Kandahar, from Iranian writer-director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, cuts right to the heart of today's war headlines. This fact-based film tells the story of Nafas (Niloufar Pazira), a journalist who fled Afghanistan for Canada as a child. Now the English-speaking Nefas must return in secret to her Taliban-controlled home in Kandahar to save her sister, who has lost both legs in a land-mine explosion and has sent a letter threatening to kill herself during the solar eclipse, just three days away. Makhmalbaf uses the odyssey of Nefas to reflect poetically and forcefully on the subjugation of women — covered head to toe in burkas — the crippling of people by mines (prosthetic limbs are dropped by parachute), and the tragic outcry of a nation in hell. You won't forget this film — it's devastating.
From The Archives Issue 335: January 22, 1981