The Orphanage 2019

Parwareshgah

Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat World

A touch of Bollywood fantasy enlivens this moving story of a savvy Afghan teen living in a Soviet-run orphanage in the late 1980s while a destructive war rages through the country.

Jul 19

Event Cinemas Queen Street

Jul 22

Event Cinemas Queen Street

Jul 25

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Afghanistan / Denmark / France / Germany / Luxembourg / Qatar In Dari, Hindi and Russian with English subtitles
90 minutes DCP
M
violence, sexual references & offensive language

Director

Producer

Katja Adomeit

Photography

Virginie Surdej

Editor

Alexandra Strauss

With

Qodratollah Qadiri (Qodrat)
,
Sediqa Rasuli
,
Masihullah Feraji
,
Hasibullah Rasooli
,
Ahmad Fayaz Omani
,
Anwar Hashimi

Festivals

Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) 2019

Elsewhere

Set on the eve of Soviet rule in her homeland, Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat’s poignant, realist portrait of a teen’s hardscrabble life in a state orphanage is wonderfully contrasted with her protagonist’s outlandish fantasies. Sadat lets these daydreams play out as wildly entertaining, over-the-top Bollywood sequences complete with gushy ballads and hilariously ropey action.

We first meet 15-year-old Quodrat (Qodratollah Qadiri) on the streets of Kabul scamming film fans by reselling used cinema tickets. Before long he is collared by the police and brought to a Soviet-run orphanage overseen by a kind-hearted administrator (Anwar Hashimi), but rife with bullying and petty theft.

Qodrat quickly befriends a motley crew including chess whizz Masihullah (Masihullah Feraji), Masihullah’s nephew Fayaz (Ahmad Fayaz Omani), who is two years older than his uncle, and the war-obsessed Hasib (Hasibullah Rasooli). Sadat follows the boys through a picaresque series of adventures, including power struggles with the orphanage’s resident bullies, the discovery of an abandoned Soviet tank and a field trip to Moscow. Meanwhile, war is raging beyond the walls of the orphanage and change is rapidly approaching. — MM

“A grainy look makes the film feel like it was actually made in the 80s, adding to its historical authenticity. When, at the end, the orphanage risks tumbling along with the Soviet regime, you’re left with the harrowing feeling that for Quodrat and his friends, it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire.” — Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter