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Directed by James Longley

United States, Afghanistan 2018 117 mins. In Arabic with English subtitles

Coming a full 13 years after his Oscar-nominated Iraq in Fragments (2006), director James Longley returns with the ominously beautiful Angels are Made of Light. Set in the residential zones of Kabul, Afghanistan, the film follows a cohort of young boys and their teachers over the course of three years; it grapples not so much with their response to the US invasion and occupation, but rather with the stuff of everyday life, including classes, playtime, and some boys’ looming decisions to keep studying or go into the family business. In the shadows lies the US occupation, but this tender, gorgeous film asks us to see beyond—at the people and their lives. “It’s regrettable that we still need documentaries to argue for the humanity of people who Americans don’t tend to think about, but Angels Are Made of Light is so unusually effective because it challenges the idea that looking at a person (or a people) is enough to see them clearly.”—David Ehrlich, Indiewire.


Appears in: Essential Cinema