Films

The Land of the Enlightened

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Year of participation 2016
Program Feature Competition

The Land of the Enlightened
Producer(s) Bart Van Langendonck
Director(s) Pieter-Jan De Pue
Script Pieter-Jan De Pue, David Dusa
Director of Photography Pieter-Jan De Pue
Music by Denis Clohessy
Sound Robert Flanagan
Edit David Dusa, Stijn Deconinck
Production company(-ies) Savage Film, Fastnet Films
 

Synopsis

A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir. In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over seven 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 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.

Awards
Best Cinematography, Special Jury Award, Sundance IFF, 2016

Moscow Cinema
 Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation
 
Daily
 
Festival Coverage
 
 
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