Fiction and documentary merge seamlessly in this mystical journey to uncover the beauty of desolate, war-torn Afghanistan. But it is the Afghani children who occupy centre stage in this film. The footage shot by director De Pue over a seven-year period provides an astonishing, fascinating glimpse of the state in which Afghanistan has been left for the next generation.
As American soldiers take their leave, we penetrate deep into this hidden country. A country where children form outlaw gangs that monitor trade routes, sell the explosives found in abandoned land mines and play with rusting tanks. They have their own rules and interpretation of how things are. Take, for example, their comical take on how to slaughter a sheep, and their view of the root of Afghanistan’s enlightenment.
The film is a persuasive tribute to the flexibility, inventiveness and resilience of Afghani children. From the first minute to the last, the photography and soundtrack are incredibly beautiful. At the Sundance Film Festival 2016, The Land of the Enlightened won the award for Best Cinematography.