ignorant of the real-world menace that underlies the insults and threats of boys playing ’Taliban’, she patiently tackles every new test thrown in her path. Miraculously well-acted by its predominantly infant cast, this is a deeply touching picture of childhood aspiration in a world despoiled by adults. — BG