A: Do you know something about Afghanistan?
B: Is it not the country where there is always war and the people plant opium and …..
Oh, how shameful I am when people know my country with these identifications!
And if you ask about the cinema of Afghanistan, most of people name Osama the Afghan feature film that won some international awards, which is also a bad title for identification of Afghan cinema because if its similarity with Osama Bin Laden
These three words, “war, opium and Osama” reminds me of the title of an Afghan feature film that was in post-production last year by the director of Osama, Siddiq Barmak.
Possibly it was premiered or won many awards may be I didn’t hear anything about it?!
I am curious to know about what happened to this film because it is important to know what happens to the second and third films of a Golden Globe Award winning Afghan director.
Why it was not premiered yet in Kabul or why wasn’t it sent to international film festivals of the world yet?
Is this film not ready for premiere after one year from its post production?
Was it not eligible to enter these film festivals? And why didn’t it bomb in the media as Osama the first film of this director did? Is it because of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s role?
Or there could be some reasons beyond it?
During the production of this film, as it was revealed in one of papers in Kabul in August 2007, the story of this film is about crash of a helicopter of the American forces in the middle of an opium field in Afghanistan and continues with friendship and relationships of these injured soldiers with the local people after they are being helped by them and ……(But I am not sure if it is the story of the film or not)
Some people say, lately Siddiq Barmak and Mohsen Makhmalbaf the world known Iranian director have broken their friendship while in Barmak’s first feature Osama that won a Golden Globe award, Mohsen Makhmalbaf had the main advising role for Barmak and supporting role for the marketing and media coverage of the film, thus feature Osama was a success and won many awards including Golden Globe.
In early 2007 Makhmalbaf and other crew members of his film were attacked with hand grenade by unknown people in Saripol city north of Afghanistan when filming his latest film in Afghanistan, “The two legged horse” then some crew members were wounded and they stopped filming in Afghanistan.
This time the second project of Barmak is done without Makhmalbaf’s interference and support, which could have caused its postpone or may be failure but still it may be early to judge about it, so lets wait for the time that reveals the truth.
But it really teases me when I see even our cinema is so touchy and vulnerable that it can not stand and progress without hands from outside; which are sometimes the hands of friendship and sometimes the hands of malevolence and enmity .
This is the news item that I read in cinema page of Kabul Weekly in August of last year.
KABUL WEEKLY, Wednesday, August 15 2007
“Opium War is in post-production and will be soon ready for premiere”
Opium War the second feature film of famous Afghan filmmaker Seddiq Barmak is going to be ready for premiere.
As said by Barmak, the film is washed in Almata Kazakistan about a month ago and it will be edited in Tajikistan which takes a period of thirty to forty days and then the final version will be printed in Madras India.
Barmak says when the film is ready; it will be premiered first in Kabul for the Afghan people.
Then Barmak plans to introduce it to two or three international film festival including Cannes in France.
The filming began in June 24th near Karkar coal mine in the north of Afghanistan and it took fifty days.
The multi-national crew for the second feature film of world known Afghan director was composed of Russian cinematographer, Indian make up artist, Iranian sound director* and Tajik set designer in addition to Afghans.
Barmak expects to premiere his second feature by mid September this year. (Kabul Weekly)