The Land Of The Enlightened

In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan.

Please note that this film is in Persian and English, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

Shot over five years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan de Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow de Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs to control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds – making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them.

De Pue’s wonderfully crafted film confronts the visceral beauty and roughness of survival, serving as a testament to the spirited innovation of childhood and the extreme resilience of a people and country. Especially now, in the wake of the full retreat of the American army in Afghanistan, THE LAND OF THE ENLIGHTENED paints a painful picture of a country troubled by inside as well as outside parties. Additionally, this year we commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the reason why America went to Afghanistan in the first place. y.

Pieter-Jan de Pue, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Afghanistan, 2016, 87 min. Persian & English spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Gholam Nasir, Khyrgyz Baj, Noor, Zulfu, Koko Ewas.

Having worked as a photographer in Afghanistan for organizations like the International Red Cross, Belgian first-time helmer Pieter-Jan De Pue offers a cinematic take on his observations in THE LAND OF THE ENLIGHTENED. Made over the timespan of seven years, this docu-fiction hybrid primarily focuses on a gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe who occupy a former Soviet outpost, collecting opium and other valuables from passersby in the arid mountains of Pamir. But while the children, playing versions of themselves, offer an intriguing vantage point on the power vacuum in the war-torn country, the movie as a whole is frustratingly coy and diffuse. The use of enactments mutes the power of the film’s ostensible authenticity, and much of what we see cries out for more context than the director’s (sometimes faux) non-involvement style provides. For his work Pieter-Jan De Pue won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016.

The Land Of The Enlightened 21375 600 0 90 1937 1521734797