Friday, October 13, 2006

Kabul Transit

Kabul Transit, directed by David Edwards, Gregory Whitmore, and Maliha Zulfacar.

Last night I had the pleasure to attend a special screening of the documentary Kabul Transit at which two of the directors, David Edwards and Greg Whitmore were in attendance.

Coming in at just under a hour and a half, this documentary, shot on location in Kabul over the period of almost 4 months, is a mostly successful and gripping work. Most importantly it offers the viewer a glimpse into a post-U.S. invasion Afghanistan that is rarely seen.

Choosing to avoid any sort of traditional narration, the film is highly fragmented in nature. It jumps from person to person showing little moments of their lives and their surroundings. These fragments are not really tied together by anything other than the fact that it all occurs in Kabul.

Still, through a careful balance of close-ups and momentary wide shots of Kabul and its surroundings, the film manages to keep the audience gripped in what is occuring on screen. It is at times funny, but I found myself most often disturbed by what I saw. There are definitely moments when the film manages to crawl under your skin and really get to you.

However, it also suffers from its structure. The film never really goes anywhere and it while it accomplishes what it set out to quite successfully (present what it is like to be in Kabul) I felt it suffered from a lack of higher purpose or motivation.

It should also be mentioned that the film was beautifully shot, making sure there is not a moment where you are not captivated by something on the screen.

Overall I liked it, and if you have the opportunity I think it is definitely important and worthwhile to jump on the chance to see it. Currently it has not obtained distribution, but I know it has been playing on the festival circuit. If you are curious to learn more you can always visit the official website:


Laura said...

Nice review. I actually agree with this one.

Vampire said...

I'm with Laura, I don't think I could put it better. On the movement bit, it might have helped if they had edited the various stories together as units (i.e. all of the moneychanger, all of the herbalist, all of the Canadians, &c.). I'm not sure about that though.