14/05/2009 13:34

Kabuli Kid

France/Afghanistan, 2008, 97 min
Director: Barmak Akram
Cast: Hadji Gul, Valery Shatz, Amélie Glenn, Mohammad Chafi Sahel, Helena Alam, Messi Gul
Awards: Grand Prix nomination for Best Film at Flanders International Film Festival, 2008.
Selection: EXIT POINT

A very dynamic début film by Barmak Akram, called Kabuli Kid, presents an exceptional portrait of a man going through different phases of emotional excitement and maturity in a city which is trying to restore life after atrocities committed during twenty-five years of war.

Twenty-five years of war left more than fifty thousand children living on the streets under terrible conditions. As the director himself says, the main topic of his film are the children from the streets of modern-day Kabul. The story about an abandoned child turned out to be a perfect frame for all images from a city in an after-war awakening, abounding with details from a difficult reality, and each of them can be basis for a new story, a new scenario.

At the very beginning, we meet a taxi driver Khaled who is driving a mysterious woman with a baby through vivid streets of Kabul. When they arrive at the destination the woman, whose face is covered with burqa, leaves the car and a new passenger comes in. They soon discover that there is a baby left behind at the back seat of the car. Khaled tries to find the mother where he left her, but it is an unsuccessful attempt. The woman vanishes, and he is left holding a six-month-old baby. Who is the child's mother and how to find her become the main questions to occupy the worried driver, and the reason to begin an unusual searching journey through an even more unusual city.

There is an interestingly obvious similarity between this film and Charlie Chaplin's film The Kid, which is not only based on the story, but on the similar way the main topic is presented and developed through numerous comic and absurd situations.