I picked up this tape with enthusiasm: Afghanistan: The Lost Truth. A lot of truths about Afghanistan have been lost, covered up or otherwise mislaid recently. During an earlier episode of Bush’s alleged War on Terror (provisionally titled “We Get Bin Laden”, later re-branded), Afghanistan was on our screens all the time. Since then, the country has been ‘liberated’ from the Taliban into the hands of warlords more congenial to Bush, and things have gone quiet on the international media front. So Iranian filmmaker (and distinguished film actor) Yassamin Maleknasr’s film is welcome.


Maleknasr says, “I entered this exotic, mysterious and historic land […] to seek love and life – not aversion and death.” It’s a road movie: she drives around the country interviewing people. She gets some wonderful testimonies; my personal favourite is Siddiq Barmak (director of the fabulous Afghan feature film Osama). He describes the Taliban making a bonfire of 2500 films – in the same stadium where they carried out executions. A resilient man, Barmak is reduced almost to tears at the memory of seeing Tarkovsky’s Solaris going up in flames. Maleknasr asks Barmak to name his favourite film actor and the unexpected reply is Marlon Brando.

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