FC @ Cannes 2019 – Despite clichés, the earnestness of the Taliban-era ‘Swallows of Kabul’ is affecting

Posted on May 20, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/cannes-film-festival-2019-the-swallows-of-kabul-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/

When we see the world through the mesh screen on the burqa, it’s like looking out through prison bars. And we realise how heavy the garment is.

The Swallows of Kabul is an animated feature about life under the Taliban (based on a book by Yasmina Khadra), and the opening scenes have the suffocating quality of metaphoritis. You’ll know what I mean when you see the “poetic” visual of a bird being shot to the ground, with the shooters in a Jeep hooting and hollering, pumping the air with their machine guns. Here’s another scene meant to make you ache. We see a movie theatre, all lit up and colourful, and three people step out in Western clothes — DISSOLVE TO the same theatre, now looking bombed out, with the same three people now attired in traditional, head-to-toe attire. For a while everything is too literal, a series of “see what happened” placards. A middle-aged man whose wife is ailing is advised to “repudiate her”, and “find a nice, healthy virgin and have kids”. We cannot even imagine what life must have been like under the Taliban, but narrative drama needs to be shaped and sculpted in order to differentiate it from an eye-opening report in a daily. The “poetry” needs form.

Continued at the link above.

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