Afghan cinema of the XXI century

Afghan cinema again and we will never stop presenting it to the extent that it is always current. The dramas that we can know through the stories of the films that will be screened are part of the daily life of this country of which we still have so much to know. The cycle is made up of eight titles made between 2018 and 2021, and this time we want to pay tribute to their authors and their protagonists, mostly women in one case and in the other. Something that may seem surprising because it is a country in which women have been and are still the first victims of abuse in a society in which gender violence is common and barely questioned. The testimonies the cinema transmits to us are now more valuable than ever because currently we hardly receive news from this country regarding a cinema made by Afghans in Afghanistan. However, we do know about male and female filmmakers who are in Europe and the U.S. and who are still doing their jobs. A few days ago, Sahra Mani was presenting her film at Cineteca Madrid with Casa Asia, and she said that she needed her country, that she needed Afghanistan and the Afghans to be able to continue making films. We also need Afghanistan and the Afghans. That is why we do this sample now. 


Saturday, April 9th, 2022, at 8 p.m.  
A Thousand Girls Like Me | Dir: Sahra Mani | 2018 | 76’ | VOSE  

Sexual violence against women became a punishable offense in Afghanistan in 2009. But in practice, women fear the possible consequences of bringing charges. Regrettably, Khatera’s story is a prime example of this phenomenon: she and her mother receive various threats, including from her own uncles, and they frequently have to move. Khatera’s father abused her throughout her childhood—he got her pregnant several times, so she had a number of abortions and eventually gave birth to a daughter. Acting on the advice of a mullah, she told her story on a TV program and brought charges against her father. The film has been presented at the Göteborg Film Festival 2019, Seattle International Film Festival 2019, Sheffield International Documentary Festival 2018 and Fribourg International Film Festival 2019.  

Sahra Mani is an Afghan filmmaker and founder of Afghanistan Doc Film House, a production company based in Kabul, and co-founder of the London-based production company Anahat Vision and Films. In 2013, she helped organize the Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival. Sahra’s films have played at festivals around the world and won numerous awards. 

Saturday, April 16th, 2022, at 8 p.m.  
My Childhood, My Country | Dir: Phil Grabsky, Shoaib Sharifi | 2021 | 90’ | VOSE  

My Childhood, My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan follows the journey of Mir Hussain, who grew up in a war-torn land. In the beginning, he is an eight-year-old boy playing among the ruins of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in rural Afghanistan. In 2002, U.S. troops land in Afghanistan, beginning a seemingly endless war in one of the world’s poorest countries. This intimate documentary traces the two decades of a conflict that has never ended. Beginning on September 11, 2001, My Childhood, My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan is a unique review of a personal life and the life of a nation, where 40 countries have invested more than a trillion dollars and more than 150,000 lives have been lost. Was it worth the effort to be now back at the beginning? 

Award-winning filmmakers Phil Grabsky and Shoaib Sharifi present a real-life epic of childhood and coming-of-age, shot over twenty years in one of the most threatened corners of the world. My Childhood, My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan is reminiscent of another great title, Boyhood, by director Richard Linklater, shot over the course of twelve years with the same cast. 

Saturday, April 23rd, 2022, at 8 p.m. 
The Forbidden Strings | Dir: Hasan Noori | 2019 | 72’ | VOSE  

Akbar, Soori, Mohammed, and Hakim are the only young Afghan immigrants in Iran who have formed a rock band. All they ask for is the chance to play live. The Forbidden Strings shows the musical quartet struggling to make themselves be heard. As the title suggests, they face quite a few challenges. The four band members are the children of Afghan parents who fled to Iran and are unaware of the danger that returning to their homeland may pose for them. Their families are worried about them. The gang promises to stay out of trouble when they get to Kabul, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize that this is impossible. 

Hasan Noori was born in Iran in 1985 to Afghan refugee parents. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in film from Tehran University. For years he has worked for NGOs fighting against child labor, mainly in the Afghan refugee community. The Forbidden String is the director’s first feature film. 

Saturday, April 30th, 2022, at 8 p.m. 
Facing the Dragon | Dir: Sedika Mojadidi | 2019 | 80’ | VOSE  

In this documentary, the director followed the lives of two extraordinary Afghan women for four years: Nilofar, a member of parliament, and Shakila, a television journalist. The withdrawal of American forces and international aid to Afghanistan leaves democracy and women’s recent victories hanging by a thread, so Nilofar and Shakila must choose between motherhood and their professional ambitions in the face of growing threats to them and their families.  

Sedika Mojadidi is an independent film director, producer and screenwriter. She was born in Afghanistan but grew up in Florida. In 2006 she directed her first documentary Motherland Afghanistan, which follows her father’s struggle to make a difference in maternal mortality in the country. Over the past decade Sedika has produced and directed several projects for television networks such as Discovery Channel and Humans Rights Watch, A&E, TLC, New York Times Television, ABC News and The Guardian Multimedia. She has done several shoots in Afghanistan since 2003. She currently teaches Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art and Design. 

Saturday, May 7th, 2022, at 8 p.m.  
The Dogs Didn’t Sleep Last Night | Dir. Ramin Rasouli | 2020 | 91’ | VOSE  

In a remote area in Afghanistan, stories of the lives of a young shepherdess, a bird hunter boy, and a mourning teacher are intertwined after their school is burnt down. The young shepherdess takes the risk of saving a US soldier after her helicopter crashed; the bird hunter boy takes shelter in a tank with the birds, the pin-ups and the illegal music that he loves; and the mourning teacher seeks vengeance on the one who has widowed her. 

Born in 1978 in Herat, Afghanistan, Ramin Rasouli started his film career in Iran and now resides in the Netherlands. His interest in cinema led him to start writing at the age of 14, and at the age of 16 he made his first 8mm film. He has made 10 short films and two feature films, with Lina as his first debut that would enter in the festival circuit in 2017. The Dogs Didn’t Sleep Last Night is his second production.  

Saturday, May 14th, 2022, at 8 p.m. 
Drowning in the Holy Water | Dir: Navid Mahmoudi | 2020 | 85’ | VOSE  

Rona y Hamed son dos jóvenes afganos enamorados, cuya relación desemboca en un conflicto familiar y social. Rompiendo con la tradición y las costumbres de su país, deciden abandonarlo en busca de una vida mejor. No obstante, no será tan fácil emigrar a Europa como ellos pensaban y cumplir sus sueños ante la oposición que encuentran en su camino.  

Navid Mahmoudi (Parvan, 1980) se mudó a Irán procedente de Afganistán con su familia cuando tenía seis años. Inició su carrera profesional como ayudante de dirección, y muy pronto dirigió sus propios cortometrajes. Ha producido más de diez películas para televisión. En 2014 realizó su primer largometraje A Few Cubic Meters of Love, que recibió una calurosa acogida tanto por parte de la crítica internacional como por parte del público. En 2016, dirigió su primer largometraje Parting, antes de dirigir Rona, Azim’s Mother en 2018. El Asian Film Festival Barcelona ha proyectado estos títulos en anteriores ediciones, además de Seven and a Half. Sus películas han sido seleccionadas para representar a Afganistán en los Oscar. 

Saturday, May 20th, 2022, at 8 p.m. 
Kabul, City in the Wind | Dir: Aboozar Amini | 2018 | 88’ | VOSE  

Afshin is 12 years old and lives with his family in the Chil Dokham Mountains. It is a place where domestic violence lives alongside bombs, sirens and dead bodies forming part of her childhood. His father emigrates to another country and from that moment on he is no longer a child but an adult. He reappears as a bus driver, with a split personality. On the one hand, he is an affable father, and on the other, a reckless driver. Both stories are intermingled, showing the portrait of the soul of a dying city. 

Aboozar Amini (1985) left Afghanistan and emigrated to the Netherlands when he was very young. In Amsterdam he studied at the Ritveld Art Academy, yet his cultural background plays a central role in his work. Since he started making films, interculturality has been at the core of all his stories. In order to complete his master’s degree in direction and film language aesthetics, he lived in London temporarily, but now lives and works between Amsterdam and Kabul. 

Saturday, May 28th, 2022, at 8 p.m.              
Seven and a Half | Dir: Navid Mahmoudi | 2019 | 75’ | VOSE

Best Film at the 8th International Persian Film Festival (Sydney, 2019) It is the story of seven sisters: Shabaneh, Negar, Nahid, Fereshteh, Niloufar, Rahil and Shekar. Although each one of them lives her own story, their lives are crossed by the impossibility of finding love and building their own destiny, because forced marriage, abuse, and gender violence prevent them from doing so. 

Navid Mahmoudi was born in Afghanistan, but when he was six years old his family moved to Iran. From a very young age, he felt a strong attraction to the seventh art. He began his career as an assistant director, and in 2014 produced his first film A Few Cubic Meters of Love, which was very well received by both: audiences and international critics. In 2016 he directed his first feature film Parting, and in 2018 Rona Azim’s Mother. All three films have been nominated for Oscars. In Seven and a Half, Mahmoudi recovers an episode from his native Afghanistan, in which on the wedding night a bride was killed by the groom when he discovered that she was in fact not a virgin. As a result of this incident, Mahmoudi has always feared weddings because they could end up in mourning. 

  • 09/04/2022

  • From April 9th to May 28th, 2022, at 8 p.m.

  • Cinemes Girona: C/ Girona, 175, 08025 Barcelona

  • Entrance fee: 4,5 €

    Price for subscribers and members of Cinemas Girona: 3 €

  • Casa Asia in collaboration with Cinemes Girona